You’d be forgiven for not having heard of – and, as a result, not being listed on – Handmade at Amazon. After all, Amazon’s answer to Etsy was only launched in 2015 and despite its many benefits, there are still a lot of questions about what it is, how to get started selling on it, how much it costs and how exactly it differs from Amazon’s original marketplace.
Throughout this article we’ll answer each of these questions, share tips and best practices for getting the most from selling on Amazon Handmade and ultimately explain why it could be the perfect marketplace to set your sights on if you sell handmade or vintage goods.
What is Amazon Handmade?
Let's start with what Amazon Handmade actually is.
Amazon Handmade (or officially Handmade at Amazon) is a store within the Amazon marketplace designed for Artisans to sell their one-of-a-kind, handcrafted goods. Categories include everything from clothing and jewellery, right through to homeware.
Unlike Amazon’s original marketplace where you can simply set up shop and start selling right away, sellers have to actually be “invited” and approved by Amazon before they can start selling on Handmade.
But what exactly does it take to be approved?
To be accepted as an Amazon Handmade seller, all your products must meet their definition of what "handmade" is, which is as follows:
“All products available in your Amazon Handmade store must be handmade, i.e. created, altered or assembled entirely by hand (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 business (if your business has less than 100 people). Sellers are unable to offer mass-produced products or products handmade by different artisans in the Amazon Handmade store”.
According to Amazon, Handmade aims to "bring the friendly experience, convenience, and value you love and trust about Amazon to the world of handmade items".
What's the difference between Amazon and Amazon Handmade?
So far, it might sound like Handmade at Amazon is its own separate entity – another marketplace you have to go to that’s separate from Amazon’s site – but it’s not.
Amazon Handmade is actually its own category of goods within Amazon’s regular marketplace, just like “Books” or “Amazon Pantry”.
This means that when a customer searches for products on Amazon it’s done within all the categories Amazon has, including the Handmade category.
If, however, the buyer chooses to search through just the Handmade category, then the search results will only show items within this category or any of the Handmade sub-categories.
Sell handmade goods online: Amazon Handmade vs Etsy
Naturally, Amazon Handmade draws comparisons with Etsy, which is the most well-known online marketplace for handmade goods.
In fact, Etsy is a long-standing favourite, establishing itself as the internet’s go-to handmade marketplaces 10 years before Amazon Handmade was launched.
That said, they are both excellent options if you want to sell handmade goods online, but for those of you looking for more of a comparison between both, let’s take a look at how else they differ:
On Etsy, handmade is seen as more of “a spectrum” than a black and white definition. To give you an idea of what I mean by this, “Handmade” on Etsy is defined as “being made or designed by a seller”, which means that sellers on Etsy are welcome to work with a production or manufacturing partner, but only providing that they disclose this information in their product listings.
Amazon Handmade, on the other hand, only allows “artisans” to sell under the Handmade marketplace. This means goods that are strictly handcrafted and not factory produced.
The shopping experience also differs between the two platforms.
To shop for handmade goods on Etsy, customers simply go to Etsy.com and begin browsing and shopping. There are also curated guides featured at the top of customer’s homepage showing recently viewed items, editor’s product choices, and recent buyer reviews.
Additionally, if you already know the name of the Etsy store you want to visit, you can just type: shopname.etsy.com or etsy.com/shop/shopname to get there, which is a benefit for any Etsy seller.
Amazon Handmade is a little more hidden away. You either need to go to the drop-down menu next to the Amazon search bar or go straight to Amazon.co.uk/handmade.
On the Handmade homepage, you can shop through the various curated collections on display, learn more about some of the “artisans” selling through Amazon Handmade, and explore “Interesting Finds” – so Amazon Handmade is like Etsy in that respect.
When hovering over any of the categories in Etsy, a drop-down menu will appear displaying more specific sections, so you can get a good “at-a-glance” idea of the variety of products available on the marketplace.
On Amazon Handmade, however, you need to click on your chosen category in order to be taken to that page. At this point, you can now filter further by more specific search criteria.
- Shipping and fulfilment
Some Amazon Handmade products are Prime-eligible - over 5,000 in fact - which means Prime members can order from the handmade section on Amazon and still receive their goods within the 2-day shipping window - good news for shoppers who need their goods as soon as possible.
This is because although these goods are sold by their respective vendors, they are fulfilled by Amazon - so any issues with shipping, returns, and replacements are dealt with by Amazon's customer service, not the individual seller.
Artisans selling through Amazon Handmade can also display a Prime badge as long as they can prove their ability to fulfil the order themselves within the 2-day window that Amazon Prime offers. If the Handmade seller does not offer Prime shipping, this typically means they handle selling and shipping themselves.
Etsy offers competitive shipping policies too. You can filter results on Etsy search by "Free shipping" and "Ready to ship in 1 business day", so customers who are pressed for time are well catered for. Otherwise, some goods can be shipped in a few weeks’ time. Shipping times are provided by Etsy sellers which means customers can calculate the exact shipping cost by scrolling to the bottom of a product page.
On Etsy, sellers can pick which payment methods they want to accept, so it’s common to see lots of different payment methods available in different shops. These payment methods include credit and debit cards, PayPal, gift cards, Apple and Android Pay, checks, or money order. There’s also the option to speak with the seller directly if you need to work out an alternative payment method.
