May 26, 2015
Amazon, the behemoth e-commerce site that reportedly has 278 million active accounts, is said to have recently approached Etsy sellers via email encouraging them to check out Amazon’s new marketplace for artisans called Handmade. First reported in the Wall Street Journal, Etsy and Amazon have both declined to comment but it’s left the artisan world buzzing.
Assuming the reports are accurate, there’s a lot of questions still remaining. For food producers, we don’t yet know if food products will be allowed to be sold via the platform and, if so, what restrictions (if any) will be put in place to ensure that producers are operating out of licensed home or commercial kitchens according to the regulations in their state.
While Amazon has a much larger audience base than Etsy (which reportedly had 20.8 million transactions last year), there is not yet a clear idea of what Amazon’s cut would be to have products listed and sold through Handmade. Currently Etsy charges a $.20 listing fee and a 3.5% commission for each product sold through the site.
Questions also remain about fulfillment. Would artisans on Handmade be required to deliver order to Amazon Prime consumers within 2 days? With Amazon’s extensive fulfillment and distribution network, there is a strong possibility that artisan producers may be encouraged to use Amazon’s fulfillment services. This, however, may not be a possibility for perishable food products and in those cases where the product is made to order. In these instances, what regulations Amazon will put around speed of shipment is still undetermined.
Of course the last question that remains is if Amazon does unveil Handmade, how might Etsy react in order to remain competitive. Will Etsy make changes to their site or their regulations in response to Handmade and, if so, how might that impact sellers who are currently on the site and the customer experience for consumers.
All in all, this is big news in the artisan world and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the end.