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Etsy Aims to Help Sellers Through Coronavirus with $5 Million in Ads, Plus Billing Deferments

By Rhian Hunt - Mar 24, 2020 at 6:12PM

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The arts and crafts e-commerce platform isn’t immune to the effects of COVID-19.

The artists and creators on Etsy Inc.'s (ETSY -3.41%) famous e-commerce website have suffered from drops in purchases since the coronavirus outbreak began in the U.S., and today the company announced a marketing push to help its troubled sellers. The main feature of the package is a $5 million allotment to marketing, which will be spent over the course of the coming month to drive more traffic to the site.

The ivy-festooned entrance to Etsy's Hudson offices.

Image source: Etsy Inc.

CEO Josh Silverman says that the step is intended to help small businesses on Etsy, which are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 downturn. The money is destined for the Offsite Ads program, which enables Etsy's 2 million individual sellers to advertise on multiple social media and search engine platforms without an upfront payment. Sites featured in the program include Bing, Google, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

The plan eliminates third-party ad fees for sellers through May 1. Additionally, "any seller who needs extra time paying their bills" can request a one-month grace period, starting on March 20, according to Silverman. The company is also making an online support team available to give whatever aid they can with managing shipping and delivery.

Roth Capital Partners research last week indicated that approximately 60% to 75% of sellers have recently experienced reduced sales because of the coronavirus' economic impact. Some interviewed sellers say that one to two months of lowered revenues can be expected, while others expect up to half a year of problems.

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