Companies may now sell their goods via digital sites due to technological advancements. The handicraft industry has steadily increased its online footprint, resulting in a variety of customer habits. In this light, the paper examines the complexities of online product market behavior. Etsy.com is used as a case study because it has a worldwide presence and offers various merchandise. The paper starts with an introduction that provides an outline of the research subject. Following that, a short history of the organization is presented, accompanied by the study's goals and justification. Further to that, in the literature review portion, the paper surveys previous studies on the research subject before detailing the methodology used to achieve the research objectives. After the methodology is presented, the outcomes or conclusions are examined, preceded by an analysis of the case study findings of previous articles on the subject. However, the paper concludes that shoppers have differing opinions about the price and quality of online shopping at Etsy.com, based on the study's findings. As a result, a consistent "checkout price" directly to shoppers with unlimited free delivery or a free shipping deal with a minimum order to the U.S. consumers is advised to articulate the affordability of products better while listening to their fair shipping conditions, ensuring that there are no inconsistencies when they pay electronically from a retailer.
Online Buying Behavior towards Handmade Products from Etsy
The advancement of technology has enabled companies to sell their products through online platforms. The handicraft industry has gained a progressive presence online, prompting the manifestation of various consumer behaviors. Online buyers do not have the opportunity to see the physical product and their purchase behavior depends on the perceived utility and the impression about its taste, visual image, and other hedonic features (Chain et al., 2021, p. 46; Preechawana, 2018, p. 29; Pani and Pradhan 2017, p. 100; Silva, Monteiro, and Duarte, 2018, p.31; Jain; & Singh, Bajpai, and Kulshreshtha, 2021, p. 13). Handicrafts generally fall in luxury goods, and thus the aesthetic feature plays a critical role in achieving customer interest. Online stores must thus strive to elevate the visual qualities of these products as a marketing strategy. In this regard, companies must ensure good quality websites and excellent customer service. Online handcraft stores must win customer confidence by demonstrating transparency and the safety of their data. Hackers and other unauthorized persons pose a risk to online trade, and firms must install secure firewalls to guard against such eventualities. However, online platforms reduce the search cost for products as customers can increase by the products from any location.
Background of the Company
Etsy is an online handicrafts enterprise that seeks to connect artisans and promote their wares. The firm was established in 2005 and currently markets its products in at least 200 countries. The company has a collection of more than 20 million products. The company leverages technology to enable producers to access a broad market (Etsy, n.d). The firm also enables its clients to use the platform to perform various based on their needs. Etsy provides an ideal case study for consumer behavior towards online purchases of handcrafts.
Etsy also defines itself as a platform where customers from all over the world meet to purchase and sell one-of-a-kind merchandise. Its goal is to reimagine trade in ways that will result in a more rewarding and long-lasting world. The company's primary goal is to foster a positive sense of unity among buyers and suppliers (Etsy, n.d). Etsy invested in building a group of consumers dedicated to being on the Etsy team since they can obtain satisfaction from it. They are happy with how Etsy is managed and love this internet forum. Etsy vigorously supports the fact that it is a registered B company. A B Corporation is an abbreviation for a Profit Business. Where a for-profit organization wants to include culture and the ecosystem in their decision-making system relate revenue. In the context of Etsy, the aim is to incorporate social progress and effects into their performance indicators. Thus, Etsy is assessed for its effects each year and publishes an official global impact survey. Etsy is given a "B score" for government, workers, culture, and the climate. Another aspect of the cultural context is how Etsy promotes its forum (Etsy, n.d). Many consumers blame Etsy for not spending enough in promoting their websites. Instead, Etsy relies on shop owners to spread information about their items, which provides Etsy with the necessary exposure. Thus, an investigation of the customers" perspectives about online shopping can inform on such marketing strategies it may be a lucrative platform for the company.
This study aims to establish the dynamics of consumer behavior for online products. The study uses Etsy as a case study as the company has a global footprint and bears a wide repertoire of products.
The online market is rapidly expanding because of the proliferation of technology. While e-commerce helps producers achieve worldwide markets, they must understand consumer attitudes towards their products regarding packaging, pricing, and other considerations. This study, therefore, seeks to establish what consumers for online products consider before making purchase decisions. Different handicraft firms have adopted online platforms to connect producers with a global clientele, and they must understand how the market perceives their products. The results of this study will help online sellers develop products based on customer taste and market them appropriately. The study builds on existing knowledge that shows an increased placement of handcrafts on online platforms. A study by Salazar-Ordóñez, Cordón-Pedregosa, and Rodríguez-Entrena, (2018, p. 24) revealed that the consumer purchasing behavior for online products derived from perceived quality and utility. Online customers do not have the opportunity to physically and thus depend on information placed on respective websites. Yadav and Mahara (2019) further opine that consumers created trust for online buying based on the website quality and service perception. This study seeks to advance the scope by examining the behavior associated with price and perception of quality for handcrafts. This study is critical because while producers have increased the adoption of online business, they must understand customer attitudes to increase sales.
