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Wed Dec 9 2015 13:58:32

Should eBay Do More to Market Its Handmade Goods?

By: Ina Steiner

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Today we announced eBay's launch of the Artisan Collective, a curated collection to highlight crafted goods and high-quality treasures, in the words of eBay.

While eBay says it launched the Artisan Collective as "an all-new destination for unique artisanal finds," it's important to note this is not the kind of initiative Amazon undertook with its handmade store.

In fact, one seller said he learned that his items were featured there by reading it in today's EcommerceBytes newsletter. "I've been so busy with our website and other things, I should look to see if they sent me an email about this, but I didn't reply to one." 

But he said was very happy to be featured. "Wow, first I knew that I was in the eBay Artisan Collective. It's cool that eBay wrapped a handmade market around us."

Another reader wrote, "How do you join the eBay Artisan Collective? I went to your link but there's no info on how to join. I have been selling on eBay for years unique handmade items do they plan to give us the opportunity?"

That's because eBay is hand-selecting which items will appear in the new Artisan Collective. Which raises the question, should eBay do more to promote the handmade goods on its site?

I went looking to figure out how to browse the types of items you would find on Etsy and Amazon Handmade. eBay.com has a main category called Crafts, and a subcategory called Handcrafted, Artisan Jewelry under the main Jewelry & Watches category.

The main Crafts page didn't provide a great shopping experience for those looking for holiday gifts. So I entered the search term "handmade scarf" and found items listed in the Clothing Shoes & Accessories category. But that means you'd have to have an idea of what you wanted and search for it by typing in something like "handmade soap." But what if you don't know what you want?

The challenge  eBay would face in doing more to feature handmade goods is determining which items are legitimately handmade. And given the friction at Etsy about what handmade means, how would eBay define it and enforce it?

We'd love to hear from sellers of handmade goods, especially those who list on multiple marketplaces and venues.

How do shoppers find you on various channels?



Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Dec 9 14:51:26 2015

Monkey see, monkey do. Amazon did it, therefore eBay has to do it.

Has eBay ever had an original idea?

How much of eBay handmade will be from China?  Curated in China!

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Dec 9 16:16:28 2015

I'd be very suspicious of any venture that included Three Bird Nest since they only embellish already finish items they buy from outside of the U.S. I don't consider adding a bow or a bead equaling handcrafted or high-quality.

And I don't know how a person finds the Artisan Collective. I tried various ways to locate where the section is, and couldn't find it. If they are going to announce something like this, why not have a direct link on the home page?  

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by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 9 16:51:49 2015

Why would eBay do marketing of Handmade items.
THEY CAN'T HANDLE WHAT THEY HAVE NOW.

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by: LeeLoo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 10 02:49:19 2015

Yes, agree with JackSparrow. Three Birds Nest is a big Red flag for anyone.
Perhaps Ebay are testing the waters, but it is a bit of a joke all the same.

I have heard through rumours that it is invite only, but hey, if TBN is there, then it's a farce. Ebay obviously don't know handmade or Artisan if it bit them you know where.

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 10 03:04:55 2015

Somehow I don't think Etsy or Artfire need worry - people aren't going to come flooding back to ebay to have a handmade market 'wrapped around them' :-p. There's such a sad lack of innovation in all of this that it makes me sad.  

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

Thu Dec 10 04:59:11 2015

Ebay has no business "Urging, Spurring, and Incentivizing" it's weary customers.
WENIG : You can not effectively run Ebay. Step Down.

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 10 11:08:03 2015

Late to the game as usual! Can't eBay come up with their own ideas? I have a good one...auctions!! And show the default search results as "ending soonest"! Bet they never thought of that! lmfao

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

Thu Dec 10 11:15:19 2015

you could not pay me enough to sell in a handmade area that 3 bird's nest is allowed and featured in.

just put a sign up..FAKE Chinese Imported Junk" passed off as real Handmade.  oh by the way isn't she on Amazon Handmade also?

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by: LinZbee This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 10 12:59:38 2015

FYI, I just punched in 'handmade' in the general eBay search and up popped a window that  said, ''Featured, Introducing Artisan Collective'' with a ''Shop Now'' button which linked to the Handmade Artisan Collective.  

