Let's take a look at Handmade at Amazon's features (as I currently understand them):
- Currently (slightly) juried. New sellers must be approved. While manageable now, soon quality control will be an issue, as manufactured goods begin to sneak by inspection.
- Fees include a monthly sellers fee of $39.99, waived until August 2016, and 12% +.50 per transaction (including payment processing), applicable immediately. Potentially the most expensive platform, depending on the volume of sales processed each month.
- PayPal is not an accepted payment method. Payment processing is completed through a sellers personal or business bank account, through third party affiliates, such as Stripe, usually with a 1-3 day wait between purchase and payment. This makes immediate shipment difficult for the micro business.
- Sellers are provided with a customized URL, but their shop fronts are standard Amazon fair. This means your brand will be non-existent as you work beneath the umbrella of Amazon's larger business model.
- Advertising is available for additional fees. I have not priced these fees as they are only available to registered sellers. Aside from unreliable internal traffic, most sellers with small scale production levels will still be expected to manufacture their own traffic and buyers.
- Searchability. While products will be listed as "a separate category on Amazon" in which "products will appear alongside other handmade items for customers to browse, discover, and shop" it is still unclear if products will be searchable from Amazon's main page search bar, or only within the confines of the handmade category.
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.