Community: why Etsy’s on track to earn $1bn with almost no marketing [LeWeb]

Chad Dickerson

Chad Dickerson

“Community is king” is a key theme coming out from LeWeb London today — we heard it from Airbnb and it is echoed by Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson. With 60-million unique visitors to the artsy ecommerce site every month, it’s clear that the community that works together, buys together because Etsy will cross the billion dollar gross sales mark this year.

Dickerson talked openly about the site’s business model and helping sellers not only sell online but also offline (some sellers are now in Nordstrom stores in the US). The business model is simple; Etsy snags 3.5% of each sale and charges 20 cents to list an item on the site. It is a simple — and some say small vision — but Dickerson confirmed there are “no plans to raise the price any time soon” as it doesn’t want to exploit the community.

It’s a community that the company needs to protect — “people don’t just want cool things — they want to buy from good companies” [Etsy recently joined Ben and Jerry’s, and others to become a B Corporation, meaning that it attempts to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems]. It’s clear that community passion and commitment has driven Etsy over the last eight years. You don’t go from US$0.17-million in 2005 to almost a billion last year with very little marketing without a lot of passion and love.

So what does the future hold? Testing. Last year, due to community input, Etsy launched a specific community project in Rockford, Illinois and it is even not part of a curriculum programme in some schools there too. Last year Etsy also opened its first offline store and with 90% of purchases still taking place offline it’s an interesting option for Etsy in the future. A future Dickerson is bullish on: “There is fatigue with the retail environment — on Etsy, when you buy from [our suppliers] you buy stuff that other people don’t have.”

It certainly has a nice base to build on.



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