Since we first wrote about Amazon's plans to launch a marketplace for handmade goods in May, readers have questioned whether Amazon could cater to buyers and sellers of handmade goods and whether Etsy had anything to worry about.
Sellers delved into some of the challenges Amazon would face, pointing out the marketplace was not set up to promote handmade goods. Sellers can't do much to promote themselves on Amazon, and policies such as fast handling would put a crimp on personalization - something many shoppers of handmade goods demand. But as we pointed out in our sneak peek
3 weeks ago, Amazon recognized handmade goods required a different approach.
Five months after our first look in May, Handmade at Amazon has launched. The types of items artisans can sell: Jewelry, Home products (Art, Baby Bedding, Bath, Bedding, Furniture, Home Decor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting, Patio, Lawn & Garden, Storage & Organization), Party Supplies and Stationery.
Amazon has customized the listing process so artisans can promote themselves and can showcase their work in a manner more pleasing than the commodity-drive Amazon.com marketplace. In fact, over 30% of the products on Handmade by Amazon can be personalized.
But Jason Malinak of Etsy-preneurship.com
says there is still a lot of back-end functionality that needs to be addressed by Handmade at Amazon. "The lack of the ability to copy an existing listing or clear guidance about uploading inventory in bulk via a .csv file is a huge headache and time-waster for those that are still setting up their shops."
- H@A: $39.95/month plus 12% commission;
- Etsy: 20 cents/listing plus 3.5% commission.
Doing the math, a seller would have to list 200 items on Amazon to make it comparable to Etsy listing fees (20 cents x 200 = $40) - but sellers with more than 200 items will find listing on Amazon cheaper. However, the commission fee on Amazon is much higher no matter how many items they sell. Sellers paying Etsy 88 cents for a $25 sale will pay Amazon Handmade $3.
Edited to add: Amazon's $39.99 monthly Professional selling plan subscription fee is waived through August 1, 2016 for Handmade at Amazon artisans.
Clearly Amazon is hoping it can move more product for sellers to make it worthwhile, but sellers will have to think about whether their prices are high enough to maintain a profit before considering selling on Amazon.
Another issue that has artisans concerned: what they're signing away
Amazon also faces criticism for the way it treats its warehouse workers and employees. Its reputation for having a crushing corporate culture may be off-putting to artisans and shoppers looking for a company supportive of designers and small businesses.
The timing of the launch means Amazon will be able to reach holiday shoppers, and it could become Etsy's most challenging holiday season it has ever faced. We'll have more on Handmade at Amazon in EcommerceBytes Newsflash
. In the meantime, take a look at Handmade at Amazon
and let us know if you think Etsy sellers should apply.