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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

My Reaction to Etsy's New Store Front Design

I have 2 Etsy shops, asimpleknead which is for my whimsical polymer clay creations, and artbyjocelyn, which is for my fine art photography, some artwork as well as a few select print on demand items featuring my original graphics and patterns.

I thought that the reaction to Zazzle changing our store front look, which now I realize also stretched into a redesign of their Own website "store front", was zealous enough, especially since Zrank was part of it, a ranking system which helps guide shop keepers with having browser and web friendly SEO and content in place, which in turn, helps Zazzle's SEO and web friendly site content too (yes, that is what it is for).

Well, there was such a huge reaction to Etsy's announced change, and to essentially what is the Beta version, a preview for us as shop keepers to play with and have a chance to have our shops ready for the go live on April 5th, that it made the one on Zazzle look mild (we didn't get much More warning on Zazzle). Many many are against, angry, and even saying they will choose to leave there, drop their businesses on there, but there were some who say yes to it, or looked at it long enough to realize the Why of it, and that yes I can work with this.

Recently, my husband updated his old style website (having even just updated That one 2 months before), using the Bootstrap platform, from an old fashioned multi page style site, to an all in one site, which is what a lot of the websites are moving towards visually and functionally, to be friendly with the various browsing devices used now. His detailed traffic stats showed that many visitors to his art site are using iphones and tablets. Having an up to date design for a website, keeping it all on one page, with drop down menu or drop down and open "more" prompts, helps very much with streamlining for phone browsing, tablet browsing, as well as keeping text larger. This, as opposed to a traditional web page layout, which has microscopic text and images when viewed on any other devices but a desk top computer. He also created my new art website, which I designed, with that same current model, and using Bootstrap. What happens is that on a computer screen, it fits and works, but when sized down to smaller screens of varying sizes, the banner, images, text blocks, etc. are responsive and rearrange themselves to fit nicely, text wrapping where it should, etc. This is achieved well and nicely with the behind the scenes properly done code, CSS html5 language (I'm not the expert lol!)

If one chooses to be part of the ecommerce world, one needs to accept and include All possible buyers and visitors and one's site needs to work well with as many of those devices as possible. Google and other search engines does Not want people having 2 sites, a mobile and desk top computer one, that is duplicate content on the web, something that search engines are trying to rid the web of. Google crawlers that crawl your site (something you want) can be seen in one's web host's analytics and stats, looking for folders for that very purpose.

So, my Initial reaction when I got to preview my Etsy shop in the new format, was iffy. It looked crap and no contrast or balance between small and big, especially once I re added my old existing banner. It didn't work like other sites I am on. Even my Weebly site I have it essentially recently migrated to a new more up to date mobile friendly template. However, when I had more time to sit and explore it more, create a proper sized large banner, which really pulls together your brand and shop's individuality and professional look for a viewer, and previewed it on my phone then make tweaks and changes, yes, I see Why this was done! Yes it looks cohesive and it looks professional, my brand (which I recently ordered business cards and thank you stickers with) stands out visually and my pictures look great (though I'm a good photographer, my polymer clay shop images could be better lol!)! Frankly, Etsy shops on a phone were a disaster before, they drove me nuts personally, as well as the issue of buyers missing content, not clicking on policies, descriptions, etc., meant in turn, lots of issues between buyers and sellers after items were received. The Forum is Full of them.

There is also another large freak out about the thought that Etsy will rank one's shop lower if their suggested, pre written policies are not adopted. I am leaving my policies as is and I will watch my stats.

I have been on Etsy since 2008 (with artbyjocelyn), though yes, I was not a busy shop, not then nor now, not counted as one of the highly successful or even polished, well branded shops. I listed original art pieces, small, realistic pieces, and portraits, as well as did well with my weird polymer clay jewellery, selling every piece with multiple bidders on it. I did well on eBay but (long story) eBay was changing, and not for the better, so I gave this "new to me" Etsy a try. I left as original art didn't seem to do well there, at least not for me. Maybe it was the traffic at the time, it being a newer and not so known site. How it looked, how the shops appeared, I barely recall though. However, I am no stranger to websites, having had a personal art website since about 1999 or 2000, gone through site changes on Zazzle, and a couple other print on demand sites, as well as the recent education I've been exposed to with my husband and his extensive knowledge and understanding of both the old and newer html, CSS, Bootstrap (he even helps on a professional Bootstrap forum), etc., and I am well aware of the changes and why, that have been happening on the web. Etsy had to clean up their format, they had to bring their site into being a more current, all device friendly platform. So, in turn, it will also mean we as shop keepers need to adapt to those necessary changes. Does this mean the world wide web may never change again? Certainly no, but nothing ever remains static.

Below, is a screen shot, on top of my Photoshop CS5 which I have open, of how my Etsy shop is looking on a mobile sized view. I re did my banner to fit a 1200x300 dimension and I redid a shop icon that I feel works with my branding colours. Minimizing my desk top computer screen mimics what my shop page resizes to to view on a cell phone. The banner, icon, text and images are all responsive elements. I have since changed my cover photo "banner" which is covered in my next Post).

Update: It’s not a perfect design, despite the great fact that it now includes all forms of devices used by potential buyers  browsing and buying on line on a variety of devices. There are a few issues which I feel should be corrected, with the new one page scroll design that has been adapted. One being the Shop Update images appearing, they seem too intrusive and I'm not sure they need to be forefront with the rest of the content, it seems possibly that it could be confusing to visitors, but I cannot think of a solution to this area. As well, the About could be a drop down prompt and not necessarily all there as part of the immediately viewable info. Policies, I feel, are very important and need to be there which will hopefully help them actually be Read more frequently, and not missed, by buyers. There were many issues with policies not being read, order fulfilment or shipping time lines, as well as description details. Description details still will only be there when a listing is clicked on but that is a flow that works. 

What I do love is that the banner and nested shop icon, then the 4 Featured images, act like a  real store sign and appealing display window (one can use what they feel are their best or most popular items in the Featured images) to introduce potential buyers, “bring them in your door”,  display your brand and entice them to want to browse your listings.

In reality, the cover photo should Not have any text on it. This is what they stressed on Zazzle. It should be an image only, one that reflects your shop. This way too, one would not be repeating their store name and their own name, etc., several times since it appears below it. Having a motto or what one's store offers, etc., would work though. The reason many want their shop name in their cover photo is because it has their branding in the shop name, when it was a banner, and they have already invested in business cards, etc. But, the cover photo was never designed to be a "banner" per say. It's more like wall paper, a powerful graphic, not a store sign.

working with shop icon - asimpleknead shop

working with banner - artbyjocelyn shop

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