As a buyer on Etsy you expect the best quality unique products, and for the money you spend to go to independent sellers from around the world. Unfortunately that is not always the case.
Over recent years wholesalers in economically developing countries has seen Etsy as an opportunity to under cut the independent sellers by selling mass produced items. This is obviously against the Etsy sellers terms, but finding and removing them from the marketplace is tricky.
The best way for them to leave the platform is if customers don’t buy the items. But how do you tell if an item is being resold from China? There are 6 “red flags” to suggest an item is being mass produced and resold from China:
- the photos on the listing are generic and can be found elsewhere online
- the “shipping from” country will be China
- The price is too good to be true
- The item will be available to dispatch immediately
- The reviews mention the item arrived from China
- You can find the exact same product on AliExpress.com
Its important to mention at this time that these are only signs, not proof that these items are resold, mass produced products. Resellers can work around this and items will be missed.
Lets have a look at these in a bit more detail.
The Photos are Generic
Resellers are often lazy. They will use the stock photography given to them by the manufacturer, so they won’t go through the hassle of creating their own photos.
The photos will look professional, but if you’ve been searching for the product online elsewhere you will probably recognize the photos.
To test this search for the item on eBay. Many resellers also sell there, and the images will be the same
The Shipping Country Will Be China (or other developing nation)
It is important to remember that Etsy is a global marketplace, and legitimate sellers will be selling from these countries, so don’t write off all items from developing countries are “resellers”.
However, many resellers will “dropship” their products directly from the manufacturing country. This means that (if they are telling the truth) the “Shipped from” on the listing will be from China (or wherever the item was made)
For those not in the know, what is drop shipping?
Dropshipping is an order fulfilment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, the store purchases the item from a third-party supplier and has it shipped to the customer. As a result, the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly.https://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/what-is-dropshipping
Use this alongside other red flags to determine if you think the item is mass-produced
The Price Is too Good To Be True
If an item is noticeably cheaper than the listings around it, it could be an indicator that the item is mass produced.
There is a reason items on Etsy are more expensive than other sites. They are handmade – often to order – which takes time and skill.
Mass produced items can only compete on Etsy if they are significantly cheaper than their competition.
The Item Will Be Available To Dispatch Immediately
Mass produced items will have short (if any) production time. Even if they are made to order, they can be effectively dispatched immediately.
Again, as with any of these red flags, there are legitimate reasons for an item to be available immediately as many sellers do keep stock ready for shipment. But this is important to keep this in mind if you are suspicious.
The Reviews Will Mention It
Always check the reviews of a product if you suspect it is a mass produced item being resold on Etsy.
Etsy buyers are keen to praise good sellers and aren’t shy at pointing out poor quality products! I have seen a few items where a buyer has photographed the packaging showing shipment stamps proving an item was shipped from a different country than the one given on the Etsy listing.
This of course applies to any product on Etsy, if the reviews don’t match what is being offered then stay well away!
You Can Find The Same Item On AliExpress.com
This is the main one. Resellers often purchase items from AliExpress (the largest reseller platform online) to resell elsewhere online.
This will confirm many of the other red flags listed. The listing on AliExpress will likely have:
- the same photography
- similar price points
- same country of origin
- and possibly the same product description
If you find the same product here you can pretty much guarantee it is being resold as a mass produced item.
Removing resellers of mass produced items is a big issue for Etsy. Whilst these rogue sellers are very much in the minority, they do affect some categories more than others. This has undermined the marketplace and many true independents are affected.
As a buyer you have the power to spot these listings and buy elsewhere.
If you suspect a listing is being resold or is mass produced always report the listing to Etsy, and help keep Etsy clear of mass produced rubbish.