Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: how do you decide which solution is best for selling your artistic crafts online?
Both of these popular marketplace solutions have a lot of benefits to offer in the right circumstances. They each offer creators plenty of freedom to list and sell all kinds of unique products online, with an easy-to-use interface, and a huge existing audience.
However, there are some major differences between the two solutions. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the pros, cons, features, and pricing of both marketplace platforms, to help you make the right decision for your growing company.
Let’s dive in.
What is Etsy?
Let’s start with the basics: what is Etsy?
Etsy is one of the most popular creative marketplaces on the web today. First launched in 2005, it aimed to provide digital shoppers and sellers with a unique marketplace, dedicated to creative and one-of-a-kind items. Etsy is perhaps the go-to platform for consumers in search one-of-a-kind goods, from vintage finds to hand-made, customized items.
There are around 7.5 million sellers already active on Etsy, connecting with anywhere between 40 and 50 million buyers every day. The majority of buyers come to Etsy because they want to purchase unique products, they can’t find anywhere else. Etsy attracts huge numbers of consumers during the holiday season, and is particularly popular for purchasing gifts.
Etsy Pros and Cons
- Large audience with a strong intent to purchase
- Affordable pricing and easy set-up for beginners
- Excellent reputation for creative and hand-made items
- Convenient and easy-to-use platform
- Growing digital presence
- Limited scope to customize your listings
- Higher shipping fees
- High levels of competition
What is Amazon Handmade?
So, what’s Amazon Handmade?
A slightly younger online platform than Etsy, Amazon Handmade was produced in 2015, as a sister-site to one of the world’s biggest marketplaces, Amazon. The microsite allows artists and creators to sell hand-made and unique products online. Currently, Amazon Handmade doesn’t quite measure up to Etsy in terms of reach for sellers, with around 2 million active sellers. However, there are around 300 million buyers browsing the platform, making it easier for merchants to find customers.
One of the things that makes Amazon Handmade unique, is it can also assist sellers with fulfilling orders. Using the Amazon system, you can get help packing and shipping your products to customers, minimizing the amount of work you need to do in building your brand. With Amazon, you get access to a platform with an absolutely huge existing audience. In fact, in 2021, around 50% of all US ecommerce spending in 2021 happened through Amazon.
Amazon Handmade Pros and Cons
- Massive existing audience of trusting consumers
- Easy to use backend environment
- Access to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) services
- Great for building brand awareness
- Convenient listing process
- Relatively competitive environment
- High fees for sellers
- Limited access to customer information
Amazon Handmade vs Etsy: The Key Differences
On the surface, Amazon Handmade and Etsy have a lot of similarities. They both focus exclusively on the sale of unique, handmade, or specialist products. However, Etsy does give you a little more freedom to sell print-on-demand products and other items. Amazon requires every product to either be hand-made, hand-assembled, or altered in some unique way.
While Etsy is a little more affordable in general than Amazon Handmade, the Amazon sister site does have an excellent market share, and even a slightly lower level of competition for sellers. However, you do need to invest more time and effort into getting your store established.
Let’s look at some of the main differences between Amazon Handmade and Etsy.
Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: Fees and Pricing
Both Amazon Handmade and Etsy will have fees you need to consider when setting up your store. In both cases, the pricing is relatively low, but Amazon does charge a little more in commissions.
Etsy will charge approximately 20 cents for each listing, making it relatively easy for business leaders to get their storefront up and running. However, the shipping costs are quite high, coming in at around 5% of the price of any sale. Every time you create a new listing, you’ll spend 20 cents, and you’ll need to pay another 20 cents every time you sell an item.
Etsy also has a transaction fee of around 6.5% of the price of any item you sell in your designated currency, plus, there are extra costs for shipping and gift wrapping if you want to work with Etsy to deliver your items to customers. A few other fees to keep in mind include:
- Advertising costs: You can pay to access both off-site and Etsy-based ads as an Etsy seller. Offsite ads are charged every time you make a sale (around 12-15% of your revenue depending on how much you sell).
- Currency conversions: If you’re using Etsy Payments to manage transactions, there’s a currency conversion fee of 2.5% for every foreign currency you use.
- Pattern by Etsy fees: If you choose the Pattern service, the cost is $15 per month.
- Subscription fees: If you opt for Etsy Plus, an annual subscription service with access to more unique services, this will cost $10 per month.
Amazon is a little cheaper in some areas, depending on your sales strategy. There are no listing fees, but the commission for each sale is 15% – much higher than what you’d pay on Etsy. On top of that, there’s a minimum referral fee of $1 per sale.
Alongside your commission fees, you’ll also need to think about shipping charges. If you want to sell on Amazon Handmade, you’ll need to pay for a professional selling plan, costing $39.99 per month, but this can be waived after a month of selling. Additionally, if you want to use Fulfilled by Amazon for your sales, you’ll have extra fees to pay for packing, shipping, and inventory management.
Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: Ease of Use
For sellers and buyers alike, both Etsy and Amazon Handmade are relatively easy to use. However, there are some differences involved in getting started with both platforms.
With Etsy, all you need to do to get your business up and running is create a new account on Etsy.com, using your email address, Facebook details, or Google account. From there, you can set up your Etsy store preferences in the settings, create a banner for your storefront, and start adding listings to your store. You’ll be able to set payment methods and billing settings relatively easily.
With Amazon Handmade, the process is a little more convoluted. You’ll need to complete an entire application process, choosing from a range of 14 categories to sell in. You’ll also need to guarantee that your items are handmade or altered in some way.