When you order from Amazon Handmade, you pay the same way that you would with a regular Amazon order. Amazon accepts major credit and debit cards, checking accounts, gift cards, Amazon Pay, and eligible rewards program points as payment methods.
Etsy and Amazon Handmade offer a similar range of product categories. These are as follows:
So, which site is the best place to sell handmade items?
Honestly, both are excellent websites to sell handmade items, so the choice is yours - our advice would be to consider listing on both and use an inventory management software to ensure your stock isn’t oversold across the two platforms.
How to sell on Amazon Handmade
If you already sell with Amazon Handmade US, you are eligible to list your handmade products on all five of Amazon’s European marketplaces (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it and Amazon.es) without reapplying into Handmade.
If, however, you’re only just getting started, you will need to fill out this form.
Do keep in mind that you will need an Amazon account to sell handmade items on Amazon.
Register to sell on Amazon Handmade
Invited Artisans will receive an invitation email that includes a link to begin the registration process.
Once you have been accepted to sell on Amazon Handmade, you’ll receive an email explaining how to set up your account. Again, if you don’t already sell on Amazon you’ll need to set up a seller account at this point, and if you have an individual seller account, you’ll have to upgrade to a professional one to sell handmade items.
Create your Artisan Profile
Now it’s time to build your handcrafted store with your own custom URL to share your artisan story, showcase your work and connect with customers. You can head over to your seller page to find the link to do this.
Your Artisan Profile is essentially a store front, and it will be what you link your customers to so they can buy your products.
There are three sections within your artisan profile and it’s important that you fill them all out completely. Bear in mind you have no control over the text spacing on this page, so be careful not to write too much and end up with walls of text as this can be a little off putting.
You should also add some professional photos of your work space and your items and you can start to sell your crafts on Amazon.
Set up your products
Amazon’s simple listing tool will guide you through adding your handcrafted products to your store. Listings are free and never expire, and Amazon allows you to "copy" a listing once you have made it, which makes populating your store a lot easier If you have lots of similar items.
That’s all you need to do to start selling, but here are two helpful and extensive guides made by Amazon to help you through getting started and setting up your Artisan store:
Amazon Handmade fees
Although you will need a professional Amazon account to sell on Handmade at Amazon, the monthly £25 fee is waived for eligible Handmade at Amazon UK sellers and you pay only when you’ve made a sale. Keep in mind that this is only applicable for Handmade merchants selling less than 40 items per month in Amazon’s general catalogue.
So, what does it cost to sell on Amazon Handmade?
For all European sites – UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany, there is a standard 12% referral fee (commission rate) on all Amazon Handmade goods. For the US site, however, the referral fee is 15%.
If you're not already selling on Amazon, you can learn more about Amazon seller fees here.
Tips and best practices for selling on Handmade at Amazon
Now you’re all set up and ready to start selling, there are a few tips and best practices that can help you get the best possible experience as an Amazon Handmade retailer.
First of all, Amazon Handmade has a stricter vetting process to go through before they accept you as a seller. Every seller application is reviewed extensively, so if your items are mass produced Amazon are likely to find out.
Be creative with your Artisan Profile. Tell customers all about your journey as a crafts person, let them know what inspires you, share your product’s story and process. Although professional product photos are not mandatory, we recommend that your main product images are shot on a non-distracting background to clearly show the product details.
It’s also a good idea to add a picture of yourself - if you're comfortable with it - preferably while you’re in the process of making your products. It makes customers feel more comfortable to see you're a real person and really resonates with the whole “handmade” ethos.
Handmade at Amazon has about 250,000 products listed, while Etsy has over 30 million products listed. There’s much less competition on Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy so it’s definitely worth looking at as a marketplace if you sell handmade goods. Because Amazon Handmade is essentially another category of products on Amazon, your products will appear alongside other handmade items for customers to browse. This will give you a large amount of traffic simply from potential customers “window shopping” through Amazon search.
What this also means is that you’ll need to think very carefully about your keywords - especially in relation to your goods being artisan and handmade. If you already sell on Amazon you’ll know how keywords work, but if you don’t here’s a quick overview (you can also read our full guide on Amazon SEO here):
- Keywords are used in Amazon product titles to boost discoverability. They are also referred to ask “search terms”, “product keywords” and “backend keywords”.
- Products on Amazon can only be found via search if they contain all of the search terms a user enters in a search query - which means you need to optimise your keywords if you want your items to be found.
- Ensure your items are listed for as many keyword combinations as possible and do plenty of research on similar products so you can equip yours with lots of relevant search terms.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea. Bear these keywords in mind when you’re selling handmade goods - consider how people will be searching for handmade goods vs. mass produced goods, whether you want to appear in more generic searches or niche searches and so on because this will reflect your keyword strategy.
Find out more tips and guidance for growing your Amazon business, straight from the experts.
So, whether you’re thinking of selling on Amazon Handmade UK or are simply looking for new marketplaces to sell your handmade items on, hopefully this guide has answered some of your questions and given you some guidance on how to get up and running. As always, we’d love to hear your experience selling on Amazon Handmade in the comments below.