Shop Etsy

Better Ways to Browse: A New Look at the Marketplace

Oct 10, 2012

by Heather Burkman handmade and vintage goods

A friend asked me where she should look on Etsy for a unique jewelry gift for her mother. My first thought was, “Well the Jewelry category, of course!” Then I paused — what about the beautiful jewelry you can find in other categories, like Woodworking, Crochet, or Glass? I wasn’t sure what she’d prefer, and didn’t want her to miss out on any options. In the end, I led her to the Jewelry category, but with reservation, as I knew it wasn’t the ideal way to explore Etsy’s offerings.

When people visit Etsy for the first time or are returning just to browse, they may not always have a specific item or shop in mind. That’s okay, not everyone knows what to search for off the bat. In those cases, we ultimately want to help shoppers navigate into areas that pique their interest, so they can discover and purchase something they — or their mother — will love.

Up until now, we’ve mostly relied on categories to provide that inspiration, but overall, shoppers rarely use them, and if they do — they seldom find something to purchase. In fact, only 6% of visits that include a purchase have viewed a category. Clearly, we’re not delivering a great shopping experience through categories, which discourages buyers and lets down our sellers.

Recognizing this gap, we’ve made improving the browsing experience one of our top goals in the recent months. Which is why today we’re excited to introduce a better way to browse on Etsy, just in time for the holiday season!

Home & Living browse page

Introducing Etsy’s Browse Pages

A few months ago, we released a new way to browse items for Weddings. It’s been a success — those planning their weddings are able to find items more easily and purchases have increased, which is welcomed news for shoppers and sellers alike!

Building on the success of Weddings, we’re happy to extend this new way to browse to the rest of Etsy’s marketplace. If you look on Etsy’s homepage, we’ve moved the long list of Categories under More Ways to Shop and we’ve replaced it with new browse pages. They include the following themes:

Art, Home & Living, Jewelry, Women, Men, Kids, Weddings, Vintage and Supplies

These groupings offer a clear, at-a-glance overview of the breadth of items you can find on Etsy, providing a better introduction for new shoppers. Each browse page offers an engaging introduction to the theme, with a user-friendly navigation and a visual sampling of the browse page’s sections. Shoppers are encouraged to dive deeper, and begin exploring the thousands of items under that particular theme. And for shoppers who prefer to browse using categories, they are now linked from the homepage under More Ways to Shop.

Wall Art, under the Kids browse page

Here’s What’s New

  • Shopper-friendly organization: Items are organized by what they are, who they’re for, or what they’re used for — rather than being separated by technique or material. For example, if someone is looking for a man’s hat, they aren’t as concerned about whether it’s crochet or knit, but want to see all options that are appropriately sized and designed for men. Now that’s possible through the Men browse page.
  • Items appear where they’re relevant. This may seem like a no-brainer, but with categories, items could only be found in one location. Because browse pages are based on search results, the same diamond ring may appear in Weddings and in Jewelry — allowing the same items to be discovered through more than one entry point.
  • Handmade and vintage items combined. It turns out that shoppers like the combination of handmade and vintage items in search results. For the vintage or handmade enthusiast, they can use the filter on any browse page.
  • Current trends: Browse pages allow more freedom than ever for us to highlight of-the-moment shopping trends, holidays and seasonal themes. For example, right now Accessories for iPhone shows the one-of-a-kind items our sellers make for the recently-launched phone. By November, holidays will be in full swing with gifts, decor and more for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. These will be a great indication to visitors that they can find unique items on Etsy for any occasion.

Halloween browse page, a current trend

What’s next?

That’s the fun part. Our marketplace changes daily, and so too do shoppers’ interests. We’ve designed browse pages to be flexible, and we’re excited that we can meet expectations as shopper behavior and sellers’ inventory shifts. We’ll continue to make improvements to Browse, such as adding region-based shipping filters, and more. Our goal with these updates is to provide a better shopping experience — making it easier for folks, like my friend Julie, to explore our vibrant marketplace. We hope these changes will lead to happier buyers and more sales for all the independent, creative businesses on Etsy.

Happy browsing!

For sellers, we’ve created a helpful Seller Handbook post as well as detailed FAQs. If you have any further questions, we encourage the community to join this forum thread.