Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Sept 19 2015 16:01:28

An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

By: Ina Steiner

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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.

It's interesting to take a look at the PhoenixFire Designs' Amazon Handmade shop and compare it to her shop on Etsy. Note that Etsy also provides a seller profile page.

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.




Comments (47) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Royal Presence This user has validated their user name.
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Sat Sep 19 19:46:10 2015

Thank you for the insight into Handmade at Amazon. I was accepted also, but registration got convoluted for some reason.

The support team cancelled my account so I can begin the process once again. Hopefully this weekend will get me up and running and I can see what it all entails!

I expect a steep learning curve as I'm used to Etsy and the simplicity of publishing listings.
Thanks again, will keep an eye on the observations of everyone.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Upmod Rich This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Sep 20 12:55:15 2015

I'd be most interested to hear about their cost structure to sellers, I seriously doubt they'll try to compete with the 3% that Etsy charges, Amazon are used to charging much more than that. So, I'd assume they have to charge more but provide better access to buyers through superior search and product/store placement. Does anyone have any idea yet on the cost to sellers?

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Sep 20 13:15:57 2015

@Upmod Rich - I was curious, too, so I found the information:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.ht
ml/ref=hnd_lp?nodeId=201818920


If
I'm reading it correctly, you pay a 12% "referral fee" on each item sold, or 50 cents, whichever is greater.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 20 13:16:53 2015

The fees for Handmade@Amazon will be 12% or $.50 per item, whichever is greater (Amazon is calling this a ''referral fee''), thru the end of July 2016. Starting August 1, 2016, H@A will have a $39.99 monthly fee, in addition to the ''referral fee.''

If one is selling in H@A and elsewhere on Amazon, it may get more complicated. All of the fees can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hnd_lp?nodeId
=201818920

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 20 13:19:01 2015

I've been accepted to sell on H@A. Wish I knew when H@A will go live ... I don't really have time to work on setting up my shop there for the next 2 weeks, but if they're going to open on 10/1, for example, I would try to get something done there!  

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Nothingbutstring This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Sep 20 14:30:49 2015

I to have been accepted to sell on H@A, but over the last few days I've read some disturbing articles and threads which has me second guessing myself.  The first being this section from Amazon's terms of use.

''You grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, perform, display, distribute, adapt, modify, re-format, create derivative works of, and otherwise commercially or non-commercially exploit in any manner, any and all of Your Materials, and to sublicense the foregoing rights to our Affiliates and operators of Amazon Associated Properties''

I'm giving them the right to reproduce my items at will?? Wait !  What ?  While Etsy has a similar clause in their TOU's the part about reproducing my items is most definitely not in it. With Etsy they just want to be able to use your photo's at will for various postings both in and outside of Etsy.

The other article that made me stop and ask what I'm doing is this one:

www.dailydot.com/business/how-amazon-exploits-small-online
-retailers/

It's
from 2012, but if Amazon is still practicing this kind of business behavior where does this leave us little guys if we ever decide to leave?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying no to Amazon, not just yet, but I want to go into this knowing all the facts, both good and bad and making a decision from there.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 14:58:14 2015

I'm setting up daily. a few glitches this morning.. maybe they are working on the software to open up soon? I did notice a campaign of sorts on Etsy to address AH members. I mean if that was allowed in a similar way posting against Etsy the posters would have been instantly permamuted. :-)  

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Sep 20 14:59:56 2015

Nothing but string, the daily dot was proven to be bogus by other amazon sellers.  

As far as the tuo, they were clarified in the forums by an admin.  "Materials" isn't your items, it's your photos and text, so they can promote you.  

Is that what YOU thought when you read the TOU?  Really?  Not letting a few who see monsters behind every tree derail me from a potentially successful 2nd basket.  

I think some folks are just afraid to jump up and that's fine, and there are others that are afraid there will be a talent drain if H@A is successful and Etsy will wither.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 15:02:00 2015

Just saying i could post 5,000 pages of stuff here about Etsy.. none of it good. In the end you get Etsy slow to no sales or try out AH and ignore the few articles you read.. a few articles against Amazon or a few thousand against Etsy?

just e aware you are being played by Etsy Admin.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 20 15:02:03 2015

Hi err... "white rabbit", lol!  It's curious, isn't it?

