Customer Spotlight – Etsy

Benjamin Apel
3 min read

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Roxie Karpen is the market research manager at Etsy, the world-renowned ecommerce site for DIY’ers, and she was kind enough to take a few minutes from her very busy day of collecting and analyzing data to chat with me about some of their survey efforts.

SG: So what is Etsy? I know a lot of us at SurveyGizmo have purchased items through Etsy, but there may be some folks reading this who are unfamiliar.

RK: Etsy is a global marketplace of handmade goods, vintage goods, and craft supplies. We serve two communities, sellers who have made or curated their products, and a broad group of buyers.

SG: How do surveys fit into that? Are you surveying both buyers and sellers, or using surveys to help buyers rate the goods?

RK: We use SurveyGizmo in pretty versatile ways. We have a number of UX researchers who use it to recruit participants for their studies. We also use it to collect responses from on-site interviews to better understand sentiment when recall of a particular action is freshest.

We also conduct a number of emailed surveys to our members to gauge their experience on the site, and with particular teams.

In addition to the research team, we also have a number of other employees using SurveyGizmo for projects that we consult on.

SG: I’m thinking of the sheer number of people that use your global marketplace…how many respondents are you surveying?

RK: A lot. You probably have better records on that than we do. Thousands. Tens of thousands. We aren’t surveying a large percentage of our customer base. We have forty million buyers and over a million sellers. We try and make sure we don’t contact them too often, but want to ensure our results are representative of the population.

SG: That’s great. Avoiding survey fatigue is something we harp on a lot here. It sounds like you’re sensitive about that too.  What is your biggest challenge doing research at Etsy?

RK : The biggest challenge is that we’re global. We want to get a representative perspective of our members, so translating our surveys into our supported languages can be challenging.

SG: Have you created any best practices based on what works for you?

RK: We’ve created a number of internal documents regarding processes around translations, updating internal clients, that kind of thing. We have a tracking system in our database to ensure we don’t contact members more than once every six months.

SG: Very smart. Well I know you’re busy, so I’ll let you get back to it. Thank you so much for chatting and sharing a little bit about the research efforts over at Etsy. We’re big fans, and I’m pretty excited that you chose our tool to help connect with your community.

Not familiar with Etsy? The next time you need to stop by a big box store to pick up a new jacket, a wallet, or a lamp for the guest room, peruse out the Etsy website first. You’ll be surprised at the quality and variation of hand-made and vintage items they feature. Many times, your purchases help support artisanal makers and small-batch craftsmen at the same time. Really, everyone wins.

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