Online Buying Behavior towards Handmade Products
Online shopping has gained prominence in the modern world due to the convenience it offers customers and sellers. Merchants can now exploit the possibilities offered by technology to establish their enterprises at a low cost. Proposes that emerging entrepreneurs can adopt online trading because of the little capital required to establish these stores. The brick and motor stores require multiple stores, and the increase requires heavy capital investment. Yunanto and Paizal (2019, p. 13) aver that the online business is the fastest growing form of trade and provides myriad opportunities for entrepreneurs. Ecommerce exposes business owners to limitless markets across the world and enables them to increase their profitability with minimal investment. Online trading offers various conveniences for customers because it enables the completion of transactions on internet-connected gadgets like smartphones and computers. According to (Yunanto and Paizal, 2019, p. 45), e-commerce is a safe form of business because it assures customers of the quality and safety of their transactions. Customers also enjoy the convenience of online purchases done remotely, resulting in reduced transaction cost.
The advancement of online trading is consistent with the general population culture of using the internet for everyday functions. Ingaldi and Brožova (2020, p. 12) observe that the internet is an important element of everyday life for faster communication and entertainment. Therefore, the use of the platform for business introduces the practice to a familiar platform to the consumers (Ingaldi and Brožova, 2020, p. 78). Online shoppers enjoy the privilege of shopping at any time without enduring the long queues associated with conventional stores. Online-based purchasing, however, exposes customers to certain risks and uncertainties. Observes online stores are selective about the information published on their sites and may deliver products that do not meet customer expectations. Customers thus depend on limited data to purchase the products placed on the internet (Ingaldi and Brožova 2020, p. 41). In some instances, the customer never receives the product ordered, or the product delivered fails to meet the quality expectations. Therefore, online stores must engage in more research to establish the attitudes of their customers and continuously refine their services to meet their expectations.
Trade-in online products have gained a significant presence in cyberspace in recent days due to online demand for these goods. A study by Luckman and Andrew (2018, p. 34) established that online business provided women entrepreneurs with an opportunity to network through social media and increase sales. The online trade has elevated previously underemployed individuals into income earners and challenged the negative reputation of artistic careers (Ragulina et al., 2018, p. 52; Mckinsey and Company, 2017, p. 32; Wood, Lehdonvita, and Graham, 2018, p. 71; and Mntealegre and Cascio, 2017, p. 87). Communities that viewed the arts as a low-status occupation with little financial returns. However, placement of the trade on the online platform increases the earning capacity from the business from enhanced sales (Luckman and Andrew, 2018, p. 11). The online trading of handcrafts has addressed the financial risk and created an income flow for individuals in the creative industry.
Products for Online Trading
The online platform provides an opportunity for marketing a variety of products based on customer needs. Handcrafts refer to activities the development of items using hands through skills and artistic ability. Handcrafts primarily lie in aesthetic goods, but users can obtain other utilities from these products. Although the term “handcrafts” has no universal definition, it refers to a range of creatively developed goods, including gift items, home furnishing, and household goods (Jaiswal, 2018, p. 10). The uniqueness of handcrafts derives from their cultural relevance, religious and social symbolism, and decorative qualities (Stannard, 2020, p. 20, Duarte and Silva, 2020, p. 25; Souza, 2018, p. 12; Turunen, 2018, p. 14; Turunen, 2017, p. 54; and Isal, 2018, p.30). Producers of these items must thus identify a niche market to maximize the performance of these products on the online platform. Human history comprises special attachment to handcrafts to express their values, norms, and other cultural aspects. According to Jaiswal (2018, p. 14), communities have used handcrafts to create cohesion and advance human relations. Therefore, online handcraft traders have an opportunity to increase the sales of their handcrafts by attaching them to cultural values.
Since historical times, communities have embraced the handcrafted business to create products that address the utility and aesthetic functions. Jaiswal (2018, p.12) observes that the handcraft sector thrives on using traditional capabilities to develop items in stone craft, leatherworks, jewelry, and textile, among other sectors. Artisans passed the practice through the generation, thus defining it as a family tradition. Generally, one individual or a family ran the handcrafted business attracting limited customers within the immediate geographic scope (Jaiswal, 2018, p. 20). However, the online platform enables traders to expand their trade beyond their immediate environment and reap impressive financial returns. Merchants trading through cyberspace must learn consumer behavior and attitudes to market their wares for maximum profitability effectively.
Price and Consumer Behavior
One of the benefits of online trade is the ability to offer a competitive process. Entrepreneurs operating online stores do not spend on various captain costs, including renting of premises and employment of personnel. The online stores, therefore, extend these cost advantages to the customer through fair purchase. According to Redda (2018, p.60), online consumers have the opportunity to search various stores to obtain the best price for their products. Consumers generally prefer online purchases because of the price benefits that accrue from products sold on these forums. However, a study on customer views on online shopping in Bangladesh revealed that some consumers disliked the high pricing of products on such sites (Rahman et al., 2018, p.17). The study contradicts the common view that online stores offer better prices for their products. According to Understanding commerce (2021), often seek the best prices while shopping online by searching through the various suppliers. Merchants in cyberspace must ensure they place a favorable price on their products to attract increased purchases.
