Success is a Double-Edged Sword: Examining the Implications of Growth for Community-based Online Retailers
Consumer-to-consumer retail sites like Etsy, Artfire, and BigCartel, have combined community with consumption to foster a market driven by community, rather than one that is driven by competition. While literature exists on consumer-to-consumer electronic markets like eBay and Amazon (Adams, Hosken, & Newberry, 2011; Gregg & Walczak, 2008) very little research has specifically examined the community-based approach to consumer-to-consumer electronic markets. Moreover, to date, no research has explored the implications of growth for this relatively new online retailing format. Therefore, this study sought to fill this gap with an ethnographic and netnographic investigation of the most successful online, community-based market, Etsy (Kozinets, 2006). From this investigation three themes emerged, shedding light on the growing pains associated with large-scale market growth of Etsy. Implications and conclusions drawn from this study sheds light on the challenges specific to the community-based approach to consumer-to-consumer electronic markets.