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Thu Oct 8 2015 10:39:27

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

By: Ina Steiner

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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."

Fees on Amazon Handmade are higher than on Etsy:

- 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 to Amazon in its terms of use, an area of critical concern to them.

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.




Comments (41) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Oct 8 13:01:55 2015

I sell on Etsy and I have no desire to sell handmade on Amazon. The fees are too high and listing from scratch on  Amazon is a laborious task.  Listing on Etsy is a breeze.

Good luck to those going down this path.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Thu Oct 8 14:51:16 2015

Accepted and set up- shop is open. :-) i found it to be simple to list. there are some tricks that work to help make listing easier.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Oct 8 16:16:21 2015

Currently it is cheaper to list on H@A because the $39.95 is waived until August 1, 2016.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Oct 8 17:35:05 2015

iheartjacksparrow...thank you for that information. That I did not know.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Oct 8 20:39:41 2015

Thanks, iheartjacksparrow - I edited to fix that oversight on my part.

It's definitely free to list for now, but sellers should not forget to factor in the higher selling fee.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Thu Oct 8 22:37:05 2015

at some point you can also factor in the average price of your merchandise. Just saying Listing one item for $1500 would be equal to listing 150 $10 items or 15 $100 items. I think the optimal price ranges would depend on what you are selling. OOAK and Handmade are a lot different than selling factory goods and I do think people expect to pay more, a lot more.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Oct 9 07:37:17 2015

whiterabbit, is it simpler to list than listing on item from scratch on amazon.com? (a non-catalog item)

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Fri Oct 9 10:55:02 2015

Sorry, Not Sure Rexford but there is ways to use your ''browser''back button so additional similar listings are quicker. (i suggest using firefox for this)

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Oct 10 19:22:17 2015

Let me just say,"What a Crock".
If you have a Very Special product, unavailable anywhere else on the planet, that sells TONS every month, and you Don't tell them how you make it, they don't want you. You tell them the production method is proprietary not to be revealed, and they disappear into the ether. So, they WILL rip off domestic producers, it's just a matter of time.
STAY WAY AWAY from Amazon hand made. It's just bait.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 00:29:49 2015

I'm on Amazon Handmade.  Made one small sale the day they launched...nothing since.  At this rate i can't see many artists paying their 39.95 a month next year when they start charging for the shop.  I spoke to a rep and told them art will sell and sell big if (and that's a big if, we can be easily found....nope, they insist on making art a sub category to ''home and kitchen''.  Unlike the hey day of ebay when they had the traffic,they were smart enough to make art a category.  Amazon, unfortunately, has not considered us to be important enough.  I think if i somehow could put a counter in my shop i'd be very disappointed to see the lack of traffic.  I'll put my shop url here so you can see there is no reason why this artwork isn't selling: www.amazon.com/handmade/patriciarizzo

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Louise This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 00:31:54 2015

My shop on Etsy has died so far this month with two small sales. Very first day on Amazon Handmade had two good orders, then later same day one order for two mirrors. Third day another order. I'm loving it.  

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Louise This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 00:35:30 2015

I agree there needs to be great improvement made in their categories and believe they will work on it as it benefits them also. Etsy didn't start out with all the goodies they have now. Believe Amazon will keep working on Handmade as they've certainly made a good start.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Oct 11 00:47:21 2015

I'm selling on H@A. I've received 2 orders thus far, both on Day #1 (10/8/15).

Listing is ok, but there are things that could be done to improve the process. SEO is anyone's guess at this point, I think. Things that are acceptable in the listing process for ''regular Amazon'' are totally off-limits for H@A; for example, we can't use HTML to make bulleted lists or even to make paragraph breaks; regardless of the number of paragraphs a seller writes, it all ends up as one paragraph. Regular Amazon apparently allows 500 characters in the title and sellers are encouraged to use all that's available to them, however on H@A, we're encouraged to keep our titles at 50 characters or less!

