How Etsy Shows Us That Selling Is More About Storytelling

The Internet makes it possible for anyone with a camera phone and a head full of ideas to turn into an entrepreneur. DIY is the mantra of the new generation that believes in wearing and owning things that have a unique personality.

This story has extended to all products and brands in general and it is what forms the core of Etsy.

By helping craft enthusiasts and creative fingers around the world to find a marketplace where they can be promptly discovered, it has grown to become the flea market of the modern world.

The Power of Storytelling

What differentiates Etsy and takes it beyond being ‘just another eCommerce website’ is the idea that drives the website itself- the fact that people love stories. Every outfit they wear, the jewellery they own, the furniture that fills their homes and even the cup they use to drink their coffee, should possess a personality and a story of its own. Content is everywhere and it lies at the heart of the Etsy model. With a dedicated team that churns out interesting content for their faithful followers, the one thing that runs through all of it is that it isn’t about selling. At least, not entirely.

The Etsy blog runs like a timeline of stories from across the world. The ‘Featured Shop’ section offers readers an opportunity to know more about how different sellers came to becoming the creators that they are. These in turn are products that are sold on the site. It isn’t tough to see why these stories would interest the readers. Each one of them connects back to the many products that they can find on the site and adds to the authenticity and uniqueness of the idea behind it.

The DIY section sends out some love to the many creative minds who would like to turn into creators themselves. Since Etsy is the kind of site that caters to people who appreciate and celebrate uniqueness, these posts call out to that exact audience- the one that believes in the beauty of creativity and the unique charm of self expression.

It’s easy to lose yourself on Etsy’s page. But you enjoy losing yourself because in the process you realise that there is so much more to find. You realise that the site is filled with beautifully curated ideas that are matched with unique products, all bound together by simple yet engaging stories.

Building connections through conversations

Consistency in messaging is the central feature throughout the content at Etsy. Even their social networking pages tie back to the content on the site or the blog. Their Facebook posts are largely interactive and urge their fans to engage in conversations. This extremely personal, conversational tone adds to the community feeling that the brand tries to establish among its audience. Posts are a combination of interesting quirky lines combined with aesthetically taken photographs that are simple yet easy to notice.

What makes it even more interesting is the way they combine the idea of community with the accessibility of social networking to bring people together. One such example is The Etsy craft party which was an online invitation to like minded people to get together either by finding a group in their area or creating one themselves. The theme was simple- recapture memories through old photographs. It’s something that appeals universally to almost all people and it discreetly involved the brand at every stage. People could find others like them through the page, buy supplies on the site and get together to create something that would then be put up on their Facebook page.

This idea combines the power of user generated content and social media to create something that goes beyond the digital realm- it actually gets people together. Physically!

The many pieces that Etsy strings together through their content channels- be it the website, blog or social networks, possess one thing in common. They are all consistent in what they are trying to communicate and it’s almost never directly about the brand, rather it’s what the brand represents to the people that love it. Just like the products that they sell through their site, each piece of content is a story in itself. It holds within it a distinctive identity that appeals to the millions of people who follow it- united in an idea of creativity but special and unique all the same.