Etsy Launches Optimize Prices Beta, Sellers Balk At Price Suggestions

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Etsy released an Ultimate Pricing Strategy guide for sellers yesterday, along with a beta test of their new Optimize Prices feature, but so far sellers are not convinced Etsy knows what is best for their businesses.

The Ultimate Guide to Pricing
Get the smartest, most up-to-date guidance on developing your pricing strategy to reach new customers, increase profits, and grow your business.

Coming Soon: Explore Optional Pricing Features on Etsy
We're currently experimenting with new, optional pricing functionality to help you optimize your prices and learn how to recover your costs, so you can attract the right buyers while protecting your bottom line.

When we're ready to fully introduce these new features, we'll give you a full walkthrough and all the tips and tricks so you can better understand how to price for profit!

Many sellers were offended at the idea that Etsy could possibly know better than them what their costs are and how to price competitively while also maintaining profitable margins.

And here it is! Etsy’s Pricing Strategy Guide!
Just as promised, here is the rollout of the new help pages to aid us in setting our prices. The Ultimate Guide to Pricing ( And, coming soon, will be the optional tools to achieve our best pricing goals. Gee, Etsy, you could just buy all my inventory, and then you can do with it as you ple…

Just as promised, here is the rollout of the new help pages to aid us in setting our prices...And, coming soon, will be the optional tools to achieve our best pricing goals.

Gee, Etsy, you could just buy all my inventory, and then you can do with it as you please. Set the prices you want, ship it the way you want, and refund any time you feel like it --- just give me the money and we can be done.

Unbelievable! Truly unbelievable!

I know what the response would be if I went shopping and said – this potato cost 10p next door but your avocadoes are £2! Or this oak wood dining table is £1000 but that plastic side table is only £15! People would think I’d lost the plot!!!

But this is what Etsy deems time worthy over fixing what is not working on the site. Lol

Etsy has absolutely no idea what my (or anyone else's) costs are. Their "pricing strategy" is implying that we're all stupid, and can't manage pricing for our own businesses - many which have been successful for years.

It's a shame they keep coming up with these useless ideas rather than fix the obvious problems. This started out as MY business and I will keep it that way forever, which means that I will decide on MY pricing, MY shipping rates, and anything else that concerns MY business. I pay the fees I have to pay. That is my only obligation to etsy.

Oh, and I forgot, I work for me, not Etsy, so why don't you, Etsy, stop telling me how to run my business, how much to price my items at, how much I can charge for postage, that I should be offering free postage, I should do this and that. You are just a selling platform/marketplace that we sellers use and pay fees to list our items, not to have you try to micro-manage our businesses.

eBay went down that route and you know what I left, keep going the way you are Etsy and you will lose sellers for the exact same reason. Etsy should spend their time fixing the glitches, not coming out with cr&p like this.

Other sellers gave examples of how Etsy's comparisons are flawed, with some items not even being remotely close to what is being compared.

It seems Etsy has a particularly tough time differentiating between things like clothing patterns vs actual clothing and physical items vs digital downloads.

My Simplicity Retro Wedding Gown pattern, priced competitively at $9.99.

Etsy says:

"Your price is below the median range of $242.89–$268.45."

Uh... a modern sewing pattern for a vintage design =/= a real vintage 1950s gown!

Oh... I just looked further. Some are resold vintage "STYLE" Aliexpress gowns.

Completely useless, just as I suspected.

Optimize Prices (Beta)
The new “Optimize Prices” section just appeared in my shop manager under listings. It’s in Beta phase. Anyone else seen it? I’m not sure entirely what it’s looking at or trying to accomplish? The suggested range for prices are all over the place, especially the ones for my patterns. Thoughts on this…

another worthless thing by etsy.

they are comparing my actual cross stitch charts that i have to send to customers to digital download cross stitch charts.

one of my one of a kind vintage pieces of jewelry to a mass produced not vintage not handmade piece of jewelry by aliexpress.

it gets worse the more i look at it. they are comparing my set of 6 vintage bottles to...1 empty not vintage small bottle.

My bundled tutorials were compared to single tutorials. Not appropriate.

I had a listing for three pieces of tooled leather supplies. It compared it to a mystery item illegal on Etsy!

A listing of dried plant stems for supplies is compared to finished and framed paintings.

Yeah, this is going to be a truly useful tool...not. Why do they waste time with such nonsense when there is so much not working on the site?

When faced with questions about how Etsy can navigate current uncertain economic times on the Q2 2023 earnings call, CEO Josh Silverman said they will be encouraging discounting and helping sellers to "price appropriately."

However, he had to acknowledge that getting price suggestions right in a world of unique and handmade merchandise with MSRPs would be difficult.

The first part is how do we help sellers get the right data so they can set the right price for their listing at the start. And so we can share with them, for example, data about items that appear to be similar to theirs and what has been the final selling price for those items.

And we showed a screenshot of an example of a test of that, that we're going to be launching. We'll see. We'll iterate and learn exactly how to do that, how to give sellers the right context.

But probably, there are some sellers that are really underpricing and some sellers that are really overpricing and some that are getting it just right. But in our market, there are no MSRPs, right? Every item is unique and made by the seller. And so it's, I think, particularly helpful to be able to give sellers context.

Sorry Josh, it looks like there is still a lot of work to do on that "context" and until that work is done, this tool is simply an embarrassing premature launch when there should be many higher priorities.

Is Etsy's Optimize Prices tool helpful for your business? Let us know what you think in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!