订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

一家小电商的逆袭秘方:搜什么就显示什么

王波非(Phil Wahba) 2019年08月11日

更加精确的搜索结果是这家电商的成功原因之一。

现在如果你在Etsy.com的搜索栏里输入“自行车运动衫”,搜到的大多数结果确实是自行车运动衫。

听起来就像“狗咬人”一样算不得新闻。但不久前,如果在出售手工品为主的Etsy.com上输入同样的词,会搜到很多不相关的结果,没准是绣着自行车的领带,可能是棒球运动衫,甚至会搜出新泽西的老式自行车牌。Etsy的技术负责人迈克·费舍尔表示,首页带动的销售比例非常高,如果出现无关结果意味着收入损失,“必须迅速缩小范围,否则就会失去用户。”

对Etsy来说,更精确的搜索结果是技术上的胜利,也逐步提振了业绩。网站在售商品达6000万件,有些很普通,如烤箱手套和杯垫,也有一些比较古怪的物品,比如宠物狗的衣服,最近,首席执行官乔希·西尔弗曼就刚在上面给狗狗买了件毛衣。公司成立于2005年,因“保持商业中的人情味”精神以及专注小商家而非大企业,获得买家和卖家的喜爱。靠着努力达成用户预期,提供大型企业才具有的持续、可靠的体验,Etsy业绩也变得相当亮眼。

When you type the term “bike jersey” into the search field at Etsy.com, most of the results you get are, in fact, bike jerseys.

That may sound like “dog bites man” news. But not long ago, running such a search at this e-commerce site for handmade and craftsy goods would have yielded a torrent of irrelevant results—a necktie covered with tiny embroidered bikes, a baseball jersey, a vintage New Jersey bicycle license plate. Given the high proportion of sales driven by first-page rankings from a desktop search, useless results mean lost revenue, says Etsy technology chief Mike Fisher: “I’ve got to be very narrow very quickly, or else I lose you.”

Better search results are a technological victory for Etsy—and increasingly a financial one too. The site has 60 million items for sale at any given time, from prosaic goods like oven mitts and coasters to oddities such as clothes for dogs¬—like the sweater CEO Josh Silverman recently bought. The company, which launched in 2005, has earned cultlike devotion from sellers and buyers alike for its “keeping commerce human” ethos and its focus on small vendors rather than big corporate conglomerates. But Etsy is enjoying a striking turnaround, thanks in part to an effort to give customers the consistent, reliable experience they’d expect from … a big corporate conglomerate.

Etsy位于布鲁克林的总部里,一位员工负责针织项目。Etsy忠实的用户群体是击败竞争对手的关键。图片来源:Photograph by David Williams for Fortune

转机主要因为西尔弗曼的领导。50岁的西尔弗曼从事科技行业多年,2017年5月执掌公司以来,已经着手改进搜索、支付结账,以及送货服务,这些都是赢得用户信任的基本要素。Etsy还成功地完成了艰难的任务,即在提高抽成的同时又留住卖家。两年内收入增长了65%,2018年达到6.04亿美元。Etsy实现盈利已经两年,西尔弗曼任职期间,股价上涨五倍,其市值超过了梅西百货或诺德斯特龙。

零售分析师认为有更多上行空间。“有不少很棒的商品具有长尾价值。”市场研究机构Forrester的首席分析师苏查理塔·考达利表示,所指是并不属于畅销商品,但能够持续销售,为Etsy贡献很大一块收入的商品。Etsy的古怪程度跟过去相比没有怎么变,仍然可以在上面买一些小众的东西,比如迷你浴缸里的老鼠标本。但正如考达利指出,网站的感觉越来越不像“跳蚤市场”了。

Much of that turnaround has happened under Silverman, a 50-year-old tech veteran. Since taking the reins in May 2017, Silverman has moved to improve search, payment and checkout, and shipping—the nuts and bolts that build customer trust. Etsy has also managed the difficult feat of increasing the share of each sale that it keeps for itself without driving sellers away. Revenue has risen 65% in two years, reaching $604 million in 2018. The company has also been profitable for two years, and the stock is up fivefold during Silverman’s tenure, giving Etsy a market cap bigger than that of Macy’s or Nordstrom.

Retail analysts see even more upside. “There’s a lot of great merchandise in the long tail,” says Forrester principal analyst Sucharita Kodali, referring to products that aren’t bestsellers but whose consistent sales contribute a big chunk of Etsy’s revenue. Etsy is no less quirky than it was—you can still buy, say, a taxidermied mouse posed in a tiny bathtub. But as Kodali notes, it’s starting to feel less and less like a “flea market.”

