This Online Marketplace enters Physical World with Launch of a Card Reader

Etsy has launched a card reader for its sellers based in U.S. The card reader has been launched to accept credit and debit card payments in person and also help manage multi-channel sales more efficiently. The reader dubbed as Sell on Etsy Reader works in sync with the updated ‘Sell on Etsy’ app for iOS and Android. The app aides in payment processing and also records cash sales made in person.

The new reader is giving the sellers a lucrative tool to grow their business beyond the online medium. Customers can make purchases using the reader wherever they find the Etsy brand across merchants in the physical space. Etsy is leveraging the fact that 90% of all retail purchases are still made offline. Etsy is focusing on sellers who sell in channels other than their online Etsy shop. In fact, 35% of Etsy sellers sell at craft fairs.

Etsy has launched the card reader to serve merchants better who sell at craft fairs, flea markets, etc. which do not possess effective POS (point-of-sale) infrastructure. Etsy had also launched ‘Etsy Wholesale’, an offline commerce initiative. The launch of card reader would further fuel this initiative. Etsy is partnering with merchants across Dallas, San Francisco, Nashville, New York and others. The reader is currently being provided for free to sellers. Etsy charges a transaction fee of 2.75% on per swipe basis. The 3.5% transaction fee applied to online payments is not applicable to in-person payments for now.

Etsy provides seamless integration of offline sellers with their respective online Etsy Shops. With the reader and Sell on Etsy app, sales made in person are reflected in the online Etsy shop even if the payment is done via cash. The seller’s online inventory also gets adjusted accordingly. funds acquired sale from in-person payments get deposited into the seller’s account directly.

With the launch of the new reader, Etsy is competing against a number of rivals like Square, PayPal and other card reader providers. It is also competing against companies who focus on local businesses, like Groupon. But certain factors may lead to Etsy not being a strong competitor:

  • Etsy supports only magstripe based swipes while merchants are shifting to chip based cards due to EMV obligations. Square has already started selling a reader with support for chip based cards.
  • The reader doesn’t accept prominent mobile payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. These payment technologies are on top of mind for many merchants.