Consumers develop price perceptions concerning online purchasing about brick-and-mortar stores. In this regard, clients expect online stores to offer their products at a cheaper rate because of the minimal cost incurred to deliver the product. Research done by Bucko, Kakalejčík, and Ferencová (2018, p. 20) through a randomly distributed questionnaire among 706 participants revealed that online shoppers considered the purchase price, discounts provided, and shipping cost when making their purchase decisions. Online traders must therefore consider the aggregate cost to the consumer in the total supply chain. Some e-commerce establishments offer free shipping for consumer products that meet a certain price threshold to enhance their competitiveness. (Chen and Ngwe, 2018, p. 112) established that Bloomingdale offers free shipping for customer orders exceeding $150 but charges their clients between $6 and $13 for purchases below the threshold. The company uses this marketing strategy to encourage customers to purchase in bulk. (Chen and Ngwe, 2018, p. 211) studied consumer behavior in online transactions using the simulation technique and found varied attitudes relating to the separation on the coast price and shipping costs. The study showed that consumers demonstrated more skepticism of online retailers that charged higher shipping costs regardless of the price of their products. Such customers believe that the inflated shipping costs are part of the strategy by these companies to raise their profits. Some online stores opt for the annual subscription to enable customers to enjoy free shipping for every product purchased within the specified period. Companies like Sephora and Amazon adopt this policy to encourage customer loyalty (Chen and Ngwe, 2018, p.74). However, the strategy may not attract bargain hunters who search the internet for the best offers. Online stores must establish customer perceptions about the price of their products and institute incentives that encourage patronage.
Etsy employs a shipping strategy that enables its sellers to save time and money while delivering customer orders on time. According to the company’s annual report of 2020, Etsy enables its sellers to print shipping labels on their packaging remotely to minimize the delivery time for the client (Etsy Inc. Annual Report, 2020). The arrangement ensures the economy of time and money, thus allowing merchandisers to benefit customers through competitive pricing. The service saw an increase in the number of sellers on the platform. Etsy customers, therefore, rely on the reputation of the platform to offer handcraft commodities to their clients. The International Labor Organization proposes that artisans can reduce production costs by either using freely available raw materials or purchasing them from cheaper suppliers. Other cost-reduction strategies include streamlining production by concentrating on one part of the artifact at a time (International Labor Organization (n.d.). Producers who minimize the production costs are in a good position to offer competitive prices and win customer loyalty. Etsy users can adopt the cost reduction strategies leverage the adaptable company shipping strategy to increase demand for their products online.
Online Purchase behavior and Quality of Products
The perceived quality of the product and website significantly determines the purchasing behavior of online shoppers. Etsy holds quality as one of its bargaining points in the handcrafts sector Etsy Inc. Annual Report (2020). Therefore, the Firm seeks to attract a wide spectrum of buyers by ensuring that sellers offer items meeting the highest quality expectations. The Firm, therefore, invests in product development and design to ensure excellent products. Traditionally, handmade items derived their quality from their cultural significance (Yang et al., 2018, p. 81; Wu, Chen, and Ren, 2017, p.51; Oyekunle and Sirayi, 2018, p. 60). Vggj observed that the significance of handicrafts has faded in society with the proliferation of industrial products. Besides, younger generations have adopted alternative occupations, which have dealt a blow to the production of these items. The few remaining handcraft producers suffer from diminished raw materials supply (Wang, 2019, Peng, 2018, p. 90; ALE et al., 2020, p.34; Härkönen, Huhmarniemi, and Jokela, 2018, p. 15). Most of the materials are found in cities, and poor road infrastructure, among other challenges, stands in the way of these artisans in accessing the materials (Yang, Shafi, Song and Yang, 2018, p.11). Consequently, they cannot develop high-quality products for the market. The online handmade items’ trade thrives on delivering quality products, and producers who lack access to good materials cannot compete favorably. Artisans can develop good quality products and attract customers through training opportunities.
Consumers attribute product quality in online purchase decisions to utility and aesthetics. In the purchase of handmade items, perceived usefulness derives from the customers’ view that the product will require little effort to use. Associated factors in this regard include ease of search and the convenience in buying and delivery (Yadav and Mahara, 2019, p. 9). Customers who easily find the products they need on online platforms are likely to make purchases. Customers also view product quality in their ability to satisfy their needs. For aesthetic products, customers make purchase decisions for their physical appeal.
