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Ep. 030 Keyword Podcast: Amazon Handmade

May 15, 2017
Ep. 030 Keyword Podcast- Amazon Handmade

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Amazon wants to be a platform for everyone and that includes people who make their own products. Things like custom woodworking, purses, jewelry and more. The popularity of Etsy proved there was demand.


That’s why Amazon launched a competitor to Etsy called Amazon Handmade. It’s a marketplace for those kinds of sellers, Amazon calls them Artisans.


“Senior leadership has always seen Etsy as an opportunity for Amazon that had never been explored,” says former Amazonian Marell Morel.


Marell actually helped launch Handmade when she worked at Amazon. Now Marell works for Cascadia, a company built to help Amazon sellers grow their Amazon business. You can find them at www.thinkcascadia.com.















Selling with Handmade at Amazon

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Show Notes:

Ep. 030 Keyword Podcast: Amazon Handmade

Amazon wants to be a platform for everyone and that includes people who make their own products. Things like custom woodworking, purses,  jewelry and more. The popularity of Etsy proved there was demand.

That’s why Amazon launched a competitor to Etsy called Amazon Handmade.It’s a marketplace for those kinds of sellers, Amazon calls them Artisans.

“Senior leadership has always seen Etsy as an opportunity for Amazon that had never been explored,” says former Amazonian Marell Morel.

Marell actually helped launch Handmade when she worked at Amazon. Now Marell works for Cascadia, a company built to help Amazon sellers grow their Amazon business. You can find them at www.thinkcascadia.com.

When Marell was launching Handmade,she covered multiple roles including selection. It was her job to make sure there was a lot of different things for shoppers to choose from when it comes to handmade products. She was also reviewing applications from artisans. The biggest part of the review process is vetting to make sure Artisans are actually making their products and not mass producing it.

“How do we make sure we keep this space truly handmade and don’t let manufacturers and mass producers come in and sell their products,” Marell says.

That’s the problem Etsy was having. Etsy lets anyone sell on their marketplace.

“A lot of wholesalers and factories from China came on board and that really upset a lot of sellers. They felt like Etsy was losing itself,” Marell says.

Handmade is only for people that make products entirely by hand, hand altered or hand assembled. Amazon started sending emails to Artisans in 2015 opening the doors for them to list products. When Handmade launched in October 2015, they launched with 5,000 Sellers.

By the end of 2015 that number had already doubled.

“It just went viral it was really kind of crazy,” Marell says.

So crazy, it surpassed Amazon’s expectations.

“We knew there was an appetite for another marketplace for handmade sellers but we didn’t know how big of an appetite that was,” Marell says.

Amazon wanted to be better than Etsy. So they offer their Artisans a lot. Each Artisan gets their own storefront page.

“On the storefront you can upload your cover image and some people have chosen to do a cover image of their workspace or of their products. What we suggest Artisans to do is take a picture, could be their workspace, and lay out their products,” Marell says.

Each individual listing page is more robust too. Products have larger pictures, more pictures, and a special detail page.

“You get the space to really talk about your products, about what inspires you, your creative process,” says Marell,  “Where on the normal detail pages you just don’t get to really explain yourself and explain your creative process.”

They can also include all their customization options within a single listing.

“If you sell a necklace and it comes in rose gold, gold and silver and it comes in three different chain lengths and you can have it monogrammed, you can set your ASIN up so all those options are created so when a customer comes to look at the detail page they can say, ‘Wow, ok I can choose these three colors and I can choose these two different length sizes and I can also have it personalized and have my initials engraved on it,’” Marell says.

Artisans using Etsy have to list each customized option separate.

“What that ends up doing is that causes a lot of back and forth between the Artisan and the customer,” says Marell, “Where here we wanted to really try to minimize that if not eliminate that.”

Artisans have 30 days to complete orders and get them shipped. Artisans can still take advantage of Fulfillment By Amazon, but only if they’re products aren’t customized. For example, if you’re an Artisan specializing in hand painted signs, you can send completed products to a Fulfillment Center and be eligible for Prime shipping.

The best part about Handmade is the access to amazon’s 250-million customers. Not only are your products discoverable on Handmade, they’re discoverable in the entire Amazon catalogue.

Recently, I was looking for some party supplies on Amazon and I ended up stumbling onto Handmade products that I ended up ordering. I wasn’t searching for Handmade products but the Amazon search algorithm includes them with the rest of the products in the Amazon catalogue.

Selling on handmade does have a cost. Artisans have to give Amazon 15% revenue share, the same as merchants. But, Artisans have all the benefits of being a professional seller and that $39.99 monthly subscription fee is waived.

Amazon also gives Artisans a lot of assistance when creating listings and setting up their storefronts.

‘We want Artisans to quickly list a product and be able to spend the majority of their time creating product versus trying to manage things,” Marell says.

Much like the Amazon Marketplace, Handmade has also been opened up to other sellers around the world. Places like Italy, South Africa and Australia all have Artisans selling on the Handmade platform in the United States. Artisans from countries with a lot of manufacturers, think places like China, are more highly scrutinized when they submit applications.

“I definitely reviewed applications from China and Viiet Nam, India [and] other places where where there’s a lot of factories and really vetted the application and there were definitely people who live in those countries that do make Handmade items and aren’t a factory trying to get around the system,” Marell says.

The application process can take a couple weeks. Amazon has no problem rejecting applications for products that they feel aren’t Handmade. Artisans can also report each other if they feel a product is being sold that isn’t handmade.

Handmade recently launched in Europe, allowing Artisans from all over the world to also sell their products there too.

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