****

西尔弗曼是20世纪90年代互联网明星公司Evite的创始人之一,2001年他卖掉公司赚得可观的利润,后来在易趣和美国运通担任要职,也获得了扭亏为盈高手的声誉。他头顶略秃,留着胡须,说话的声音很舒缓,连心理医生都会羡慕。

在应付刚入职的混乱局面时,他的沉稳性格发挥了作用。虽然Etsy用户很热情,但一直在赔钱。商品销售总额(GMS),即产品销售总额增长大幅放缓,激进投资者Black-and-White Capital一直鼓动Etsy调整业务,要么就出售。在西尔弗曼上任的几周内,公司解雇了近四分之一员工。从高层意见和实际情况来看,西尔弗曼要么选择出售Etsy,要么就得走大企业路线。

这位新任首席执行官称自己的使命是冷酷地爱。“Etsy的核心业务很棒。”他说。“只是需要喘口气。”他发现导致公司窒息原因之一是项目过多。公司员工不足1000人,进行中的业务发展计划却多达约800项。西尔弗曼的团队迅速撤掉其中一半,包括雄心勃勃开创第二个在线市场的Etsy Studio计划。剩下的计划中启用了“救护车”制度,符合要求的想法可以获得优先权,数周内即可实施,不用等上数月或数年。

Silverman was a cofounder of 1990s Internet darling Evite, which he sold for a tidy profit in 2001. He later held top roles at eBay, where he earned a reputation as a turnaround artist, and at American Express. He’s a bald, bearded man who speaks in a soothing voice that any psychotherapist would envy.

That trait came in handy amid the tumult surrounding his arrival. Though Etsy had a passionate following, it was losing money. Growth in gross merchandise sales (GMS), the aggregate value of products sold, had slowed sharply, and an activist investor, Black-and-White Capital, was pushing Etsy to fix its business or sell itself. Within weeks of Silverman’s hiring, the company had laid off nearly a quarter of its staff. The sense in the rank and file was that Silverman would either sell off Etsy or make it go corporate.

The CEO describes his mission as doling out tough love. “The core of Etsy is amazing,” he says. “It just needs the opportunity to breathe.” One of the things suffocating it, he found, was an excess of projects—there were some 800 business development initiatives underway at a company with a staff of fewer than 1,000. Silverman’s team quickly eliminated half of them, including Etsy Studio, an ambitious plan to create a second online market¬place. Among those remaining, the team created “ambulances,” ideas whose paths could be cleared so they could be implemented in weeks rather than months or years.

首席执行官西尔弗曼大幅削减公司的业务发展计划以来,Etsy的增长速度加快。图片来源:Photograph by David Williams for Fortune

“救护车”制度中包括一些简单调整。许多购物者对在Etsy上使用信用卡心存疑虑,于是公司添加说明让用户放心:“卖家看不到您的信用卡信息。”之前网站搜索框没有自动更正功能,现在已经加上。公司还将许多技术资源转移到谷歌云,解放技术团队,专注维护Etsy.com。“我不想让数据中心的员工一直盯着服务器。”费舍尔说。“他们应该开发更多功能。”

后来出现了更引发争议的举措。西尔弗曼要求卖家使用Etsy支付平台。如此一来,Etsy可以从每笔交易中获得手续费,从其他支付提供商手里抢占收入。网站还要求公司规范结账,提高客户服务水平。2018年7月,Etsy将每笔交易佣金从3.5%提高至5%。

一些卖家非常愤怒,认为网站在抢钱。“天呐,如果有竞争对手达到Etsy的市场份额,我就跳槽过去。”去年,在Reddit留言板上的一条评论写道。但卖家的不满并没有影响Etsy增长。西尔弗曼接手以来,卖家数量从180万增加到220万。去年年度商品销售总额增长达39亿美元,回到20%的范围内,2018年Etsy的抽成收入占比为15.4%,比2017年增长了近2个百分点。

在网络零售业,Etsy培养用户忠诚度方面堪称一绝,其他网站往往只注重低价不考虑其他方面。分析人士说,Etsy格外重视小企业和手工制作的商品,感觉更像社区,即便作为企业效率提升后氛围也能够保持。很明显,Etsy已经搞定电子商务领域的重大挑战。亚马逊在2015年曾经推出手工商品频道,号称要成“Etsy杀手”,但基本吸引不到供应商或用户,产品种类仅占Etsy的一小部分。

Those ambulances included some easy fixes. Many shoppers were wary of using credit cards on Etsy, so the company added a message reassuring them: “The seller never sees your credit card information.” The website’s search box didn’t have autocorrect; now it does. The company also started moving many of its tech resources to Google Cloud, freeing up its tech team to focus on Etsy.com itself. “I don’t need people in data centers racking servers,” says Fisher. “I need them building more features.”

More controversial moves followed. Silverman required sellers to use the Etsy Payments platform. That allowed Etsy to garner processing fees from each transaction, capturing that revenue from other payment providers. It also let the company standardize checkout, improving customer service. In July 2018, Etsy increased its separate, per-transaction commission rate to 5%, from 3.5%.

Some sellers fumed, seeing the moves as cash grabs. “Jeez if another competitor ever gets the market share of Etsy, I’m jumping,” read a comment on a Reddit board last year. But that discontent didn’t dent Etsy’s growth. The ranks of sellers have risen to 2.2 million from 1.8 million since Silverman started. Growth in annual GMS, $3.9 billion last year, is back in the 20% range, and the share of sales captured by Etsy as revenue was 15.4% in 2018, up nearly two percentage points from 2017.