The 12% fee doesn't bother me too much. I've sold on consignment. I've sold wholesale. And I've sold wholesale with a rep where I had to pay the rep 15% of the wholesale price! I can certainly afford 12% commission on retail without any problem. I'll worry about the $40/month fee when it gets here. Right now, I'm thinking if I can sell $1,000/month on H@A, the $40 fee will be worth it.  

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 01:15:57 2015

You can indeed use simple HTML in the product description only.  I know because i used it.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 07:00:55 2015

Patricia, are those items still ''active''? Everyone I know who has used code on H@A has discovered those items became inactive. They have had to spend hours, in some cases, redoing their listings!

Amazon is known for running a tight ship, and I wouldn't recommend messing with them.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 08:17:12 2015

Just how long does that application process take or has my application already been thrown out? And if it is accepted I'm not even sure if I want to deal with them after seeing the 2nd application. As a victim of corporate greed with my own copyrighted designs having been stolen and copied I have to say that the questions they asked were troubling - we need a picture of your work space (that was a good one) the precise items used to make the product - the time it takes you - where you get your product (that was pretty scary) a picture of your warehouse and on and on. If your truly making a one of a kind item all they really need to do is verify that product on the internet. If it's unique then it's unique. I've never been able to get into the regular jewelry  line on Amazon even though I've generated sales in the millions. With handmade I was sure they would allow me in but I've heard nothing from them since the 2nd application. And truthfully I'm rather put off that it's the same old same old at Amazon.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 12:07:02 2015

we need a picture of your work space (that was a good one) the precise items used to make the product - the time it takes you - where you get your product (that was pretty scary) a picture of your warehouse and on and on. If your truly making a one of a kind item all they really need to do is verify that product on the internet. If it's unique then it's unique.
----------
Well I dunno about that Etsy asks for all of the same things things in order to confirm that you are not just a reseller but they don't actually check any of it as the entire site if flooded with resellers. Just search ''rabbit ring'' if you think all those questions make a difference. At least Amazon Handmade says they are committed to keeping AH HANDMADE.  IMHO it's not going to take off because Etsy already burned the hundreds of thousands of buyers that sellers spent 10 years bringing to the site by allowing mass manufactured items. Why would Amazon be any different? Etsy has lost it's core principle ''to bring together buyers and sellers looking for unique handmade goods'' and traded it for ''pile it high and sell it deep, where it comes from and how it's made is of no importance (though we'll pretend it is)''.  

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 12:58:46 2015

Sierra - they are all active and I have not used H@A.  I just put two more up yesterday and got a message from Amazon that they were active.  I just have no idea if anybody is seeing them.  If you look at their categories you will not find art since you have to click on "Home and Kitchen" to find Art.  Who would know to do that?  I tried explaining that to them but they were firm on the placement.

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 11 15:15:41 2015

I am really confused.  Regular selling has "Collectibles & Fine Art and my work would fit in there.  Yet, because my shop is Amazon Handmade, I only have these categories to chose from:  
Handmade Baby Products
Handmade Home & Kitchen
Handmade Jewelry
Handmade Lighting
Handmade Outdoor & Patio

Ina, could you look into this please?  I have over 200 friends on my FB page and the majority are artists and a lot of them have Handmade shops and are experiencing the same thing I am....no sales!

Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?   Handmade at Amazon Launches, Should Etsy Sellers Apply?

by: amshene This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 12 00:46:53 2015

I'm at H@A and have been on etsy for over 5 years. Unless Amazon makes big improvements quickly, etsy will have nothing to worry about.  I will be surprised if I stay with H@A until the end of the month unless there are some changes made. I did have a sell on the 1st day and since then I've had next to no views.  

Just a note the 12% includes the payment processing fee, which we pay etsy for direct check out or paypal, it is still a bit higher.

Also, I thought the issue about the rights to our products had been put to bed several times, amazon only wants to use our pictures for promotions, ya they should have worded that better.

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