Does Amazon pose a threat to Etsy? Amazon Handmade hasn't officially launched yet, but sellers have begun setting up shop. Here's a sneak preview - we'd like to know what you think of Amazon's chances of attracting shoppers to its artisan marketplace.
Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh declined on Friday reveal when the Handmade marketplace would go live - one seller approved to set up her shop said Amazon has not given sellers an official launch date yet either. But, she said, she hopes it will be soon.
Amazon is keeping the lid on its new project, but we found some active links in Abby Glassenberg's blog, WhileSheNaps.com
. Abby is an entrepreneurial artisan, author, and teacher. In her email this week, she linked to PhoenixFire Designs' shop and a listing from sweet pea paperie.
Listings: Amazon Handmade vs. Amazon.com
The listing for the "Gold Polka Dot Floral Monogram Print
" from sweet pea paperie on Amazon really highlights the difference between not only listings on Etsy, but regular listings on Amazon.com as well.
The Amazon Handmade page is simpler than regular Amazon listings, and it shows a prominent photo of the seller along with a graphic showing where the seller is based (in this case Great Britain). Right underneath, it encourages shoppers to contact the seller, another major difference from regular Amazon listings that are organized by product rather than by seller.
Miss M. Turner of PhoenixFire Designs has set up listings for her handcrafted Full Moon Tree of Life pendants
. Notice that there's no buy button yet on Amazon Handmade listings. In fact, if you do a search for "Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant," it doesn't show up yet in search results on Amazon.
Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy: Personalization
Shoppers expect to be able to personalize the handmade goods they order online. On PhoenixFire Designs' listing for a Full Moon Tree of Life Pendant on Etsy, you'll see that shoppers can use pulldown menus to select Quantity; Chain Options; and Wire Color. The similar listing from PhoenixFire Designs on Amazon Handmade
requires more clicking - you can click on "Select Options," make your selections, and then click again to close the options feature.
But Amazon continues to work on the new Handmade store. The proprietor of PhoenixFire Designs, Miss M. Turner, told EcommerceBytes that Handmade at Amazon is definitely not finalized yet. "It's continuing to change and new features are being still being implemented."
She also said there's a learning curve to listing on Amazon. "It's very different setting up shop on Amazon vs. on Etsy (where I have been since 2006 and where I still maintain a shop.)
"When you create a listing on Etsy, it's all on one page. With Amazon, it's across multiple screens and with multiple possible detailed fields. Additionally, there is no ability to copy a listing so, for example, a black wire and a silver wire version of the same full moon tree of life style need to both be created from scratch, rather than duplicated and simply modified."
Miss M. Turner said she went through an extensive application to help validate the handcrafted authenticity of her work, and hopes that will give shoppers confidence in purchasing from Handmade at Amazon sellers.
Amazon is known for putting products rather than merchants front and center, and while Amazon Handmade does give sellers the opportunity to share their stories, at this point Etsy seems to do a better job at showcasing its sellers.
Amazon's timing in entering the handmade category is excellent - Etsy is going through growing pains as it tries new approaches to scale its business
after going public, and some are questioning its move to encourage sellers to enlist the aid of manufacturers to help with product creation.
Keep in mind as you review Handmade at Amazon that it's not yet meant for public consumption. The question is whether Handmade at Amazon will be ready and have enough merchandise to promote during the holiday shopping season.
On the other hand, Amazon has a lot of data about shoppers, and it could selectively target would-be craft shoppers.
Once Amazon gains traction in handmade, could it open the door to an expansion into vintage goods? Let us know what you think.