Etsy Reimagines eCommerce With Pattern: Website Builder Empowers Creative Entrepreneurs to Sell in a Personal, Standalone Online Store

Pattern: Etsy's Website Builder Gives Sellers Their Own Store

TL; DR: Known for their online marketplace of handmade, vintage, and creative wares, Etsy helps shoppers find something they love and buy it safely and securely. Following $2.4 billion in sales in 2015, Etsy launched a custom website builder in 2016. The builder, Pattern, enables Etsy’s 1.7 million active sellers to offer their roughly 40 million items on a separate website driven by Etsy’s inventory, payment, and order management tools. With the new channel for sales, store owners can take ownership of their brand, products, and online content with ease.

Working at Etsy can be difficult for your wallet. Product Operations Manager Anne Hathaway avoids taking too many breaks while on the clock — it’s too easy to get sucked into Etsy’s newsletter of fresh trends and editors’ picks.

“You land on Etsy.com, and you just start shopping,” she said.

Etsy isn’t making it easier on her, either — in 2016, the online marketplace expanded their services by launching a website builder that enables 1.7 million active sellers to take their creative products beyond Etsy and sell on personally branded and cultivated websites.

Pattern allows sellers to continue growing their business while still using the eCommerce and inventory management tools to which they’re so accustomed, meaning they can spend more time creating and less time learning the technical nuances to setting up and maintaining a website.

Pattern: Created So Sellers Can Take Ownership of Their Online Brand

Leveraging Etsy’s familiar and powerful eCommerce tools, Pattern aims to address the needs of sellers who left Etsy to continue growing with competitors such as Shopify or Squarespace.

“Etsy was finding sellers were getting to a certain point in their business where they were graduating off of the Etsy marketplace to start their own website,” she said. “Doing that and having to manage inventories and orders on different platforms is really difficult.”

The result is Pattern, a lightweight platform that eschews unnecessary tools and focuses solely on features that get sellers online quickly.

Screenshot of Pattern dashboard and sample website

A simple, streamlined site builder, Pattern helps sellers produce standalone websites without coding experience.

“Our sellers are crafters, and they want to spend their time making rather than doing administrative work and setting up a website,” Anne said. “We wanted to make it really easy to create a site and have all of it managed in the same place.”

Pattern imports listings and content from Etsy shops, syncs inventory and orders, and streamlines checkouts and shipping. Buying a domain name further increases the seller’s brand identity, as does as the ability to promote the website and drive traffic.

With Pattern, Anne said Etsy is targeting mid-range sellers — but she’s seeing advanced sellers with more functionality on their own sites coming back to Etsy for the ease of consolidating eCommerce and inventory management systems. Inexperienced sellers, however, are still learning to establish a brand and turn a profit.

“Pattern speaks to the sellers who have established their brand and business and want to take it to the next level,” Anne said. “Starting a site elsewhere is a behemoth of a project. With Pattern, you could pretty much launch a site as soon as you log in, without really doing anything else.”

Frequent Updates Add New Features and Functionality

Since Pattern’s launch in April 2016, Anne’s 20-person team has pushed out a bevy of new features and themes just about every month.

“We’re continuing to build on the functionality that Pattern offers and giving people more customizability,” she said. “We’re starting to open it up to appeal to a wider range of sellers and offering the kinds of tools more advanced users would want.”

Themes Emphasize Your Brand and Products

Pattern debuted with five mobile-optimized themes with different layouts and product display options. They’ve since added four more; the latest, Pearl, is the first to pull in an Etsy shop’s cover photo as a banner, and also includes sticky navigation and social sharing options.

Screenshots of websites built with Pattern

A sampling of sellers’ Pattern-built sites shows some of the nine available themes.

“Not having control over the layout of a website sometimes feels like you don’t quite own it, but all of our themes look very clean and professional,” Anne said. “It’s more than just a skin for your Etsy shop. I don’t think buyers land on a Pattern site and think it’s obviously supported by Etsy.”

Blogs Let You Tell Your Story and Make Announcements

Create a blog simply by toggling a switch and publishing a post. The original content, whether it’s showing works in progress or adding personal flair to your store, boosts your search rankings and brings in more shoppers.

“I think the blog feature was the most exciting update since the launch,” Anne said. “For a long time, sellers had been asking for a way to tell their stories, and we’re really excited to offer that to them.”

Custom Email Addresses and MailChimp Integration Make Communication Easier

Sellers who purchase a domain from Pattern can also now create an email address to go with it. The email address can be set to forward to any of your existing accounts, as well.

You can also connect your Pattern site to MailChimp, adding a newsletter signup field to the bottom of your site and enabling you to communicate with customers through the leading email marketing service. Use your mailing list to alert customers about new products, sales, and more.

Guest Checkout Simplifies Sales Without an Etsy Account

Unlike Etsy stores, Pattern sites allow for guests to make purchases without using an Etsy account. Non-Etsy users can buy products by providing an email address, shipping address, and payment method.

Etsy’s Team Values Promote Local Communities, Products, and Sellers

Even though Etsy employs more than 1,000 people, Anne said the company still shares the same local, independent, and entrepreneurial spirit as the sellers they work with.

Photos of interior and exterior of Etsy's headquarters

Roughly 700 people work at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn.

Each of Etsy’s nine offices is furnished with locally sourced or fabricated furniture, and the artwork on the walls comes from Etsy sellers.

“We’ve graduated from our startup days, but it still has that cultural feel to it,” Anne said. “People think of Etsy as just a popular website to buy handmade and vintage goods, but it’s really become a lot more than that.”

Laura Stamey

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  • Hi Laura! My name is Paula Bennett I am the owner and designer for Springfieldbeads and I am new to Patterns… love it! I ran across a link to Disqus and feel like it could be a great edition to my site but don’t know what platform Etsy uses for their blog. Can you help me out here?