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How to Sell on Amazon Handmade

Amazon Handmade debuted in October 2015, representing a major new sales avenue for thousands of home-based businesses. Like competitor Etsy.com, the site is a marketplace for artisan craft goods. Everything on the site is made by hand (obviously!).

What Amazon has to its advantage is a huge base of customers already using the site. As a small business, being able to access Amazon’s customers should make your mouth water.

Here’s some information about how to start selling on the site…

What Can I Sell on Handmade?

As of October 2015, the categories on the freshly-launched site are still thin. Right now there are only seven categories available:

  • Jewelry
  • Home Décor
  • Artwork
  • Stationery & Party Supplies
  • Kitchen & Dining
  • Furniture
  • Bedding

The good news is that these categories are sufficiently broad that most people won’t have trouble fitting into them. One noticeable category missing is clothing, which is a huge draw on Etsy. We’d expect Amazon to add clothing in the future.

But just because you fit into one of the groups doesn’t automatically mean you can sell. First, Handmade means exactly that. As their FAQ puts it:

All products available in your Handmade at Amazon store must be made entirely by hand, hand-altered, or hand assembled (not from a kit). Products must be 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. Mass-produced products or products handmade by a different artisan are not eligible to sell in Handmade.

There are a number of sellers on Etsy who don’t meet this requirement. One good feature is that Amazon is not restrictive about selling your goods on multiple markets. This allows you to sell on multiple sites and maximize your income.

Applying for Amazon Handmade

Unlike many other craft-good sites, you can’t automatically setup a shop with Handmade. You have to apply and be approved.

The application process is fairly lengthy. It involves typical questions like your name, address, etc. From there, the application dives into the nitty gritty details of your products and operations. Questions you have to answer include:

  • Who makes your products?
  • How do you make your products?
  • What makes your product unique? (Max 500 characters)
  • What makes your product unique? (Max 500 characters)
  • Is any part of your production process or components (e.g., castings for rings) of your final product mass-produced?
  • Are your products purchased and then modified?
  • Describe where your studio(s) or work space(s) is located.
  • What type of equipment do you use?
  • How long have you been making and/or selling your products?
  • How did you get started? (Max 500 characters)

You can view the entire application here.

Creating a profile on Handmade

After being approved, then you’re ready to setup your storefront, or as it is called on Handmade, your “Artisan Profile.”

Your profile is dominated by a massive header image, with a smaller inset image. As well, there is a profile area where you can talk about your store, including your inspiration, production methods and top products.

This profile is crucial to your success. Your Artisan Profile is a way for your to brand your business and share what’s unique about your products.

An example Artisan Profile on Handmade
An example Artisan Profile on Handmade

Selling and Fees on Amazon Handmade

If you have a ton of products, then you’ll love Amazon’s pricing. Most other people will think it’s expensive. There are no fees for listing, and they don’t expire either. Amazon takes a 12% cut of every sale. That’s more than triple Etsy’s 3.5%.

Amazon Handmade fees

Even with these higher fees, sellers do need to watch out! In the fine print of Amazon Handmade’s fee schedule is this notice:

Sellers pay a referral fee on each item sold. After August 1, 2016, standard category referral fees will apply to all Handmade at Amazon category transactions.

Amazon’s normal fees are considerably higher. For example, the fee on jewelry is 20% — almost double the 12% “teaser” rate. For more, you can see Amazon’s fee schedule here.

Is Amazon Handmade Better Than Etsy?

Naturally people will compare Etsy and Amazon Handmade. It’s true that Handmade is likely to prove popular given the natural advantage of Amazon’s traffic. The high fees, however, are a big hurdle to overcome. Only time will tell if Amazon ends up hurting Etsy. At this point we think that’s unlikely. It won’t surprise us to see sellers revolt against high fees, especially with the August 2016 price increase.

Are you selling on Etsy and thinking about joining Amazon Handmade? Let us know your questions in the comments below.

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