Friday, 10 February 2012

Folksy & Etsy Comparison Part 4: How Items Appear on the Sites

This fourth part of my series comparing Etsy and Folksy concerns how items appear on each site, and how customers might find your item; so this includes how searching and browsing works on the two sites. This is a slightly tricky area to cover as it is probably the part which is most prone to being changed, but hopefully it'll still be useful even if some minor aspects are altered in the future. 
Note I have updated this post 18th September 2012

Visibility of newly listed items 

Folksy – when browsing categories, the default is for newest items to show up first. Newly listed items appear on the bottom of the home page, but only 10 at a time.
EtsyAt the bottom of the home page, there's a scrolling list of all new items being listed on the site. Also, in your activity feed, on the right you can see new items from your favourite shops. When browsing categories, the default is for newest items to show up first.

Folksy used to have two front pages. You saw the first - a carefully curated collection of items - before you logged in to you account. Once you were logged in, you saw the most recently listed items across all categories. It was a good way to find sellers you hadn't heard of before, and I must admit to making a few impulse purchases from this page! On the other hand, the quality of photos and mix of items could be varied, and Folksy decided to ditch this "logged-in" front page when they revamped the site in November 2011.  
The consensus in the Folksy Forums was that sellers missed the opportunity to browse all newly listed items and eventually Folksy brought it back in a limited way. However as only 10 items are on the front page at any time, they don't last long on there! So still, it isn’t uncommon for a new Folksy listing in a busy category to get no views at all. You need to put some legwork in with promotion if your item is to get any views. 

Tags / Keywords 

Folksy – only material and colour are now used.
Etsy up to 13 tags of your choice; up to three more tags formed of the categories and subcategories your item is in. Other descriptors too.

Tags or keywords are specific descriptive words you associate with your item in some prescribed way. In Etsy they are key to determining your position in search results and you can enter up to 13 of them in a listing. As well as single words you can use short phrases that people might search for, like "cat collar" or "pearl necklace". There are also fields for "who's it for?" (I answer "cat"!), Occasion (eg Valentine's Day) and Style (eg modern, punk).

In Folksy, the only keywords that are used are material and colour, and they are used when browsing categories in the site. 


Folksy – not so many categories and currently there are still some categories “missing”. Folksy categories are based on who you are buying for (Women, Men…) rather than what. 
Etsyloads, and many subcategories too. Etsy categories are generally based on what you are buying (eg Toys, Candles), but there are some who / why categories too (Pets, Weddings)

In the site revamp of November 2011, Folksy's categories were given a complete overhaul. They are now based on who you are buying for, which leads to the slightly odd situation that an accessory like a Kindle case must be either in the Women or Men category… Also there are still some categories that seem to be missing, but hopefully some of these oddities will be smoothed out in time. In September 2012 Folksy announced planned changes to categories including removing "who are you buying for" as the core categorisation - it hasn't been implemented as I write this, but you can read about it here. When browsing categories in Folksy, you can select a predetermined price filter, select what material the item is made of, and the colour of the item (these last two must be input by the seller in the listing process for this to work). Categories are by default ordered by recency but you can also order by price.

In Etsy, categories and subcategories for your item are chosen in the listing process - they actually form the first few tags of your item; for example the first three tags of my listings are always Pets > Collar > Cat. You can duplicate items in more than one main category if you want (although you have to pay more than one listing fee). For example, there's a "Clothing" category with a subcategory "Children", and a "Children" category with a subcategory "Clothing". A search for "girl's dress" is going to bring up things in both categories, but if someone's browsing, they may only find one of the categories.


Folksy – honestly, it’s a bit of a mess at the moment...

Etsy has a near perfect search, I think. When you search a term you can narrow by category and subcategory (eg searching wooly hat gives me results in Crochet, Accessories, Knitting, Children, and I can select which one I want to look at). You have the option to look only at results in the UK, London, Europe, etcetera. By default, search results are presented by relevancy but you can order them instead by recency, or price (most expensive or cheapest first).  You can set a customised price filter and say you only want to see items under £15, or items between £3.54 and £17.21, if you so desired. You can exclude any items which don’t offer shipping to the UK. Due to the sheer number of products on Etsy you may sometimes have to do a bit of sifting to find what you want, and there are cheeky sellers who eg will tag a hat with "gloves"… naughty. But usually you can tweak your search terms to find a good result. Currently search results are presented in numbered pages, although I have heard that Etsy have been toying with infinite scrolling search (NOOOO!).

On Folksy, (sigh), once you search you cannot narrow your search down in any way. Just now I did a search for blue hat, and on the first page of results was a brooch in the shape of a hat. Not what I wanted but no way to tell Folksy I only want to see clothing results. A silly example, but hopefully you see what I mean. (Of course I could go into categories and browse the hat subcategory). Additionally you cannot sort your search results in any way. Search results are presented using "infinite scrolling" which means if you click to look at a product, when you click "back", you’re not in the same place in the search you were before. This can be very frustrating, and I strongly recommend right-clicking to open item pages in a new tab of your browser, so you don't lose your place. Search results are presented somewhat randomly – I assume it’s some kind of relevancy but it’s hard to tell... Definitely more work needed here, Folksy! They have promised that improvements to search are being worked on at the moment, phew.

The next post (number 5!) will be about how the two sites help (or hinder!) you when sharing and promoting your items.

All parts of this series:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Listing 

Part 3: Personalising your shop 
Part 4: How items appear on the sites
Part 5: Sharing your shop and items

Part 6: The buying experience 
Part 7: Everything else!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm planning to open Etsy and Folksy shops soon (cat-related products, but not collars - so I won't be in direct competition!), and I've found your posts really informative and helpful, as I didn't have a clue about either site from a seller's perspective.

    So I just wanted to say thanks for all your hard work, and looking forward to post no. 5!

    Kathy (coolforcatsuk)x