Customers make purchases using internet-enabled gadgets and are therefore susceptible to security risks. The company must demonstrate the ability to secure customer data and assure the clients of the integrity of the transactions. According to Leskovar and Marič (2018, p.7), perceived risk is a major factor determining online purchase and a major determinant of consumer behavior. Generally, online consumers focus on risk reduction rather than enhancing the efficiency of online transactions. Online retailers must install safety mechanisms on their systems and assure the clients of their efforts to secure their data. There is an increase in fraud cases, especially regarding the use of credit cards to make payments online (Ingaldi, and Brožova, 2020, p 19; Saudi et al.; Nam, and Quan, 2019, p. 8, Paras, 2019, p. 60; Bigi, Bonera, and Corvi, 2018, p. 54; Tasin, 2017, p. 87; Tyagi et al., 2019, p. 16; Mehrotra, and Agarwal, 2020, p. 40; Hong et al., 2020, p. 44). Customers also fear cases of online theft where criminal elements access their data and use them for committing business crimes. Retailers must collaborate with customers to ensure that third parties do not access their personal information.
The leakage of personal information by criminals influences customer reputation and informs their perception about online purchases. Consequently, customers fear to engage in transactions, thus diminishing sales. According to Jordan, Leskovar and Marič (2018, p. 16), fear is among the human emotions that include sadness, acceptance, disgust, expectancy, and surprise. However, the emotions that most apply to online purchases include the fear of financial loss and the fear of a negative reputation.
Fraudsters can make illegal purchases when they access customer data. Online retailers can reduce the risk by continually educating clients about the need to secure their details. Besides, customers must use secure passwords to deny access to their data by hackers. The activity of criminals through the online space can adversely affect the reputation of the buyer and diminish his opportunities in life (Ghouri et al., 2017, p. 22; Whitler and Farris, 2017, p. 30 Huang and Chang, 2017, p. 51; McAlaney, Frumkin, and Benson, 2018, p.40; Zahra, Rasheed, and Hassan, 2018, p. 104; Osborn, and Simpson, 2018, p.52). Illegal activities arising from the client's details can lead to imprisonment and curtail career pursuits. The prevalence of cyber-crimes worldwide is a growing concern, and both retailers and customers must exercise caution.
A study by Jurgovsky et al. (2018, p.60) revealed that whereas fraud associated with cash transactions had reduced by 7.25% between 2104 and 2018, there was a phenomenal rise in crimes associated with online card transactions 1.8 times during the same time. Retailers must educate clients on the risks associated with the various online payment options to enable safe practices. Jurgovsky et al. (2018, p.70) identifies the three major forms of online crimes: internet-related crime, e-commerce fraud, and electronic payment fraud. Online customers must watch out for phishing, where unauthorized persons send out mail to obtain personal information. Generally, fraudsters pose legitimate companies and use the technique to obtain such crucial details as passwords, bank information, and bank account information.
Etsy provides a platform for handcraft merchants to sell their wares and must create awareness about the risk posed by online fraudsters. Research by Vasić, Kilibarda and Kaurin (2019, p. 90) to ascertain the online buying behavior in Serbia established that most customers preferred the cash on delivery option. Only 5% of the sampled population used PayPal and other e-banking options. The increasing risk of online transactions creates skepticism among clients and diminishes the quality of trade. The statistics contrast with the online buying behavior in the United States, where 78% of the credit cards and use PayPal as an alternative. Regardless of these statistics, statistics show increased adoption of online transactions by Serbian citizens. In 2015, for instance, Serbian citizens spent an estimated 110 million euros in payment for online transactions (Vasić, Kilibarda and Kaurin 2019, p.40). Whereas three-quarters spent money on foreign websites, just a quarter dealt with local websites. The statistics reveal an increasing adoption of online business as a shopping choice.
Stakeholders in online trade must develop more secure payment systems to raise customer confidence in these transactions. Retailers in cyberspace must guard their customers against identity theft by installing powerful security features. The challenge is even greater for illiterate customers who are ignorant of the schemes of fraudsters. Nevertheless, the increasing rate of mobile phone connection exposes buyers to malicious online activity. Jibril et al. (2020, p. 15) aver that the safety concerns for online transactions result from the requirement by these sites for personal customer information. Customers must also exercise precaution because of viruses that distort their information and impede their access to services. Nurse (2018) admonishes online users to desist from opening suspicious emails as they act as entry points for viruses. Trading online poses users to internet crime, and retailers must secure personal information from unauthorized access.
Delivery Options and Availability of Information
Customers of today's society want goods to be delivered quickly and on schedule. Since 75 percent of American citizens have made an online purchase, it is easy to see why distribution is critical (Malliouris and Simpson, 2019, p. 41; Taylor et al., 2020, p. 103; Haldorai and Ramu, 2018, p. 44). When a buyer places an order for a commodity digitally, they expect receiving it as quickly as possible. When several websites sell the same thing, the buyer is likely to select the one that promises the quickest delivery. For others, this might also include offering a premium for expedited shipping (Alshenqeeti, 2014, p. 39; Cote and Raz, 2015, p. 94). Additionally, consumers deserve to be reassured that their shipment will deliver securely and undamaged. This is particularly true when purchasing something huge or delicate.
On the other hand, it is essential for more complex goods to have critical details readily accessible. This detail will assist with explaining how the product operates and will summarize its capabilities (Aboelfotoh and Hikal, 2019, p. 41). When a customer becomes acquainted with a commodity, they are significantly more likely to finish the purchase. By having a deeper knowledge of the product, the customer may create a greater sense of confidence in both the commodity and the business.
