Handmade goods website Etsy is a good example of how ecommerce can successfully connect sellers and buyers, no matter how far away they are or how obscure the products. Focusing on trading handmade and vintage items, it has grown into a buoyant market for small sellers who couldn’t otherwise afford to create and promote their own websites.
Handmade items are often more difficult to describe and categorise, so in addition to a thorough list of categories, Etsy provides many innovative ways to search for and discover products.
Style-conscious shoppers may want to find co-ordinated items, so Etsy provides searches by colour. Those wanting to avoid lengthy shipping times or support their local communities can easily find sellers near them, using the Shop Local tool. The Pounce page lists all recently-added unsold items, helping shoppers snap up unique items before they’re gone for good.
Product pages contain multiple high-resolution photos, which is important when shoppers need to pay attention to the details of handmade items.
Like eBay, buyers can rate sellers, but Etsy could also allow its users to rate and review individual products. Such reviews could also be accompanied by customer images, similar to those on Amazon.com, which would highlight how customers have used the handmade products they bought.
Etsy could also make improvements in the checkout process. Currently, customers buying products from more than one seller need to make a separate payment to each seller. This may confuse customers who are used to making one payment per order on other sites.
Despite this, Etsy provides a good overall shopping experience, catering very well to the requirements of selling handmade items and helping shoppers discover products in a unique way.
Alexander Baxevanis, user experience consultant at Webcredible