Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pros and Cons of Etsy Beta testing

Looking for Bead Soup? You can find it HERE !

Etsy has been doing a little Beta testing streamlining the shopping cart and cleaning up the design of our front pages. I am NOT in the test group, when I'm on Etsy everything looks like normal but I'm able to see the differences when I click on a link in my e-mail . This is how one shop looks in my browser.

Cool little thing I can do while reading my e-mail is open the links without opening my browser. Makes reading email so much faster! This is how it looks when I opened the shop in my e-mail. 

Same shop, same listings, same computer.  First thing you notice is the banner is gone. It's a much cleaner look and as a designer I like that, BUT  they just erased her branding, her personalization of her shop. Quite a few shops pay for that, and quite a few more make a living creating that for others. Ouch for both of them!! I like her banner, it has clean lines and is relevant to her shop.  I'm also a little partial to my own branding including my banner :) They've even shrunk the avatar a touch,  it's surrounded by a white frame making it appear bigger, but a side by side in full size screen shots, shows it's smaller. If they keep this streamlined look a work around for losing the banner could be to move it into your slideshow. Use it as a header or footer for your photos.

Next thing you notice is the featured items are gone. I'm actually on the fence about this, I have been using mine to showcase one item from each shop section. 1 Brass, 1 Copper, 1 Silver, 1 Gold. Lately I've been using it to point out items relevant to the month, birthstones, holidays etc. When you list things in time for early shopping, they end up buried for the last minute shoppers, featured items makes it easier to find them. I like this because it allows me to give a little extra to my customers. But as you can see in the comparison, it also drops the newest items in the shop below the fold. You have to scroll to see them. When you have seconds to convince someone to click through and browse your shop, you don't want them needing to scroll just to see what you have. IMO that's ArtFires biggest design flaw in their storefronts. So while it's nice to showcase, I suppose if something had to go that would be one I'm ok with. I do actually want you to see what I've got!

Moving on, you might notice the welcome/shop announcement is gone. So much for Hi how are ya?! In some small way I get that too. Some shops seriously abused that tiny space, Elevator pitch people. Keep it succinct! Most do just that, some don't use it at all. I really like my welcome message and would hate to see it go. I could move it to my about section if needed and will probably do a copy/paste into a text document just in case....

The side bar feels much cleaner in this new layout and the About section is up top, that's a good place for it honestly.


Pros:                                                                       Cons:
Cleaner layout                                                        Loss of Branding
Easier Navigation                                                  Smaller Avatar
Larger photos above the fold                                 No Featured Items
About Section in the Forefront                              No Welcome Message

The two things that are key here is a Con loss of branding and a Pro larger pics above the fold. 
Hopefully the two can be resolved in a positive manner. They aren't mutually exclusive and I think can be blended in a way that serves us all.

Unfortunately, I never know when clicking inside the window from my email will end up opening my browser so I didn't get a good look at her shipping profile from the beta test in order to do a comparison of that. I know they've been testing moving shipping into a single click during check out and that this has made quite a few people unhappy. There are plenty of places that don't show shipping, including Amazon until the item is in your cart. It's kind of hard to compare our tiny presences to Amazon in regards to shipping though. I have a feeling they may receive bulk shipping discounts we don't.   Not having seen the disappearing shipping costs myself I don't feel I can honestly compare anyway.

What I do know, whatever Etsy decides to do with the results of their testing, we as shop owners NEED to be able to roll with it and adapt. So find the good, find the challenge, find whatever it is that motivates you and find a way to make it work. Every change Etsy has implemented to this point has improved my ratio of views to sales and I am good with keeping that trend going.

Thanks for stoppin by!
We'll see ya next time!


Seems I get to be a part of the testing aferall. I was updating photos and my shop changed - just - like - that! This is what my shop looks like today.......

I like the aesthetics of it. Got to keep my banner! We'll see how it goes from here, but it this is nice so far :)

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