Reviews and Testimonials
According Carley et al. (2018, p. 56), it is fair to assume that human beings live in a testimonial-driven environment. Whether a client is considering hiring a lawyer or purchasing a new television, they are inclined to follow reviews first. Indeed, one survey discovered that 84 percent of users place a higher premium on online ratings than on personal suggestions (Limba et al., 2019, p. 110; Fritz and Vandermause, 2018, p. 1643). As a result, testimonials aid in establishing an item's or service's reputation and dependability. When a customer is able to learn regarding another buyer's good experience, they are significantly more inclined to associate with that company or product. When a buyer is considering a purchase, they want to be certain that they are making an objective decision. This is particularly true in the online environment, where engagement is limited.
Place of Origin/Materials and Consciousness
As per Malterud, Siersma and Guassora (2016, p 1757), each country of origin may influence the price your customers are able to pay for your goods. Customers put a premium on roots and awareness in today's economy. Indeed, an increasing number of consumers are able to pay a premium for goods made in a responsible manner. Consumers should be confident that workers are handled more equally as a result of this. Simultaneously, these products typically do less damage to the environment.
On the other hand, consumers today are still really concerned about the components used in their goods. An increasing number of customers are involved in eco-friendly or natural materials (Gentles et al., 2015, p. 1775; Shorten and Moorley, 2015, p. 3). In this case, buyers are often able to pay a premium over conventional fabrics like polyester. This is not to say that customers are uninterested in synthetic products. Other than that, it is actually to demonstrate that buyers are able to pay a range of prices based on the material's consistency.
There are innumerable methods of payment accessible in today's world. This may be as easy as a debit or credit card transaction or as complicated as PayPal or even Cryptocurrency (Glesne, 2016, p 23; Snyder, 2019, p. 335). In this regard, the more payment choices the business have to the customers, the easier. Additionally, certain users would have to use specific payment mechanisms in order to accrue points. If the company may not embrace this method of payment but the competitors do, they are likely to lose the fight.
Taylor et al., (2020, p. 1014) portrayed a vivid image of how payments have evolved over the past three decades and contribute to customer preferences. Taylor et al., (2020, p. 1014) showed a graphic picture of how prices have evolved over the past three decades and what contributes to customer preferences whether or when not the customer is taken into account into the market equation. Taylor et al., (2020, p. 1014) detailed many payment-related events that happened in the 1970s over ten years. Each demonstrated how well-intentioned efforts by online stores to deliver new payment services and manipulate consumer buying behavior failed, either since the importance to the online stores was not a value to the consumers, or because customers had little idea how the new services could help them since no one asked what they valued in a payment system. Haldorai and Ramu (2018, p. 215) established four impediments that the handicraft industry must overcome to close the distance with customers and succeed. First, handicraft stores must consult with customers to determine whatever they want and would not want from new products and services. Second, online stores must educate customers so that they have the knowledge to make informed decisions. If banks do not fully disclose the benefits of emerging payment technologies, they cannot trust customers to make the best decisions.
Third, online stores must offer customers incentives that are consistent with each bank's strategic strategy. Pricing could be utilized to prohibit the usage of an expensive commodity or promote the use of a modern system while also maintaining profitability. For one, consumers have various payment options available at the point of sale (POS). Each approach carries a distinct expense for the seller, but customers are unaware of these distinctions. Consequently, why will a buyer prefer a payment method that is less expensive for the manufacturer and thus perhaps more socially responsible? When the Federal Reserve raised the cost of issuing paper checks, it adopted this approach. If banks learn from the past and improve their pricing and information-sharing practices, customers are more inclined to make prudent payment choices.
Finally, Aboelfotoh and Hikal, 2019, p. 654; Malliouris; and Simpson, 2019, p. 14 addressed the complexities posed by the proliferation of funds transfer alternatives. A borrower may also write the check and get it handled as an Automated Clearing House transaction in a procedure dubbed Accounts Receivable Check Conversion. Conversely, under Verification 215, the review will be translated to an electronic picture after the transaction. Additionally, the customer can order his bill digitally by credit card or ACH, directly via the biller's platform or via his online system. NACHA, the digital payment organization, is investigating additional electronic payment special offers. These solutions, each with its own set of rules and concerns about protection and identity fraud, illustrate why modern payment methods add to the client's frustration. Limba et al., (2019, p. 23) argued that to resolve customer payment dilemmas, online stores must ascertain what customers want. The stores will make investment and merchandise creation decisions based on this information. They would advise customers and give them sufficient rewards and disincentives to promote progress through this experience.
Debit cards have been the fastest-growing method of payment at the point of sale. Yet neoclassical economic models would predict that consumers would prefer to use credit cards because of the float and perks that many credit cards offer. The typical credit card user can enjoy a few weeks of free credit before he or she begins to accumulate interest charges, and many credit card issuers offer their users airline miles or points that can be applied toward future purchases. However, other factors, including self‐control and dislike of carrying a balance on a credit card, may play a role in a consumer’s decision to choose debit or credit. Almarabeh, and Sulieman, 2019, p. 6; Carley et al., (2018, p. 27) discussed the relevance of such behavioral approaches in consumer payment choice and contrasted it with the standard behavioral model. He used data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to test which model fits the data better.
