Did You Get an Invitation to Amazon Handmade?
Handmade at Amazon
It's Amazon vs Etsy with the latest program being unveiled by Amazon. Is there anyone Amazon doesn't seek to compete with? Regardless of how you feel about that, the fact is this new program is a great opportunity for artisans and crafters to introduce their items to a massive audience using Amazon's platform.
Amazon started by exclusively inviting artisans online, many of whom were already selling on Etsy. Now, they have opened up the process and are accepting applications for invitations.
The process of applying isn't a long one. The whole form takes less than ten minutes to fill out and asks a variety of questions about your product, how it is produced, and if your company consists of just you or if you have employees.
The application also asks for a very brief description of your primary item and not any secondary items. If you don't have a website – I would highly recommend setting up a blog or at least a Facebook page where you can highlight your creations.
So, did you get your invitation yet? If not, read on to learn more about the pros and cons of Amazon vs Etsy - or apply for your invitation here.
The Benefits of Handmade by Amazon
* Up to 30 days to ship items
*Monthly sellers fee (normally $39.99) is waived until August 2016 for those who make fewer than 40 sales per month.
* Amazon has over 250 million active accounts, vs 20 million or so on Etsy
* Premade items are eligible to use the Fulfillment by Amazon program, allowing sellers to send their inventory to Amazon's fulfillment center (great if you don't have a ton of space for inventory)
* Your products featured on the Amazon platform (more than 250 million shop Amazon)
* Listing is free, has great customization features and listings never expire.
* You can earn back 10% of sales generated by your items on your personal website if you are a member of the Amazon Associates program.
* Strict handmade policy – all products must be handmade or altered, not from a kit. They must be made by the artist or an employee if your company employs less than 20 people. You cannot resell other handmade items or any mass-produced products. (Earlier in the year Etsy relaxed some of its standards, angering many of their members)
The Cons of Amazon Handmade
* The monthly fee waiver is only effective until August, 2016 and only if you sell fewer than 40 items per month.
* There is a 12% fee (minimum of 50 cents)
* Amazon will be pricier than its competitor for set up. Etsy charges only .20 per listing and a smaller percentage of sale.
* Amazon is a giant behemoth that often crushes small businesses and may now be trying to do the same thing to Etsy, eliminating competition and ensuring increased fees and profits for Amazon. This may also eliminate other up and coming handmade marketplaces. Monopoly is rarely ever a good thing as has been witnessed with eBay over the years.
So, will Amazon Handmade be worth it? Time will tell of course, but I am looking forward to giving it a try. In recent years, I gave up on Etsy. The market was too saturated and I noticed a lot of not handmade items competing and driving prices down. It wasn't worth it to me for the handful of sales I received, so I started focusing my attention locally doing fairs, festivals and consignments.
If I make the cut; I will definitely try Amazon's Handmade program on for size and see how it goes. The listings I've viewed are impressive and I like that they have stricter rules for what is handmade. I personally believe that the quality overall will likely remain higher on Amazon.
I won't get my hopes up however and I will continue to direct my efforts to local markets and I encourage other crafters and artisans to do likewise.