One of the challenges online marketplaces face is sellers often do their best to move their customers off the marketplace to their own ecommerce site.
They do this for two main reasons. First, they want to avoid the fees associated with selling through a 3rd party marketplace. They also want to have a direct relationship with customers.
Most marketplaces try to discourage this.
Etsy has decided to embrace it.
Etsy's new Pattern service allows Etsy sellers to quickly and easily set up their own independent ecommerce site.
What makes this really interesting is Etsy Sellers using Pattern will be able to automatically sync content, inventory and commerce from their Etsy marketplace site to their own, independent ecommerce site.
This effectively means they can run both storefronts with roughly the same effort as running one. Pattern even allows sellers to see analytics from their Etsy store and their Pattern store side-by-side on the same dashboard.
At only $15 per month (after a 30 day free trial), our guess is a lot of Etsy sellers will give the new service a try.
We also suspect Etsy sellers who already have their own ecommerce sites will find the time and cost savings associated with Pattern attractive and migrate over.
On a more strategic level, we see this move as showing Etsy is seeing themselves less as a marketplace company and more as a platform for entrepreneurs. This shift certainly entails risk. It's possible Pattern will lead to lower overall revenues for Etsy due to sellers shifting business to their own sites.
But we think the greater opportunities Etsy has by adding this service - and positioning themselves as more than just a marketplace - outweigh these risks.
And after thinking this new service through, we (disclosure) became an Etsy shareholder.