The methodological framework, in particular, qualitative research design, has been used to accomplish three objectives of methodology (Flick, 2018, p. 45). To establish the variety of handicraft products available through online stores; to determine online consumer attitude based on the perceived quality of products; to establish customer behavior based on the price of the products, and investigate methods through which online stores can increase sales. The methodology addresses three significant gaps within the consumer behavior literature. These gaps are; the behavior of this community as a selling forecast consumption society, examining how Etsy as a community-based online marketplace offers different kinds of retail environments than other online retailers, and finally, how the research expands the existing knowledge base regarding consumption communities by explicitly investigating how the members of these communities can form social bonds consumption and selling experience (Hennink, Hutter and Bailey, 2020, p. 32).
At a methodological approach, interpretive inquiry allows for multiple truths or realities to explain the nature of beings, and these realities are seen as socially constructed (Hammarberg, Kirkman and de Lacey, 2016, p. 499). As a part of the interpretive approach, data analysis is inductive and emerges from the researcher's understanding of the phenomenon through the data. The end to logical and epistemological underpinnings of interactive methodology aligns with the study's aims, aiming to develop a deeper understanding of Etsy as an online marketplace. Qualitative research is considered one of the particular types of interpretive inquiries used when the researcher seeks to enter a social setting to gather information about what activities are carried out within that setting. It enables the researcher to gain a detailed and nuanced understanding of a social phenomenon and then to capture and convey its cultural qualities.
In addition, it provides a sense of their lived experience of a culture's members and the analysis of the group's structures, how they function, and their comparison to other groups (Jamshed, 2014, p. 87). Qualitative research is open-ended and flexible, and it has been used to investigate and explain a myriad of cultural perspectives on human life (Kumar, 2018, p 56). It has also been used to explore various consumption communities, such as Etsy, an online platform for buying and selling.
Several features that shape the research to be conducted characterize ethnographic study. In addition, ethnographic strategies are empirical and naturalistic in that they require the researcher's participation and observation of life within a natural setting (Melnikovas, 2018, p30). Qualitative research is also holistic as it helps in the interconnection of individual experiences and a group's life (Aspers and Corte, 2019; Korstjens and Moser, 2018; Clark and Vealé, 2018; Phillippi and Lauderdale, 2018; Galdas, 2017; Bhattacharya, 2017; Saunders et al., 2018). Finally, qualitative research produces knowledge that is dependent, comprehensive, and inclusive in all dimensions.
On the other hand, qualitative research is not complex as qualitative research because it is associated with offline activities. Qualitative research and netnography are mostly blended because they provide a complete picture of community life online and offline (Mohajan, 2018, 25). There are two types of qualitative studies: studies of Communities online and studies of online communities. The two seem to be contradicting, but they have a difference (Carminati, 2018; McGrath, Palmgren, and Liljedahl, 2019; Palaganas et al. 2017; Cypress, 2018.
For instance, in the Etsy community, online interactions are more predominant than the online community social interactions among the members. Therefore, this community is considered an online community because qualitative serves as the primary approach that guides data collection using qualitative research (Rahi, 2017, p. 53). The differences between online and offline social interactions require a distinct methodological approach towards a particular study. By combining ethnographic and netnographic studies, the researcher gained a more comprehensive data collection method during the Qualitative research design.
Following the completion of data processing, Spiggle's (1994, p. 887) instructions for data review and evaluation were used for data analysis. The method of constructing thematic interpretation is dynamic because the researcher would go back and forth within various forms of feedback to create a narratively rich interpretation. The first steps in data analysis were defining and marking trends in the data and determining conceptual similarities shared by these patterns.
The trends were then compared to one another to distinguish points of consistency and distinction. An initial collection of thematic categories evolved as a result of this process. These conceptual frameworks were expanded upon by recognizing common relationships within categories and defining the properties and parameters of each theme. Concepts were optimized further by considering the impact of environments, circumstances, and data collection techniques. The results and discussion sections include the thematic explanation, which is outlined in three sections. Finally, thematic information was linked back to the conceptual areas of research, in this case, the subject themes of society, culture, and economy, thus framing data analysis to the literature and the study's intent and objectives. As a result, the results and discussion sections contain assessments of the data's conceptual and realistic implications.
Preliminary studies showed that culture is a central principle to Etsy, as stated in the literature review. Shared principles and beliefs are the two key elements of society, as they promote social contact, collaboration among participants and create awareness of kind. Simultaneously, a community's common beliefs and ideals embody its society. Respondents from Etsy's culture exchanged tales and perspectives that showed how Etsy's cultural traditions and beliefs are directly connected with the manufacture and purchase of handmade and antique items in the interviews performed for this dissertation. The data analysis showed that respondents hold common cultural principles and values linked to the creation and purchase of products sold on Etsy, as will be explored in this segment. These principles and beliefs appear to bring Etsy participants together and promote a sense of belonging. Four thematic zones illuminate the details of these cultural traditions and principles.
