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Will the New “Handmade At Amazon” Be an Etsy-Killer?

Will the New “Handmade At Amazon” Be an Etsy-Killer?

For the past 10 years, Etsy has been widely known as the internet’s premier destination to buy or sell handmade items, handcrafted gifts, artisanal crafts and unique goods of all kinds. But now Amazon, America’s largest retailer by market capitalization, is targeting the niche market of handcrafted items by introducing its new store, “Handmade At Amazon.”

To sell goods on Handmade At Amazon, artisans must be invited to join the store and must meet the definition of “handmade” products. All products for sale in each Handmade at Amazon store are required to be entirely made by hand, hand-altered or hand assembled. Sellers are not allowed to sell products that were made from kits, mass-produced or handmade by a different artisan – all products are expected to be made by the artisan who owns the store profile. Amazon is demanding a high degree of authenticity and transparency from its Handmade At Amazon sellers.

Handmade At Amazon will initially feature more than 80,000 handmade items from all 50 states and 60 countries, and more than 600 of the handmade items will be eligible for Amazon Prime two-day shipping (most products will take longer to ship because they are made-to-order. Peter Faricy, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, was quoted in USA Today as saying that Amazon decided to develop the new Handmade store as a result of seeing customers’ searches for keywords such as “handmade” and “hand crafted.”

Could Handmade At Amazon be an “Etsy Killer?” Is a relatively small niche site like Etsy able to compete with the big resources of a giant company like Amazon? It’s surprising to think that a big retailer like Amazon would try to position itself as a champion and curator of “authentic handmade crafts,” but in some ways, Etsy has made itself vulnerable in this area. As described in USA Today, in 2013, Etsy decided to allow its sellers to use some outside manufacturers to make the products, but this created backlash among some Etsy buyers who wanted only the most authentic handmade items.

However, Etsy still has some key advantages to survive and thrive – after all, most people who go shopping on Etsy tend to want something that’s really unique that they can’t find anywhere else, and they tend to want to support small businesses and independent artisans. Perhaps buying handmade crafts on the website of a massive corporation like Amazon would seem to be out of sync with the kind of shopping experience that Etsy buyers want. Also, as Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson was quoted as saying in USA Today, Etsy has more than 21 million consumers who use its platform, and the company claims that it can understand the needs of artists and sellers and support them like no other marketplace.

Will Handmade at Amazon be an Etsy Killer? Maybe not – despite a few missteps along the way, Etsy has built up a significant head start as the destination of choice for online shoppers who want to buy handmade crafts and unique artisanal items. Perhaps the launch of Handmade at Amazon is a sign that the market for handmade goods has grown to the point that it’s no longer an obscure niche market, but is instead becoming part of the mainstream retail experience. But regardless of whether the launch of Handmade at Amazon is bad news for Etsy, it’s definitely good news for small business owners who are looking to sell their handmade crafts to a bigger market.

Do you sell handmade crafts on Etsy or Amazon? What do you think of this news? Do you plan to apply to join Handmade at Amazon as a seller? How do you think it might help your business? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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