3 Shocking Realities My Wife’s Etsy Shop Reveals About Digital Transformation

Etsy and Digital Transformation

Etsy is an online marketplace for people who make hand-made products to sell.  My wife runs a successful Etsy shop and sells baby bows.  Her logic is that people are always making babies and people are always looking to buy gifts for those babies.  Makes sense to me.

She brings her talent to the table and makes the physical product.  Etsy pretty much does the rest.

1. Platforms Are Taking Over

Etsy’s platform approach exploits the “Network Effect”. 

According to Investopedia,
The network effect is a phenomenon whereby increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a good or service. The Internet is an example of the network effect. Initially, there were few users on the Internet since it was of little value to anyone outside of the military and some research scientists.

However, as more users gained access to the Internet, they produced more content, information, and services. The development and improvement of websites attracted more users to connect and do business with each other. As the Internet experienced increases in traffic, it offered more value, leading to a network effect.
Source: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/network-effect.asp 

The easiest way to translate this to my wife’s experience, she makes a quality product and can sell them as fast as she can make them because of the exponential growth of buyers the platform supports.  The more it grows, the more competition it fosters among the sellers, and the customer experience continues to get better and better.  

And traditional business models are supposed to keep pace?…not likely.   The power and the speed of the platform to connect buyers and sellers is overwhelming. 

2. The Risk and Reward Gap is Narrower for Individual Talent 

Perhaps, Etsy is the answer to anyone who’s been the butt of a joke where the punchline is “good luck with your Degree in Fine Arts”.  This is apropos because my wife did indeed get a Fine Arts degree in college.  But, I guess she gets the last laugh because while her shop isn’t making her a millionaire…it’s a pretty sweet lifestyle business that eliminates the cost of daycare and makes her schedule open for whatever, whenever. 

Platforms like Etsy level the playing field and make it much easier for individuals to exploit their talents and strike out as a solopreneur.  The platform takes care of marketing, sales, financial transactions, statements, shipping labels, shipping fees, tax documentation, receipts, customer communications and much more. 

And my wife pays nothing out of pocket for all of this.  That’s not to say Etsy is not getting paid because believe me they are.  Etsy charges for listing fees , shipping fees, generic sales fees, and transaction fees.  All coming out of the revenue of a sale…much more warm and fuzzy feeling than straight out of pocket fees.  

They also caught the attention of Wall Street.   NASDAQ: ETSY 

Before I go astray, the point here is that platforms like Etsy now give individuals all the tools they need to succeed at prices affordable to individuals.  Just a few decades ago, only large companies could afford this kind of sophistication.       

This democratization of digital tool sets further emphasises the point that companies need to take digital transformation very seriously because the competition for talent will get more and more fierce as individuals have more options.  

3. Digital Conversations Are Not Only Accepted But Preferred

One of the most astonishing things I’ve witnessed over the years is this….She’s never actually “talked” to a single customer, ever!!!

It’s all digital interactions and communications.  

Now, I’m not saying that will become the new normal or that it’s even possible in a complex solutions selling atmosphere but I do think digital communications will take a larger role in the processes.  It will behoove organizations to explore ways to become more fluent in speaking digital. 

In conclusion, my wife’s Etsy experiences makes it clear to me that the momentum and advantages of digital transformation is favoring the individual.

Now more than ever, larger organizations need trained and skilled guides to help them to become agile, to compete and thrive in the new economy.  

Get this FREE Guide to Help Upgrade Your Digital Business Transformation Management Capabilities. 

The Technology Fallacy: 6 Key Takeaways for Digital Transformation

Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore…

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Using the analogy of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz not being in Kansas no more, The Technology Fallacy team does a masterful job navigating the Digital Transformation (DX) landscape making it clear that the new work environment is rapidly evolving and things will never be the same.

The Technology Fallacy - How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky, and Garth R. Andrus

Interesting Stat…

Tallying poll results from thousands of respondents ranging from executive level to front line workers reveals that….

87% agreed digital transformation will disrupt their industry while only 34% felt their organizations were doing enough to be prepared for the changes ahead.

speed of technology Adoption shifting…

In years past, employees were afforded the opportunity to work with technology platforms through their employers.

Nowadays, with connectivity being so ubiquitous and the cost of digital platforms being affordable to individuals, organizations are challenged to retain talent that may opt to fund their own solution sets and serve the market directly.

Young techies versus Seasoned Executives…

Younger generations naturally more akin to rapid technological advancement don’t necessarily hold any particular advantage in the overall success of a company.

Research shows it is easier to teach a seasoned executive what they need to know about digital business than it is to prepare the younger technologist with the experience needed to lead an organization’s digital business efforts effectively.

a key challenge to Digital transformation…

A key challenge that seems universal to all organizations is moving Digital Transformation initiatives forward while attending to the existing business.

Overcoming this challenge calls for an agile approach. A legacy company must have the willingness stray from successful formulas of the past designed to optimize efficiencies and minimize operational variances.

Today’s successful enterprise will adapt itself to “Test Fast, Learn Fast and Scale Fast”.

What used to constitute a failure now holds the lessons needed to open the door to greater success.

Neutron jack’s world no more…

The book offers a great anecdote to showcase how much things have changed in a few short decades by reflecting on Jack Welch’s rise with GE in the 90’s.

Jack used a Six Sigma approach focused on variance reduction and optimizing around old variances.

In contrast, running experiments is essential for today’s enterprise to know what is possible.

New challenges are becoming the norm. From the book, “In the digital age, how companies deal with setbacks may determine their ability to survive”.

Transformation is a process…

Because Digital Transformation is so iterative and constantly evolving the authors describe organizations as “digitally maturing” through this process.

The Technology Fallacy team conducts a cluster analysis of executive and employee respondents to determine 5 key cultural characteristics of a “Digitally Mature” company…

  • Less hierarchical, more distributed leadership
  • More collaborative and cross functional
  • Encouraging of experimentation and learning
  • More bold and exploratory with a higher tolerance for risk
  • More agile and quick to act

Ultimately, Digital Transformation is not about adopting new technologies, it’s about “organizing, operating and behaving effectively in the new world of work”.

wrap up…

The Technology Fallacy is a great read or listen. I’d go as far as to say, a required resource for anyone dealing with or responsible for leading digital transformation within an organization. My extraction is just a handful of points that resonated strongly with me. The book is well researched and loaded with great anecdotes and insights from the research. Each chapter culminates with strategic guidance and tips for becoming “digitally mature”.

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