If you’ve ever tried searching for something on Etsy you already know this: filtering down the results to find what exactly you’re looking for can be somewhat of a pain. The scrolling, the infinite browsing, the endless hours lost!
In the 11 years that have passed since its launch, the Etsy has transformed into a million-strong platform, with 40 million unique item listings total spread across the marketplace.
So it only makes sense that Etsy would zoom in on state-of-the-art technological advancements to improve its sales processes and make the shopping experience as easy and seamless as possible. Yay sales!
And this is exactly what the company’s latest acquisition aims to do. On September 19, Etsy bought Blackbird Technologies, a private AI start-up, whose engine can analyze buyers’ behavior and come up with custom search results.
As TechCrunch notes, “[…] Etsy announced it has acquired a startup called Blackbird Technologies, which developed algorithms for natural language processing, image recognition and analytics — similar to those used by Amazon and Google for product and other searches — and then “democratized” them to be used by any company of any size.”
What does this mean for shoppers? Well, for one, it might mean speedier personalized results and, therefore, a VERY strong enticement to become repeat customers. Hey, if it works better than the regular search, customers will be more likely to come back again and again.
This is just what Etsy intended: “These enhancements were aimed at raising awareness of the site as a go-to destination for consumer needs, helping active buyers filter through the millions of unique listings, and encouraging the 53% of buyers who made only one purchase during 2015 to come back to the site again.” (Source)
But what about Etsy sellers? Well, an AI involvement in search may mean that, in time, a lot less effort needs to be directed towards SEO. Instead, all those energies can be redirected towards the craft itself and towards product presentation and customization. After all, that’s what everything is about. In the long run, AI will serve as a much needed bridge that connects the shopper to the artisan. Seamlessly, faster and easier than ever before! Improving the middle man by replacing the cumbersome search will lead to stronger bounds between artisans and the public. Exciting times!
As for the marketplace itself, the new AI will help it further cement its central role in helping people express their creativity and personality through handmade items. And yes: the new AI is also very likely to generate a client influx and to boost revenue and sales.
Speaking of sales, Etsy is already on track to close the year on a VERY positive note, as its revenue has increased significantly: “[…] during Q2 2016, total revenue for Etsy reached over $85 million, marking 39% year-over-year (YoY) growth.” (Source)
As futuristic slash impossible as this may sound, Etsy’s new AI addition may mean that a more personal, human and customized experience is in the books for all of us, no matter which side of the transaction you’re on. This daring step will no doubt help Etsy achieve its goal and will completely revamp global commerce as we know it. Onwards and upwards then!
Want to read more about how the latest technological advancements can open up new possibilities for the makers and their clients? Here’s how VR/AR, 3D printing and holograms can change the world by strengthening its connections.