Etsy is embedded in the heritage and concept of craft. However, participants had conflicting feelings on what craft entails and where it can be placed online. While this is not a point of contention among Etsy owners, it is evident that those interested in Etsy Management have a different perspective on craft than Purchasers. Several topics are discussed within this concept to grasp further these gaps, including online shoppers' views of the product or craft, cost, and overall operation.
Analysis/Evaluation of Results/Findings
Products labeled as handmade have a positive impact on consumer buying intentions, demonstrating handmade influence. Products sold as machine-made without mentioning development modes display little gap in Hotelling testing and quite comparable means suggesting equivalent consumer interest. The respondents have stated that the qualities of the goods favorably influence consumers' buying intentions of handmade products. Nevertheless, the research was unable to distinguish between high and low involvement. Consumers look for consistency, ingenuity, imbued passion, and environmental friendliness (Major, Kőszegi, and Kadena, 2020, p. 28; Krasnostavskaia, 2020, p. 54). Furthermore, when purchasing premium artisan products, consumers perceive their status mark and individuality as significant factors in demonstrating their distinctions from others and achieving higher social status. The passion suffused inside the handmade and environmental friendliness is two features of high involvement that show a beneficial impact on buying intention when consuming both small and large amounts.
When purchasing high-involvement handmade products, customization is not regarded as a significant consideration. Marketers and manufacturers already have preliminary data from high and low participation goods to concentrate on the best characteristics to render handmade more appealing and enticing to their customers. Rather than efficiency, customers who purchase traditional handicrafts rely on their ingenuity, imbued passion, personal level sales, environmental friendliness, and artisan and local community help. This outcome is critical for artisans and officials interested in fostering and maintaining culture and regional artistic traditions. Concerning the sale of crafted goods in small and large quantities, stakeholders can place traditional handicraft as a commodity created with love by skilled craftsmen who can provide exceptional individual-level service by providing a thorough understanding of the resources and processes used to manufacture these skills. Furthermore, it is recommended that governments and other related organizations target consumers through promotions or festivals.
Across the surveys, strong consumer support for the human element in the manufacturing process confirms the importance and potential of handmade in today's culture. Such optimistic handmade impact on consumer buying intentions may be clarified by the impacts of various handmade product features. The results show that marketing crafted goods have a beneficial impact on buying intention. The results go a step forward in answering why consumers purchase handmade and providing a reliable foundation for comparing two classes of high and low involvement. Marketers should be aware that four factors: love conveyance, imagination, consistency, and environmental friendliness make all low and high-involvement crafted appealing. They are the status mark, individuality, and individual level sales that distinguish high-the involvement levels. To engage consumers when selling handmade in vast quantities, love transference of low-involvement and value transference and environment pleasantness of high-involvement must be emphasized. The results also touch on conventional handicraft - a distinct component of handmade that demonstrates that love conveyance, ingenuity, environmental friendliness, personal individual level sales service, and designer and community groups help are qualities that draw customers. To achieve wider productivity for both retail and wholesale consumers, artisans and governments could concentrate on differentiating their goods as a transferable love sign from the producers to users and gift recipients, and customers will appreciate a personal basis sales service while purchasing handicraft; additionally, the transaction is symbolic of benefiting artisan and local culture.
Concerning online purchases, Etsy also defines itself as a platform where customers from all over the world link to purchase and sell. Based on a demographic overview, Etsy appeals most to the high-income female demographic. Since the goods are not inherently inexpensive, it stands to reason that the site would appeal to those with higher incomes. Since the Etsy group feels that retail manufacturing is not a good choice for their goods, they sell at higher costs than comparable brands. Higher-income people are less market conscious and thus likely to spend more. Another intriguing aspect is the shopping spot, as Etsy receives a higher-than-average number of tourists from colleges. The explanation for this is that Etsy.com is a pleasant platform to visit. People love the browsing experience on Etsy so much that they can devote their spare hours from school searching for cool items, emphasizing the argument of Etsy attempting to improve the shopping encounter.
In its platform, Etsy has made major pricing adjustments over time. As one can imagine, Holiday periods have a significantly higher rate than the majority of the year. Respondents further highlighted items they suspected of being mass-produced and relisted on Etsy. One possible reason is that the controversy reduced interest for Etsy goods, causing the price to fall. However, there was no noticeable drop in the number of products sold, page views, valuation of items for sale, or new users entering the website, according to the other figures. That suggests that what the controversy did was draw the attention of digital distributors to the opportunity to create large margins of profit on Etsy, resulting in more intense rivalry between vendors and distributors, which pushed the price down.
