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.
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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.