Etsy Moves Further Into The Offline World With Launch Of Card Reader For In-Person Payments

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Crafts marketplace Etsy this morning announced a further expansion into the offline world with the launch of an Etsy card reader product designed for sellers who want to take credit and debit card payments in person. The move is centered around Etsy’s larger goal to become a one-stop shop for creative business owners who are often marketing their goods in the real world, at craft fairs, farmer’s markets, flea markets, and elsewhere, as well as through their own local outreach efforts.

The new product launch also follows Etsy’s recent launch of Etsy Wholesale, a service that connects sellers with Etsy sellers with retailers around the U.S. and beyond, who can help sellers who are looking to expand and scale their businesses to a larger consumer base. Etsy this morning says that the card reader is next step in its “multi-channel strategy” to power commerce both online and off.

“…90% of all retail purchases are still made offline. We know that many of our sellers sell in channels other than their online Etsy shop,” explains the company in an announcement posted to its blog this morning. “In fact, 35% of Etsy sellers sell at craft fairs.”

 

The new reader product puts the marketplace operator up against a number of rivals, including Square, PayPal and other card reader providers, as well as those companies focused on local businesses, like Groupon (which also sells a card reader product of its own.)

Etsy’s card reader, however, is designed to work in conjunction with its online marketplace, by posting funds directly into the seller’s “Shop Payment Account,” to make accounting easier. Payments for products made with the card reader will also work with the seller’s online shop to sync and manage inventory in real-time, so online buyers aren’t trying to purchase things that have already been sold locally.

In addition, Etsy’s card reader’s emailed receipts include links back to the seller’s Etsy shop, as well as images of other listings and feedback tools – effectively turning the receipt into a marketing tool which can re-engage buyers after the initial sale is complete.

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The card reader, which works with the Sell on Etsy mobile app for iOS or Android, also supports “Quick Sales,” which are on-the-spot listings for items that might not yet be in a seller’s inventory. This is also helpful for those times when sellers are making deals at local events or craft fair booths, and are modifying or customizing products to a buyer’s tastes, or have been using their downtime to work on new craft items.

The reader is shipped for free to interested sellers enrolled in Direct Checkout. It comes in “no-waste” packaging that doubles as a carrying case and a credit card sign stand, which is clever.

Payments processed through the reader are priced at 2.75% per swipe and don’t include additional transaction fees. (This is same percentage as Square charges.) The 3.5% Etsy transaction fee normally processed online does not apply for in-person sales.

Etsy stresses that the card reader and app isn’t a “commodity point-of-sale” system, but one that’s been designed with the needs of its own sellers in mind, to help them grow their businesses, increase sales, boost their reputation, and better manage their businesses as a whole.

The company, wanting to get the word out about the new product in the craft fair and flea market world, is also working in partnership with teams and fairs in Dallas, San Francisco, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles this year. Sellers can additionally list their upcoming appearances on the Etsy Local website, where buyers can find which Etsy sellers will be at local events.

Etsy says it’s now considering an expansion of its card reader product and platform to other sellers located outside the U.S.