On October 8, 2015, Amazon launched Handmade at Amazon, a store within Amazon that is strictly dedicated to selling handmade products.
There are already over tens of thousands of gorgeous products listed and thousands of talented artisans participating.
At the time of the launch, Amazon is offering handmade products in categories including:
Amazon appears to be rigorously enforcing its policy that no mass-produced items will be allowed in the handmade category. In the application to sell through Handmade at Amazon, artisans need to describe their production process and declare any mass-produced items used in the process.
The look of Handmade at Amazon is different from the rest of the Amazon website. There are plenty of gorgeous product photos, plus there's a more personal feel with a photo of the artist and a link to more information about the shop. Amazon does provide that type of information about authors and sellers in other categories, but in the new Handmade category, information about the maker is featured more prominently.
Fees for selling your crafts on Amazon include a 12% referral fee. Starting on August 1st, 2016, there will also be a $39.99 monthly fee to sell your crafts in a Handmade at Amazon shop.
Clearly, Amazon is taking on Etsy. It's too soon to tell how this battle will shake out and what it will mean for craft business owners. As a seller, you don't have to choose one or the other. You can use both platforms for sales if that approach makes sense for you.
Here are a few points of comparison to consider:
Amazon's selling fee (12% plus $39.99 monthly starting on August 1, 2016) is significantly higher than Etsy's (5% plus 20 cents per listing), which will make it all the more important to have your products priced well if you plan to sell through Handmade at Amazon.
Amazon has an enormous network of affiliates. If you're a blogger, you are almost certainly an Amazon affiliate. Etsy has a fledgling affiliate program, but it is nowhere near the size of Amazon's program. That means, if you sell through Handmade at Amazon, there will be many more bloggers who will be interested in showcasing your products.
Amazon has a massive customer base (approximately 285 million customer accounts) compared to Etsy with 22 million accounts. While Etsy has an appeal to the niche handmade market, Amazon has a much broader base of customers.
Amazon is strictly enforcing a handmade only policy, while Etsy is moving toward allowing some manufacturing in order to accommodate sellers who are having so much success, they want to change their production process to manage a large volume of orders.
It's also important to consider whether selling on a third party craft marketplace is right for your business, or if your business would be better served by promoting your online craft sales on your own site.
Check out the shops on the Handmade at Amazon home page.
Read Amazon's information page for potential artisan sellers.
Apply to sell your crafts on Amazon with the Handmade at Amazon application form.