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by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 10 19:11:13 2015

3BN? Really?
If Ebay can't figure out that the EXACT SAME items are also available from Chinese sellers on Ebay for 2.00 each, there is ZERO hope for Ebay getting an artisan marketplace right. Thanks for the laughs.  

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by: MysticKnotwork This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 00:37:37 2015

Gang,
I was the one quoted as being surprised.  I was a little perplexed seeing my name put 'up in lights' in the article.  We are heritage honorees from 2014 at Martha Stewart's American Made where we showcase our HANDMADE artisan works.  We also won SCORE's Small Business Champion for Connecticut this year.  Those were mentions that we worked really hard for.  The Ebay opportunity is still amazing and confusing at the same time, we didn't seek it, see it coming, but are thankful.


I am grateful that we are being blessed with abundant work, but it is all our work.  Please don't put us in parallel with 3Birds and similar hand embellishing artists.  

We have a growing business, but the raw materials that come into my workshop are entirely spools of string and coils of rope.  The end product are nautical knots and weaves. I wish I did, but we have no machines.  The most high tech tool in the shop is a pair of ratchet scissors (think vicegrips with blades).

If Ebay chooses to market this, it could make some artisans really happy, they have a serious mailing list. I'm hoping to learn more as I look into this.  

I'm glad that we have the chance to work with Martha Stewart in her American Made project, Etsy, ebay, and with our local artisan team 'The Nutmeg Collective.'  It's my opinion that the biggest challenge in getting the handmade ball rolling is just 'being there.'

Matt Beaudoin

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 01:54:44 2015

Ebay would undoubtedly just say china crap is handmade, thats all.they care about anyways is china, why waste time with.fluff

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 02:08:52 2015

I tent there to have a look after the announcement. Huge disappointment just like Amazon's. I don't understand why ebay would go in this direction since Amazon's is such a disappointment. It looks like a lot of high end paid advertisements to me - I saw very little that was actually hand made in the venue that most people would associate as hand crafted. - As a crafter listing under Handcrafted - which has been an ebay category for many years - why wouldn't ebay ask some of the regular people who have actually been in that category for all these years? And after browsing thru page 2 - well there was nothing there for me. the Chinese thing was a huge turn off. Really disappointing to see this newest amazon copycat.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 07:29:59 2015

I think this is wonderful for the handmade people.  No Ebay shouldn't do more to raise awareness beyond advertising on the TV or internet.  Handmade folks should be glad that they have so many outlets to sell.

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by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 09:06:56 2015

I tried to find out how to sell on Ebay Handmade and was completely frustrated. First of all, there's no information available on the site as to how to get started. I called up, got a non-English speaking CSR who had never even heard of their artisan handmade, and her supervisor didn't know anything about it either!

Before Ebay tries to market the service, they really need to tell their own employees about it so they can sign people up.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 09:33:47 2015

Rexford, eBay has had at least ONE original idea: the concept of online auctions.  

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 09:42:53 2015

Childers, I'm thinking the Amazon CSR's are moonlighting at eBay. That is precisely the type of response I get from them. I either get an answer that I'm sure is incorrect, or a reply that they are forwarding my concern to someone else.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rural artist

Fri Dec 11 09:55:59 2015

No! They have never restricted buyers even knock-off prints of famous artist. They have been told over and over go to your roots but that has not happened. Amazon is a joke too. (My opinion) I signed up and signed out when I noticed they manipulate buyers categories. And now I hear sellers can not communicate with each-other in fear they would price fix. (Who's gonna control the Fix?) So, the originals should feel confident they will continue to lead the pack and they continue building in an area nobody thought about. Woo Hoo! You know who you are.  

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 11 10:14:30 2015

Rural Artist, what do you mean about Amazon ''manipulating buyers categories?'' What IS a ''buyer's category'' anyway?

Where did you hear that (Amazon?) sellers can't communicate with each other? Of course we can! Please don't make statements like this unless you're able to provide a source. I am a member of several FB groups exclusively for H@A sellers and there is an Amazon forum specifically for H@A sellers, so we're definitely communicating with each other! As for price fixing, how can prices of handmade items be fixed? Compared & discussed, perhaps, but not fixed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Dec 11 13:13:58 2015

Sierra, yes, and they totally ruined it. :)

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