This article, Etsy Local: New Marketing Channel for Boutique Shops, was first published on WebMarketingToday.

Etsy is an online marketplace for entrepreneurs who sell handmade or vintage items. Since its founding in 2005, the number of active Etsy sellers has increased to 1.5 million and the number of active buyers has risen to 21.7 million.

Typically, Etsy has been thought of as a direct competitor to local storefronts. However, in late 2014, the company introduced a new feature, Etsy Local, that serves as a way to connect Etsy sellers with Etsy customers offline.

In this article, I discuss what Etsy Local is, how it works, and how local boutique businesses can benefit from its use.

About Etsy Local

Users can reference Etsy Local via Etsy’s website or mobile app to find the location of local storefronts, pop-up markets, craft fairs, or flea markets where Etsy sellers or their merchandise can be found.

By tapping on the map feature inside the app, users can see the physical location of nearby stores and events that include Etsy sellers. By default, the map points to the user’s current location, but users can quickly change settings to find shops and events, no matter where they’re located.

The map features shows local stores and events that offer Etsy merchandise.

Etsy Local also shows events and stores tailored to the user’s history. For example, if a person has previously favorited an item within an Etsy shop, the application will alert her to the seller’s location.

While the new feature helps Etsy sellers, businesses such as boutiques, gift shops, or consignment stores that carry items created by Etsy sellers can now add their store or special event to Etsy Local.

Adding Your Store to Etsy Local

There are two ways to get your store listed on Etsy Local:

  • Your storefront sells items created by or purchased from Etsy sellers;
  • You are hosting an event that will have Etsy seller merchandise.

In either case, it is important that the store or event be connected with an Etsy seller in some way.

If you are a business that has Etsy sellers on consignment, or you purchase wholesale products from approved Etsy sellers, you can list your business within Etsy Local, provided you meet a few conditions. You must:

  • Be a buyer on Etsy Wholesale;
  • Have a brick and mortar store;
  • Provide the appropriate documentation as required by Etsy;
  • Have placed five purchase orders on Etsy Wholesale;
  • Have completed a purchase order within the past six months.

If your store is approved, Etsy Local will list it under the heading “Local Stores,” and will include the following information:

  • Business name;
  • Shop images;
  • Phone number;
  • Business location;
  • Categories in which you specialize;
  • About section;
  • Your store’s Facebook link and Twitter handle.

Etsy Local store listing details.

Your listing will also contain an icon on the map, to show the location of your store.

A local retail store in Des Moines, Iowa called “Raygun,” listed on Etsy Local.

If your store fails to meet the listing guidelines, it’s still possible to add an event, by relying on an Etsy seller.

If an Etsy seller will be located at a pop-up market, craft fair, or a local store, she can add this to Etsy Local as an event, so long as two guidelines are followed: Events have to be open to the public and be based at a physical location — as opposed to online.

Etsy sellers can create an event for local stores that fail to meet listing guidelines.

When a user clicks on an event within Etsy Local, she will see the details of the event, as well as a list of local Etsy sellers who will be in attendance. Etsy sellers who are confirmed to be present will have a direct link to their Etsy shop within the event description.

Locations eligible to list on Etsy Local Events are:

  • Craft fairs;
  • Markets;
  • Pop-up shops;
  • Special events in brick and mortar stores.

Details include the event location, date, time, what shoppers can expect to find there, and which Etsy sellers will be in attendance.

Etsy Local will not approve online or virtual events, nor will Etsy accept events at local brick and mortar locations unless it takes place at that exact location.

Etsy Local Listing Benefits for Local Stores

An Etsy Local listing offers the following benefits:

  • Etsy shoppers can quickly find a local store that carries items created by Etsy sellers, thereby increasing foot traffic;
  • Etsy sellers typically promote local stores that sell their items on a regular basis;
  • It helps Etsy shoppers identify local businesses who support independent artisans.