As the popularity of home and micro businesses rise, it's refreshing to see platforms give Etsy (once, and some may say still, considered the paragon of indie handmade business) a run for its money. And if any platform is equipped to pull it off, if for no other reason than the number of its sellers, Amazon would fit the bill. But the unanswered question remains: do we want it to? This summer, amidst constant discontent experienced by Etsy sellers, Amazon announced plans to open its own Handmade at Amazon marketplace featuring items defined, by Amazon, as "handmade by you (the artisan), by one of your employees (if your company has 20 or fewer employees), or a member of your collective with less than 100 people". Unfortunately, this definition, (mostly) shared by Etsy, has been the center of constant consternation between seller and platform as artists continue to list products created by cheap foreign labor, despite a ban on manufactured goods. Etsy couldn't police it, so there's no reason to assume Amazon can. Or will.
Let's take a look at Handmade at Amazon's features (as I currently understand them):
Though not ideal, with exceptionally high fees unfavorable to the micro business, Amazon may prove to be the competition needed to bring Etsy to heel. My review, however, is greatly limited by my interaction (or lack there of) with the platform, as the invitation and acceptance process is frustrating for those of us impatient folk. The details I've provided here are available directly from the Handmade at Amazon services page, and my opinion of these services is based only on my personal experience selling handcrafted goods on third-party platforms, in general. This platform still has plenty opportunity to prove itself as a viable resource for the micro business.
So, tell me... what are your thoughts on the new platform? If you are an Etsy seller, will you be ditching its much lower fees for the much wider Amazon audience?
UPDATE: I was recently given this interesting article, regarding SEO and the exploitation of sellers to generate more traffic within Amazon, even after sellers close their accounts. It was an interesting read. I'll be contacting Amazon regarding whether or not accounts will be deleted upon request, and sold items removed from the site (instead of coming up in search as "unavailable"). The last thing any of us want is do well, move to our own website, and then have to fight with our old presence on Amazon for searchability.
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