If you are considering fighting Etsy's marketplace transaction fee increase, don't waste your time. For those who don't know, effective yesterday, Etsy has increased the fee it charges Etsy sellers to sell products on the platform from 5% to 6.5%.
The increase in this “marketplace transaction fee” has caused some Etsy sellers to put their shops on “vacation mode,” and an online petition has been launched in an effort to convince Etsy to cancel the fee increase.
Here is why fighting Etsy's transaction fee increase is a waste of precious time.
1. IT'S ETSY'S TABLE
The petition can be read to argue that Etsy owes sellers a seat at the proverbial table. I disagree.
Not surprisingly, since it's Etsy's table, Etsy's rules apply. More importantly, if you are an Etsy seller, you agreed to the rules.
In order to sell on Etsy's platform, sellers must agree to Etsy's terms. Here are two terms that are especially relevant in this situation:
When you make a sale through Etsy.com, you will be charged a transaction fee of 6.5% of the price you display for each listing plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping.
Changes to these terms
We may update these Terms from time to time. If we believe that the changes are material, we’ll definitely let you know by posting the changes through the Services and/or sending you an email or message about the changes. That way you can decide whether you want to continue using the Services. Changes will be effective upon the posting of the changes unless otherwise specified. You are responsible for reviewing and becoming familiar with any changes. Your use of the Services following the changes constitutes your acceptance of the updated Terms.
Etsy does not owe Etsy sellers advance notice or an explanation. The sellers signed a contract that said Etsy may change the terms at any time.
Since Etsy went public in 2015, it has been consistently shifting away from its original handmade, crafty, and artisan focus.
Maybe it's time for Etsy sellers to stop fighting to change Etsy's business model and instead, change their own.
2. ETSY SELLERS ARE HUMAN SCALE MACHINES
This sounds awful, doesn't it? But it's my opinion, and I think it's true.
Etsy has been publicly traded since 2015. Over the years, it has changed its mission statement many times to adjust to marketplace realities as it seems them.
Sellers exist to produce sales. The more sales Etsy sellers produce, the more money Etsy makes.
The higher Etsy's transaction fee, the more money Etsy makes.
Etsy can only make more money via its online retail sales channel if Etsy sellers sell more products and/or if Etsy increases its transaction fee.
As long as both of those things happen, Etsy makes money and continues to scale its business.
The Etsy sellers who make that happen are the machines that scale Etsy's business.
You can be a selling machine for yourself, or you can be a selling machine for Etsy and for yourself. If you choose the latter, you are also choosing to embrace Etsy as a partner with a significant amount of control over your costs of doing business.
You are not stuck though. While Etsy may have helped you get to where you are in your business today, it may not be the right partner to get you where you want to be in the future.
You can make a different choice. Perhaps this fee increase is a sign that you should.
3. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS
May I suggest that a better use of an Etsy seller's time this week is to simply raise their prices by 1.5% to cover Etsy's transaction increase and create content showing the world that it's worth it to pay 1.5% more for their products.
When you compare that use of time to fighting a publicly traded company that has no interest in making less money or asking anyone for permission to make more.
I realize this may seem harsh, but entrepreneurship is sometimes harsh — especially when you invite a controlling third party to sit down at your business table.
4. STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR POWER
Etsy does not hold all the cards in this situation.
Etsy sellers can sell their products on multiple platforms including third party social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Additionally, platforms like Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Weebly offer much more control over your costs at a reasonable price.
What do you think about Etsy's transaction fee increase? What does it make possible for Etsy sellers who may never have thought about selling outside of Etsy, or who may have given Etsy too much control over their business model in the past?