Supply chain challenges bring new opportunity to Etsy sellers

Supply Chain Concerns Offers New Opportunity for Etsy Sellers This Holiday Season

Etsy sellers could cash in on inventory shortages as large retailers continue to face supply chain challenges that will last through this holiday season and into next year.

Not a day goes by where there isn’t a news story about container ships anchored outside Long Beach and Los Angeles ports waiting to dock so they can get their containers unloaded.

According to an estimate from Goldman Sachs this week, some 77 ships are waiting to unload with an estimated $24 billion worth of goods.

Not all goods “on the water” are for the holiday season. Many carry parts and materials needed to manufacture and produce products domestically.

Have you looked at a new car dealer lot lately? There are few new cars on lots and almost all of them have markup stickers well above the MSRP because car manufacturers had to limit production due to critical parts and material shortages. It’s a seller’s market for cars and many other retail categories.

This is just one of the thousands of examples how the global shortage of parts and materials, caused by worldwide shutdowns during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has created a major inventory issue at the retail level now.

While large retailers are still waiting on popular products to show up, early shoppers are browsing through stores, often not finding the “perfect gift.” With warnings that many items may not show up, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is driving early shopping.

This puts Etsy sellers again in a unique position to take advantage of the situation as consumers become frustrated and look online for alternatives.

“Sellers on Etsy proved their resilience and agility at the peak of the Covid pandemic, pivoting their businesses overnight to meet surging demand for everyday essentials while offering the human connection that we all craved during lockdown.”

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman in his blog post

During the initial weeks of the pandemic in 2020, face masks, and other essential items were in short supply. Entrepreneurial Etsy sellers jumped on the opportunity and started producing these products, often with unique styling cues and designs.

The trend wasn’t short-lived either as Etsy sellers continued to find more opportunities to capture sales throughout 2020. It did fade out a bit earlier this year as US states reduced or eliminated Covid-19 related restrictions.

Online sellers and marketplaces saw a drop in sales growth during the summers as consumers headed back out to physical stores to do their shopping.

Still, eCommerce continued to be strong and this supply chain crunch will give it another unexpected boost this holiday season.

Inventory Shortages Are the New Opportunity for Etsy Sellers This Holiday Season

Many Etsy sellers are micro-businesses, often one or two-person operations, using materials sourced domestically.

Even if they face supply shortages, they are more nimble and able to pivot to other materials to create different products or designs if necessary.

Additionally, many consumers are willing to support small businesses when buying holiday gifts, according to a recent survey by Quickbooks. That is also positive news for Etsy sellers.

For its part, Etsy says they are ready to handle the rush and work with both buyers and sellers to improve communications and expectations.

For buyers, the platform will display significantly improved estimated delivery times during this holiday season, especially on items from US sellers shipping domestically. Buyers will also be able to filter for local Etsy sellers if they prefer to pick up orders.

Throughout the peak season, sellers will receive frequent information from Etsy about best practices on order fulfillment and offer review protections on shipping and fulfillment issues that are out of sellers’ direct control.

Etsy is a place for creative small business owners to succeed and not compete with the online marketplace itself directly or indirectly.

Silverman concluded his blog post by saying, “Our mission is to Keep Commerce Human, and when you choose to shop on Etsy you’re helping small businesses thrive, even in this turbulent time.”

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