To get started with Amazon Handmade, you’ll need to create a professional seller account, apply to become an “Artisan” on the site, and develop your own Artisan profile. After you’ve been approved to sell, you can create a profile, similar to the profile you’d make for Amazon, and set up shipping and payment methods. You can also choose to leverage FBA, which will require some additional set-up.
Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: Inventory Management and Orders
Both Amazon Handmade and Etsy will provide you with various tools for inventory management and order fulfilment. Both tools make the process relatively straightforward.
For instance, with Etsy, you’ll have a main dashboard environment which allows you to navigate quickly through your store, altering listings, and tracking your inventory.
You can also filter listings by status, channel, and expiration date. There’s a Quick Edit mode for editing your listings fast, and you’ll be able to change everything from quantity, price, to SKUs in a couple of clicks. You can also add new listings from the inventory management center, with photos, listing details, and pricing.
With Etsy, the seller is primarily responsible for fulfilling all orders, but there is some support available. Etsy partners with a range of different shipping companies, such as Canada Post, FedEx, and USPS (United States Postal Service).
You can use the Etsy Shipping Labels service to design labels within the site, which can save you a little money on shipping and order fulfillment. Plus, there’s the option to use external fulfillment services if you’re not happy with the Etsy options.
With Amazon Handmade, managing and fulfilling orders is similar to the experience on the larger site. You can log into Seller Central to handle your inventory management strategy, create a new product, add listings (one at a time or in bulk)( and use templates for your online store.
You can import and export products to your new listing using files in Excel, which is handy if you’re familiar with spreadsheets. Plus, Amazon can provide you with a unique template for every product category you use. In terms of order fulfillment, you’ll have access to “Fulfillment by Amazon”.
This is a fantastic tool for automating your fulfillment and delivering fantastic shipping services. Leveraging this service means you can get Amazon to handle everything from packing and picking your products for you, to warehousing and shipping. Amazon can also help you out with customer care and refunds, which can save you a lot of time.
However, keep in mind that using Amazon FBA means you’ll be less likely to build comprehensive relationships with your customers, because Amazon will be handling everything for you.
Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: Marketing and Ads
No matter what kind of handmade products or creative items you’re going to be selling, it’s important to ensure you can attract people to your store. Both Amazon and Etsy do give you some valuable tools to capture attention for your handmade goods.
For your Etsy shop, you can connect with your customer base through onsite and offsite ads. With an onsite ad, you’ll showcase your product listings on the top of the page when customers search for specific keywords using the Etsy search function. The offsite ads allow you to promote items to customers on other channels, outside of the Etsy environment.
While handmade sellers pay for all of the promotion they access from Etsy on-site, you’ll only pay a fee for offsite ads when you sell something. The cost is around 15% of your yearly revenue if you make more than $10,000, or 12% if you make less.
If you’re using Amazon as your online marketplace for craft supplies and other unique products, you can leverage a marketing solution similar to Google Ads. You’ll be able to optimize your listings organically for keywords, or pay for ads within the Amazon platform.
You can also allow Amazon to display ads outside of the Amazon marketplace, which is ideal if you want to appeal to more than just Amazon customers. You can create your own budget, bid on specific keywords, and even track analytics and reports within the Amazon platform. Similar to Etsy, you’ll pay for your external ads whenever a shopper clicks on your promotion.
Other than the user-friendly sponsored ads on the Amazon platform, you can also run display and video ads, which is a great way for small businesses to stand out. However, you will need to create your ad copy yourself, so keep this in mind.
Etsy vs Amazon Handmade: Customer Support
When retailers need help with issues selling their products, it’s important to ensure the right customer service is available. Any ecommerce business can run into hurdles from time to time. Fortunately, both Etsy and Amazon do offer some useful tools.
From within your Etsy account, you can reach out to the team through email, live chat, or phone to get help with any problems you might have with your bank account, fulfillment, or anything else. You’ll also be able to use the help center to find solutions to common problems your ecommerce business might face. Plus, there’s a great forum where you can connect with other sellers.
Similar to Etsy, Amazon has its own help center or knowledgebase where you can find tips for connecting with potential customers, leveraging SEO, promoting on social media and countless other topics. You can also contact the Amazon service team through your central account.
Amazon allows entrepreneurs to get in touch via phone, email, or live chat, through the customer service menu on the Amazon website.
Amazon Handmade vs Etsy: Verdict
For companies looking to sell products in the “handmade” category, both Amazon and Etsy have a lot to offer. Whether you opt for the Amazon selling platform or the Etsy marketplace, you’ll be able to sell various types of products to a huge range of customers.
However, Etsy does give you a few more options for selling a range of vintage items alongside handcrafted items for personal care, and gifting. Amazon has fewer categories to choose from, but this also means you’ll have less competition to worry about.
Amazon sellers benefit from an easy-to-use environment where they can sell handmade items without a consistent monthly fee, and with excellent support for fulfillment. Etsy companies will access an easy-to-use ecommerce platform where they can connect with consumers on a deeper level, and even sell vintage goods from a range of categories.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy to choosing the right platform. The best ecommerce platform for you will depend on the kind of products you want to sell, the shipping options you need access to, and how comfortable you are with the fulfillment and selling fees from each service.
Keep in mind, there are also tools out there for business owners who want to integrate channels like Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, and many others into their existing online store. For instance, on Shopify, you can connect with Amazon and set up Amazon prime services, while still taking credit card payments through your own store.
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