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 15:11:24 2015

(i get around) :-)  Hey Robin.. good seeing you again :-)

I do think the members on the etsy forums complaining about AH are either no avatar Etsy admin or members that were refused admittance to AH and of course the cupcakes looking for Admin approval. It is understandable, they both have a lot to lose.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Nothingbutstring This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 20 16:03:33 2015

@White Rabbit and @Robin  I am neither, admin nor in the pocket of Admin.  Those TOU's are not clear, and if that is the way that you interpret them more power to you.  Amazon is more than capable of taking a design and having it duplicated and selling it as it's own.  Happens all the time with big retail, Target comes to mind.  All I was saying is that there is cause for concern and since you are reading them one way and many others another I would say that both are reasonable.  In addition I'm not letting Etsy Admin make my decision for me or anyone else for that matter.  I've got family that sells on Amazon now, and some of the things that they have pulled on existing sellers is no better than the things that Etsy does to it's sellers if not worse.  How would you like it if you sold a product, and Amazon decided to sell that same product and told you that they were deactivating all your items and that no seller would be allowed to sell that product any longer because they (Amazon) were  now selling it. Doesn't sound all that much better than when Etsy deactivated all the rebel flags.  Different reasons same results, your product pulled from the site.

Amazon has got some great positives going for it, but don't think that it's all milk and honey because the grass is not always greener when you get there.  It's just a different shade of yellow.  All these big companies are out for themselves pure and simple and we as little guys need to be informed about all aspects of their business not just the positive ones.  

I'm just not one of those people that jumps in feet first.  I'd rather let you guys who are chomping at the bit take all the hits first.  Then we'll see how things are really going to work when the dust settles.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 16:12:17 2015

Sounds like a good Plan. :-) We will let you know how it goes.

I have to tell you Chad is sitting in Rob Kalin's office laughing at how smart he is. I wonder if he visits the Etsy Forums with a special account?

Just Saying The forums there is completely controlled and Playing people is the Etsy way. It reminds me of the koan of one hand clapping. they chopped off the other hand by removing all descent.  

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime
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Sun Sep 20 16:19:44 2015

I wish the handmade sellers expanding to Amazon the very best of luck!  I'll be checking out the handmade area as soon as it goes live.  About Amazon adding vintage, I thought vintage was already there.  Or at least had been in the past?  If Amazon decides to open a vintage section with a similar look and feel to what they are preparing for handmade, I'd be interested!  

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 20 17:37:40 2015

Nothing but string, I didn't accuse you of being an etsy admin or anything else.
I'm simply saying the way you and a few others choose to interpret the TOU are contrary to the way others have.  

And you prove my point, the Target issue shows that if a big company wants to steal your designs, they don't have to start a new site to do it.  They just do it and hope the maker isn't related to a lawyer!

There are 2 billion sellers on Amazon.  Who have signed the TOU, some of whom make their own items.

As you've observed, there's no perfect platform to sell.  I guess we pick our "poison"!  I have no idea if Amazon will work for me or not, but I must try.

I wish you the best!

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 19:01:32 2015

2 million sellers and 244 million customers.. that is huge compared to Etsy. I have to imagine most of Etsy's customers are already customers on Amazon so really no hassles of having to join a new site or a site that is not well known and respected. I do expect the handmade to stay handmade. Not trying to sound like a cheerleader here but certainly enough good things here to balance. This really will be the largest site to ever take on craftspeople. Hope it works out well for all that support Amazon in this venture as really they do need support and they have stuck their neck out on this. imo

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

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

Sun Sep 20 20:58:42 2015

Amazon wants 12% of my profit.
That's 8% too much.
NEXT !

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 21 00:39:13 2015

I was approved on Amazon Handmade but I think they are asking for a lot. After all it is all handmade; a lot of work. Not to mention I have trademarks and an LLC and you're saying they would have rights to reproduce my designs? I have not read that. How does that work as I have rights too with my TM's and LLC. So I am signing those rights away by signing up with Amazon. So that's another price I have to pay to sell there. That's pretty gutsy if you ask me for them to want that right as I also sell to vendors. Where's my vendors protection when they think they are selling my one of a kind items in their boutiques and then Amazon starts producing them and my vendors customers start asking how it is they thought they were buying one of a kind items! I guess I will need to be pretty choosy what items I decide to sell on Amazon and ask myself which designs I am willing to possibly give up?!? How handmade is the site if they are basically taking the designs from the artisans to build a huge catalog for themselves in case their handmade site fails so they can turn around and 'mass produce' everything and sell everything themselves without us for a profit... Not sure I want to sell on a site that has these kinds of ethics; that's not supporting handmade. I think I will sit back for a while yet and watch.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 21 00:46:37 2015

I'm kinda halfway done setting up my shop on Amazon Handmade.  For now, i'm reserving my judgement till i figure out a few things.  At this time i have no idea how people will find us.  If it turns out to be anything like 11 main i won't be there for long.  Also, handmade means just that so how much would i have to sell before that $40 a month is worth it?  I'm doing okay where i am now and they charge 13 a month with no commission.  Time will tell.  I already am disappointed at the help we're really not getting through the registration and set up process.

Perminate Link for An Early Look at Amazon Handmade   An Early Look at Amazon Handmade

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 21 00:56:57 2015

Just noticed some of you are waiting for Amazon Handmde to "open".  I listed two items yesterday and got an email from Amazon saying my listed items are now online and ready for purchase.  So, i guess it is open!

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