Customers make transactions using internet-connected devices, making them vulnerable to security threats. The corporation must show its willingness to safeguard consumer details and reassure customers of the transaction's legitimacy. Danger perception is a significant factor in assessing internet purchases and is a significant predictor of purchasing behavior. Generally, internet users are more concerned with risk mitigation than with increasing the quality of online purchases. Online merchants must implement security measures on their networks and reassure customers of their attempts to safeguard their records. There is a rise in cases of fraud, particularly as credit cards are used to make online purchases. Additionally, customers suspect instances of online piracy, in which malicious elements gain access to their data and use it to conduct business crimes. Retailers must work with clients to guarantee that their sensitive information is not accessed by third parties.
Also, consumers' online shopping intentions, consistency is one of the most important ways to differentiate and gain a comparative edge to guarantee consumer loyalty. For several consumers, handmade still means well-made, and past research has shown that the exceptional nature of handmade goods influences consumer purpose. A regularly used low-involvement commodity has a positive effect on customers' enjoyment of the nature of a given food item when it is crafted and processed in a natural model of processing, even on the field itself. Despite weak marketing, delivery, and customer relations, the high-involvement segment house-made cottage industry sector could still contend with machine-made counterparts due to high efficiency (Agrawal and Duggal, 2021). For these purposes, it is a huge error to not include handmade consistency as one of the interpretations of consumers' online buying intentions.
For millennia, people have sought not only financial advantages but also intangible qualities such as status symbols. Status is the ranking or status that others bestow on a member in a community or within a party. People search for indicators of elevated status, and they want to reach that, as demonstrated by their online shopping behavior. Different cultures and sects use different icons at all times. In ancient times, prestige marks may be possessions that reflect royalty. In modern culture, status symbols can clearly be described as any consumption of luxury goods compared to the median in the commodity classification to display luxury in public, such as carrying a handmade crocodile purse. Handmade items with a high level of participation may be identified as one aspect of expensive luxury goods that serve successfully to show the social mark to highlight the owners' ability to pay higher rates for technically similar goods. As a result, one of the possible qualities influencing buying the high-involvement crafted item online is a symbol of status.
Another recurring trend is a preference for distinction, or the ability to stand out from the crowd. People may fulfill their desire for individuality by purchasing and possessing exclusive goods to establish and reinforce personal and social identification. What could be more effective than high-involvement crafted – one special item produced by hand and representing personal worth. This desire for individuality may have a huge impact on a high-involvement crafted consumer's purchasing choice, such as paying price difference for goods that reflect such differentials.
Ensuring Quality of Products
The overall consistency of the brand and website has a huge impact on how online shoppers behave. Etsy Inc. considers consistency to be one of the negotiating chips in the handcrafts market. As a result, the Firm aims to reach a diverse range of customers by requiring retailers to deliver products that follow the highest quality standards. As a result, the Firm engages in product creation and innovation to achieve the highest quality goods. Previously, the nature of crafted products was determined by their cultural importance (Wu, Chen, and Ren, 2017, 61). It is found from the review past papers that the importance of handicrafts has dwindled in culture as consumer goods proliferate. Additionally, younger millennials have taken up new careers, putting a strain on the development of these products. The few remaining artisans face limited raw material supplies. The majority of resources are located in cities, and weak road connectivity, among other obstacles, prevents these artisans from reaching them (Yang et al., 2018, p. 11). As a result, they are unable to provide high-quality goods for the consumer. The online handmade accessories market thrives on providing high-quality goods, and producers who lack access to high-quality materials may struggle to survive. Via educational opportunities, artisans will create high-quality goods and attract buyers.
Ensuring the Customers of Goods Affordability
As per the interview, as the cost of a product rises, the amount of the item cost that consumers are able to pay for delivery drops dramatically. Demonstrating a consistent "checkout price" directly to shoppers with unrestricted free delivery or a free shipping agreement with a minimum purchase to the US customers will help express the affordability of goods when responding to their reasonable shipping requirements guaranteeing there are no discrepancies as they go to pay online from a store.
Interesting and well-written product descriptions
Pleasant and well-written product specifications can be used to improve online sales of handicraft products. Understandably, the prospect of writing causes sweaty palms as well as several hours of gazing at a computer monitor, hoping for extra motivation. Suppose online handicraft businesses can overcome their fears. In that case, they can begin writing about their products, sharing the tale behind them, describing what kind of circumstance or individual will need them, and being imaginative. In addition, provide some relevant details regarding height, color, weight, materials, and so on. This would save the company time and money by reducing the amount of electronic correspondence for new clients who want to learn more before making an order. As a result, businesses should solicit product feedback and work to strengthen the places that have been criticized.
Accurate pricing is also recommended as a great way to boost online handicraft product revenues. As a measure, businesses slip into the underpricing pit. Managers also believe that what they produce is not worthwhile. That their clients will get anything similar for less money from someone else. Unfortunately, this pattern of underpricing affects not just the company but any producer. Underpricing the commodity and other handcrafted or individually produced products devalues them. As a result, commodity price cannot be a guessing game. Companies do not sell their goods depending on what their customers may afford or what they believe they are worth. The goods should be priced based on the expense, time, and energy used to create them.
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