Magazine article Marketing

Ecommerce: Etsy Plots UK Onslaught

Magazine article Marketing

Ecommerce: Etsy Plots UK Onslaught

Article excerpt

The 'boutique eBay' is ploughing cash into UK expansion, writes Ben Bold.

Etsy has come a long way since its debut in 2005 as a US-based marketplace for vintage and handmade products - a sort of boutique version of eBay. Today it serves 800,000 sellers in 150 countries.

Until now, Etsy's marketing had been built predominantly on word of mouth. However, this month the brand announced plans to double its UK turnover and is putting significant investment into a major marketing push and recruitment drive.

As part of this strategy, Etsy recently appointed former Mydeco chief executive Nicole Vanderbilt as UK country manager, and is using a dollars 40m (pounds 24.9m) investment to back its aggressive expansion plans. Vanderbilt, who has worked as a marketer for Bebo, Google and American Express, among others, says she wants to increase Etsy's 2m-strong base of unique users in the UK.

'Etsy, by its very nature, is a global marketplace, but we want to take the Etsy brand to the audience that is not aware of it yet,' she adds.

The funding will also enable Etsy to expand its UK team from its current headcount of three, as well as fund the development of website tools, including updates to its iPhone app.

Although Etsy's ambitions appear to belie a comment made by co-founder and former chief executive Rob Kalin, who said he views it more as an 'art project' than a business, Vanderbilt insists that Etsy will remain true to its artisan heritage.

For many smaller brands and designers, Etsy has proved a powerful base from which to build a following. Can its multimillion-pound investment act as an equally successful launchpad for its own aspirations? We asked Paul Evans, head of media at Xbox EMEA, and Simon Darling, former eBay marketing director and managing director of customer data agency Jack & Anna.

ETSY STATS

800,000 - The website's number of sellers, spanning 150 countries

The company is using a pounds 24.9m investment to back its expansion plans in the UK

Source: Etsy

DIAGNOSIS

- Two industry experts on how Etsy can raise its game to compete with the likes of eBay

PAUL EVANS, HEAD OF MEDIA, XBOX EMEA

Etsy is 'the world's handmade marketplace'.

This mission statement hints at what it offers: an ecommerce destination rich with authenticity, provenance, style and strong visual appeal There are three ways it can keep pace with rivals. …

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