Both popular ecommerce platforms for the ecommerce entrepreneur, Amazon Handmade Vs. Etsy is a topic worth exploring during the course of starting and even growing your business.
If you are a creative in search of the best space to share your work and handmade products, traversing the technicalities of the ecommerce world can be a little overwhelming—especially if you have only sold through pop-ups, physical locations, or over social media.
Luckily, there are communities and ecommerce marketplaces dedicated to creatives, like Amazon Handmade and Etsy that support the community, helping various art forms and artists grow across the ecommerce space.
In this article, we’ll explore both platforms—Amazon Vs Etsy and take a quick dive into Shopify, while we go over their pros and cons so that you can make the right choices for you!
Let’s get started.
Etsy started with humble beginnings in 2005, and they have since become a successful hub for artisans to share their craft and work. It is an online marketplace for unique and creative goods, vintage pieces, and handcrafted works. Etsy works to “keep commerce human”, as many of the products sold on their platform offer buyers a more human connection through artisanal and handmade products. A platform that houses unique creations and a vibrant community of merchants, many sellers also provide custom pieces for customers.
Sellers must meet Etsy’s marketplace criteria, which are discussed below. It is important to note that items that violate intellectual property rights and policies are not permitted to be sold on Etsy.
In 2020, Etsy reported more than 4.3 million sellers, 81.9 million users, and $1.7 billion in revenue.
While absolutely anyone can sell goods on Etsy, it is an ecommerce platform designed to sell unique and handcrafted items made by artists, craftsmen, and designers. It is also the place for those who sell vintage goods and other one-of-a-kind pieces. When it comes to art sold on the platform, Etsy also allows for digital downloads of products, like prints and posters.
It’s worth noting that people who buy items from Etsy usually tend to be female, with a younger age range that spans between 15 to 35 years old, making this platform perfect for merchants with this target market in mind.
People who support brands on Etsy also tend to be value-driven, seeking out niche products and are happy to support handmade goods and the works of individual craftsmen and women.
As it were, selling products on Etsy isn’t for everyone as they only allow you to list craft supplies, handmade goods made by the merchant, and vintage items.
Handcrafted products must be made by the seller while reselling items comes with limitations. According to Etsy, reselling is only permitted in the case of vintage goods and craft supplies. Everything listed under on Etsy must be made or designed by the seller.
For example, if you are an online entrepreneur who wishes to establish an online clothing boutique on Etsy, you can only do so if you have designed or made the clothes yourself, or they must be vintage pieces produced at least 20 years ago.
Etsy Pricing and Fees
Etsy's standard plan is free and it comes complete with the tools you need to set up shop, however, there are listing fees and transaction fees.
Each product listed on Etsy will be subject to a $0.20 listing fee. This fee is charged whether or not you manage to sell your items. Listings also expire after four months, so keep in mind that when the listing is renewed automatically, you will then be charged once more.
Etsy also collects a 5% transaction fee per sale, taking this percentage from the total item cost, which includes shipping and gift wrapping. Etsy also has its own payment processor, which charges 3% + $0.25 per transaction—all factors merchants eyeing the platform must consider.
Amazon Handmade Overview
Amazon, the largest ecommerce company in the world, launched the Amazon Handmade category in October 2015. Just like Etsy, Amazon Handmade is an artisan-only marketplace, where artists and designers can sell their unique works to people all across the world.
Amazon Handmade’s vision is to empower artisans and to support a growing craft community, giving them a platform to showcase their handmade products globally and to grow their craft into successful businesses.
The most successful ecommerce platform, Amazon’s “Handmade” category allows you to easily add artisanal products to your cart, along with other products on Amazon using your regular Amazon account, which many shoppers will find convenient.
Amazon Handmade Pros:
As the largest and most successful ecommerce company in the world, Amazon has made a name for itself as an Everything Store that buyers associate with quick shipping and convenience. It is estimated that there are over 103 million US Amazon Prime subscribers—nothing comes close to its size and success in the ecommerce world.
