Transforming Search in the Digital Marketplace
by Jason Davis on May 24, 2012
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Late last summer, Etsy made a seemingly innocuous change to its search engine that had far reaching impact. Historically, when a user came to the marketplace and issued a search, the default sort ...
Late last summer, Etsy made a seemingly innocuous change to its search engine that had far reaching impact. Historically, when a user came to the marketplace and issued a search, the default sort order ranked items by listing date with most recently listed items first. While
users could easily switch to other sort options, e.g. sorted by price or sorted by relevancy, the default behavior was one sorted by recency. On August 9 of last year, Etsy changed the default sort order of the marketplace from recency to relevancy. While at a technical level this change involved only a single line of code and a few altered pixels on the site, it introduced a fundamental shift in the dynamics of the marketplace.
This talk provides some insight into the many months of development, planning, and goals around the change, and will cover aspects from business strategy to product development to marketing and communications. Specifically, we will outline risk posed to the business and marketplace. We will discuss product issues and changes to search made before and after the switch, including the launch of a keyword based search advertising product called Search Ads. Finally, we will overview how these changes and improvements were communicated to Etsy's sellers, leading up to a big Etsy milestone: surpassing $1 billion in total marketplace sales last October.
Etsy is the world's handmade marketplace. Etsy is headquartered in Brooklyn and has over 14 million members, 800,000 active shops, over $525 million in annual sales and 1.4 billion page views per month.
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