Will Etsy fix its front page before the Holiday Selling Season?
The front page of Etsy sucks. This is a sentiment that a lot of people have expressed since the implement of the new front page feed. Change is hard, and Etsy knows there will be opposing voices no matter what changes they make. And most people trust that this on-line shopping site knows what it's doing. They wouldn't make changes that hurt its bottom line, right? Yet, there is a problem with the new front page, and it's not what shop owners and shoppers might think. It's spam.
I've already pointed out the spam problem in Etsy's search function here, but now I've seen this spam on my front page and other places within my Etsy view.
First, let me explain that Etsy switched from a magazine layout design which featured a user curated treasury to a new front page with 13 slots (shown on the left) of listings that are curated, in part, from the users favorites (via mystery algorithm)
On the surface, this new approach appears to show shoppers items tailored to the individual customer, not some one-size-fits-all treasury. Having a front landing page for customers based on past interactions sounds like a great idea. However, I see spam. Spam is sometimes a necessary evil in retail. Having the customers exposed several times to the target product makes them more familiar and more likely to purchase. However, there is a tipping point. Too much repeat exposure and the customers feel spammed. Usually, spam = desperation, and desperation doesn't build consumer confidence. As a consumer, I feel Etsy is limited. There is nothing new to see if the same products are repeated. Customers will go find something "new" and that newness may not be on Etsy. Spam can lead to the death of a business.
The Spam I see on my Front Page Feed
Clearly, I am being spammed by Etsy. Maybe scrapbooking is hot in my demographic? I have no clue. But does Etsy offer a solution? A way to fix my feed so it will reflect more of what I want?
Etsy offers a "Remove from my feed" option. But does it work? Below each recommended listing are three dots. Clicking on this option will remove the listing from the feed "Okay, we won't show you this again" but it only removes that listing, not the "type" of listing. I tried clicking away these digital listings, hoping that, over time, the algorithm would learn that I have no interest in this type of product. Yet weeks later, I still had digital downloads in my feed.
This is another page on my Etsy, not my Front Page Feed but my "favorites." On this page, Etsy has four slots to market items to me. The slots are in the red box called "Our Picks For You" and of these picks are 2 digital items. Again, I am being shown the same items here that were on my Front Page.
Look below the red box area to see the items I have added to my favorites ("Items I love") over 900 items. I enjoy a variety of items on Etsy, yet I am spammed with the same listing types. This image is from last week. Has it changed?
Here is a view from my favorites page from today. Again, more digital download products (numbered 1 and 3) as "our picks for you". And, you can see the newer items I have place in favorites "Items I love." It's like Etsy is tone-deaf to what I really like. And, every day Etsy shows me digital downloads. I'm sick of of the spam, and no disrespect to these shops--I'm just not interested in the type of product.
Some have compared the visual appearance of the new Front Page to Pintrest. On Pintrest, you follow boards and their posts end up in your feed. I love my feed and follow people who post a variety of items from home decor to vintage to yummy foods--just like I follow on Etsy. But if someone I follow on Pintrest starts pinning and repinning the same items over and over do you know what I do? I unfollow them because that's spam. Etsy, knock off the spam. You will alienate customers.
With the Holiday shopping approaching, Etsy needs to get its Front Page Feed under control. Etsy, your front page has problems. Spam. And, Spam in general, is a problem as a site-wide issue.
On-line shoppers do not want to see spam and once that tipping point has been reached, they may move on to other sites to fill their holiday shopping needs.