Just like Etsy, the Amazon Handmade category is for artisans and designers only, and merchants need to go through an application process to qualify for the Handmade category of Amazon. This encourages transparency and authenticity when it comes to the products sold under the category—everything must be genuinely handmade, upcycled, or repurposed.
The biggest draw for merchants eyeing Amazon Handmade is that Amazon deals with millions of site visits and customers from all over the world every single day and shoppers can easily add handmade products to their carts along with their usual purchases. Merchants who use the platform will have access to Amazon's massive customer base. What's more, is that Amazon listings have a higher chance of showing up on Google Search.
Amazon Handmade Cons:
Unlike the other Amazon Categories, the Handmade category does not welcome products that are mass-produced. Products manufactured in large quantities in a standardized, cookie-cutter manner are not welcome, and sellers cannot have a team of over 20 people. Operations must be kept small and authentic, just like on Etsy.
Because Amazon wants to ensure that products are indeed made by hand, merchants must also undergo an application process. This process is reportedly slow, taking up to two weeks for sellers to get vetted and ready to set up shop.
Methods of payment are also worth commenting on. Amazon holds on to your payment until products bought from your shop are shipped, and payments only go out to merchants bi-weekly.
Amazon Handmade Pricing and Fees
Amazon Handmade merchants are required to have a professional selling account which costs $39.99 a month. This fee will be waived however once you become an approved Amazon Handmade applicant after the first month.
There are no listing fees or subscription fees, but there is a 15% per sale fee to think about.
Shipping and Fulfillment
Another important consideration is how both platforms handle shipping and fulfillment. Both Etsy and Amazon offer their own tools and protocols for shipping and order fulfillment to make things easier for sellers and offer logistic convenience for customers.
Unlike Amazon, Etsy sellers are fully responsible for shipping out orders. Etsy has partnered with USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Australia Post, Global Postal Shipping, and Royal Mail to help merchants streamline the fulfillment process, helping things go over smoothly for both seller and customer.
Etsy offers Shipping Labels for the above-mentioned carriers. You purchase and print the shipping labels, after which Etsy will mark an order as shipped.
Amazon Handmade comes with two options, namely Fulfillment by Amazon or Fulfilment by Merchant.
Fulfillment by Amazon means that Amazon will handle shipping for you. This is also a great option for merchants who wish to offer customers Amazon Prime Shipping. With Fulfillment by Merchant, you will have to ship orders yourself.
The Shopify Option
Etsy and Amazon marketplaces are saturated. Yes, both platforms come with built-in audiences looking for products like yours, but they also come with a lot of competition.
To stand out, many businesses are taking branding into their own hands and launching their own websites on ecommerce platforms like Shopify, even syncing their Shopify sites to their Etsy and Amazon pages to maintain richer and reinforced connections to customers, providing a seamless shopping experience.
The biggest advantage to building your own store and owning your own domain rests in branding. Selling exclusively on Amazon or Etsy will get you customers loyal to the platform, and not necessarily to your brand. Having your own website gives you the creative freedom and the independence as an artist who has full control over your products and the branding attached to what it is you do and create.
For many online sellers, growing with Amazon and Etsy are the first steps, but building your website is how many ecommerce entrepreneurs take things to the next level. If you find yourself selling your products on a marketplace while dreaming of your own website, choosing to create a website that syncs to your preferred marketplaces could be a strategic decision in line with growth.
You’ll be able to provide customers with an omnichannel shopping experience and you’ll also enjoy the customization options that come with owning a site.
Learn more about Shopify here.
Get in Touch
Are you exploring your options in ecommerce? If you are ready to take the next step and would like to learn more about building your own site with Shopify, feel free to get in touch with us today. At Ecommerce Pro, we help entrepreneurs like you build better and more successful ecommerce businesses. We not only build foundations, we’ll also help take your online business to the next level.