Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Etsy Tools for Sellers: Prototypes

Etsy has a lot of tools to help us as sellers succeed.  We have forums and teams, shop stats, search ads, and the super informative Etsy Seller Handbook.  All of these are great tools (especially teams like PromoFrenzy).  One of my favorite things offered by Etsy is their prototypes.  I’m a member of five out of the 15 currently available, and while some haven’t really affected me one way or another, some have proved invaluable.

What is an Etsy Prototype? Straight from the Etsy Prototype page:
 Prototypes are projects from Etsy Admin that explore different ways of using Etsy.  Each prototype is released with the goal of gathering data and observing how people use them.  Note: Given their nature, these projects may come and go at any time, and they may not always work as expected. Etsy offers limited support for prototypes.
Basically, by joining an Etsy Prototype, you’re becoming a sort of beta tester, helping Etsy experiment with potential new features that they may or may not decide to roll out to everyone.  Some are by invitation only, some you have to apply to, and others still can just be signed up for with the click of a button.

Over the holidays, I was lucky enough to be invited to join a shipping prototype that let me offer a variety of shipping speeds to my customers.  It was amazing, and once I got it set up, it was a huge time saver.  My customers could choose what speed worked for them without either of us having to jump through extra hoops, and, as a special little treat, items that would arrive on or before December 24th were surfaced to last minute shoppers.  I’m fairly certain being a member of this prototype was a huge contributor to my shops success at the end of last year. 

I was so bummed when the decided to do away with the changes rather than roll them out, but that’s the nature of prototypes.  It was still really awesome; not only was I able to experiment with the potential changes, but I was also able to provide feedback and discuss improvements with Etsy admins.  I felt like I had some say in the future of such a great site.

There are about 15 current prototypes on Etsy right now.  To learn more about each one, you can visit http://www.etsy.com/prototypes and scroll through the list.  The following are four of my favorite:
I added this prototype last year, shortly after I joined Etsy, so I’m not 100% positive what the difference between shop stats with and without this might be.  I think the biggest difference is that on your shop stats page, down below the “Listing Favorites” section, there’s a “Treasuries” section that lists all the treasuries you’ve been featured in for whatever time period you’ve selected, and what items have been featured.

This is one of my favorite prototypes, and it’s just invaluable for creating treasuries.  Once you’ve joined this prototype, you can add items to your treasury with one click, and it’s automatically saved.
When I click on that link circled in red, I’ve given the option to add it to an existing treasury, or to create a new one:
 And then, whatever option I pick, it automatically saves the item to the assigned treasury, which is a huge help, because sometimes I forget to save, and wind up losing entire treasuries.

This is another really awesome prototype.  I believe there’s currently a waiting list to join, but once you do, you can upload your digital products (up to 5 files per item, or 20MB, whichever comes first) and when a customer’s payment is processed, they get a link to download the item automatically.  It’s a huge time saver (once you’ve uploaded all your files), and while there’s still some drawbacks, it’s such a handy tool.  I can’t wait to see what else they do with it, and I’m hoping they’ll decide to roll it out to everyone.

This is one I’ve only just joined, but I’m really excited about the concept.  I accept custom orders, in fact I love custom orders, but communicating that to potential customers has been a challenge from day one.  By joining this prototype, there’s now a very prominent button on every item page that says “Request Custom Order”

that when clicked on, brings up a contact box

Pretty cool, right?

There are plenty of other great prototypes, all of which can be found at http://www.etsy.com/prototypes

They're definitely worth checking out, and who knows, you might find something that makes your life a little easier.

Happy sales to everyone!


  1. Very helpful info ... this should keep me busy for awhile!

  2. Sounds like fun to be a tester. I want the custom order button!!

  3. I just noticed the custom order button today. Thanks for the information.

  4. Thank you for the information, more to explore on Etsy. :)

  5. Thanks so much for this post. I didn't know about the custom order proto - I've just joined! Thanks again!

  6. I signed up for the custom order prototype today and I have been on a few others in the paste. Great job on the blog post!

  7. thank you for all the info it was very helpful

  8. What a great resource for those special teams! I am on a couple of these already, but will definitely try out some of the others I hadn't heard about before. Thanks for sharing! *Ü*

  9. I loved this. I am going to check them out ASAP Thanks!

  10. I saw that Custom Order button on someone's page and wondered how it got there! Might have to join that one :-) Wonder why they did away with the shipping changes? Great info... I'm going to check these all out.

  11. Good stuff if I do say so myself (wink) lol Hope everyone finds this article helpful!

  12. Unbelievably helpful! Had no idea about this, and am going to sign up NOW! thanks so much! Gracias!

  13. Wow - I didn't know about all of those prtlototypes! Great info, thanks so much for sharing.

  14. I love all the prototype teams. It gives you a chance to be a part of the process and to help make improvements and in turn you get some cool features from it too :) Great Article. Thank you.

  15. I use a number of these but there are one or two more I am going to try. Thanks for all the links.. very useful post!