Etsy’s success in cultivating loyalty stands out in online retail, where low prices often trump all other concerns. Its emphasis on small businesses and handcrafted wares, analysts say, makes it feel like a community, even as it becomes more efficient as a business. It’s telling that Etsy has so far shrugged off a challenge from the 800-ton gorilla of e-commerce. Amazon Handmade, launched in 2015 and touted as the “Etsy killer,” has had little success wooing vendors or customers, and its product assortment is a small fraction of Etsy’s.

****

学会如何从社区中获利之后,Etsy下个挑战便是壮大社区。Etsy有4100万活跃买家,所谓活跃是指过去一年至少有一次购买行为的用户。然而,60%的“活跃买家”一年也只买一次,平均消费仅为100美元左右。

公司正在将部分收入投到为卖家提供更好的在线销售工具方面,例如跟踪订单和简化支付的控制面板。为了推动业务增长,“Etsy确实要向供应商提供支持。”Gartner的研究主管奥维斯·卡兹表示。Etsy一项重要的改进就包括搜索引擎优化。技术负责人费舍尔说,去年改进搜索结果之后,商品销售总额增加了数千万美元,仍然有进一步提升的空间。长期以来,Etsy的搜索算法比较倾向低价商品,因为订单成交频率更高。现在网站打算提升价格更高质量也更好的商品搜索权重,此举可提升Etsy的品牌档次,而且在发现消费者搜索台灯时也能够顺便推荐书桌。

搜索调整也可以帮助Etsy解决另一个痛点:送货。目前卖家确定运费方面比较自由,公司认为会影响买家购买。约30%的商品可以享受免费送货,即便可能惹恼卖家,西尔弗曼也希望实现100%包邮。7月,Etsy宣布推出35美元以上的订单即可免费送货。网站不会强迫卖家包邮,但Etsy的算法将提升包邮产品和卖家的排名,从而有效地推动卖家配合。

尽管西尔弗曼在Etsy大刀阔斧调整,也很注意保护公司年轻且充满理想的文化。Etsy在布鲁克林的总部有不少便利设施,例如自行车车库,自助餐厅里提供当地食品等。今年2月,公司宣布了抵消送货导致二氧化碳排放的计划。最近访问Etsy网站时,“畅销”列表中还有包括对LGBTQ人群友好的儿童木制彩虹拼图,还有为年轻情侣提供“约会之夜”创意的盒装卡片。

西尔弗曼表示,所有调整措施的目标都是方便用户找到称心的商品。网站会突出推荐“经常让顾客满意的卖家,”他说。“要想买得好,就得拼实力。”(财富中文网)

本文另一版本登载于《财富》杂志2019年8月刊,标题为《Etsy卷土重来》。

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Having learned how to profit from its community, Etsy’s next challenge is to make that community bigger. Etsy has 41 million active buyers, which it defines as people who bought something on at least one day in the past year. However, 60% of “actives” shop only once a year, and the average shopper spends a relatively modest $100 annually.

The company is plowing some of its revenue into better online tools for sellers, such as a dashboard to track orders and streamline payments. To grow, “Etsy really needs to offer vendors that support,” says Oweise Khazi, research director at Gartner. And some of Etsy’s most important plans involve its search engine. Fisher, the technology chief, says improved search results added tens of millions of dollars to GMS last year, but there’s room for improvement. Etsy’s search algorithm has long favored lower-priced items, since they tend to sell more frequently. The site now intends to give higher-priced and better-quality goods more weight in search rankings—¬making Etsy’s brand more upscale and encouraging shoppers to also consider buying a desk when they’re searching for a desk lamp.

Search tweaks will also help Etsy attack another sore point: shipping. Sellers currently have great leeway to set shipping fees, something that the company believes can turn off buyers. Some 30% of items are eligible for free shipping; Silverman wants to push that figure toward 100%, even at the risk of upsetting sellers. In July, Etsy announced a push to make free shipping standard for orders of $35 or more. Sellers won’t be required to waive shipping fees—but Etsy’s algorithms will give ranking priority to products and sellers that comply, effectively forcing their hand.

For all the rigor he has brought to Etsy, Silverman has been mindful not to mess with its youthful, idealistic culture. Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn has amenities like a bike garage and local food offerings in the cafeteria. In February the company announced a plan to offset its shipping-related carbon dioxide emissions. On a recent visit to the website, meanwhile, items on the “bestseller” list included an LGBTQ Pride–friendly wooden rainbow puzzle for kids and a box of cards featuring “date night” ideas for young couples.

The goal of all of Etsy’s improvements, Silverman says, is to make it easier to find the good stuff. The site wants to prioritize a seller “who really delights customers regularly,” he says. “You’ve got to earn your way to prominence.”

A version of this article appears in the August 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline "Crafting a Comeback at Etsy."

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