Expert parcel price comparison site ParcelHero says users of the artisan marketplace Etsy should prepare for the imminent launch of Amazon’s rival Handmade service, possibly as early as mid-September. ParcelHero’s Head of Public Relations, David Jinks MILT, says ‘Amazon is a self-confessed industry disruptor, and having conquered the mass e-commerce market it now has online cottage industries in its sights.’
Explains David: ‘The launch of Amazon’s Handmade is crafty in every sense of the word. It will provide a shop window for artists, artisans and small companies who make handcrafted goods such as jewellery and furniture; and is also enables Amazon to move in on this potentially lucrative area, currently dominated by Etsy.’
David explains: ‘Amazon has been knitting together the launch of its new Handmade site for some months, and has already invited many craftspeople and artisan businesses to join. Industry speculation is rife that the site could open as early as mid-September in the USA. Amazon is moving in on Etsy just as it is losing some of its hand-polished shine. Etsy launched in 2005 and now has about 1.4 million active sellers and 20.8 million active buyers; however it went public in April, a move not supported by all of the sites’ existing artisan traders, and has reported a loss for the quarter ended June 30 of $6.35 million, trading over a dollar below their IPO price of $16 a share.’
David says many of ParcelHero’s customers are marketplace traders who need to send their items cost effectively and securely. ‘We’re advising our artisan traders to keep an open mind. Each site has its pros and cons. Etsy has a low fee structure, charging only a 3.5% commission and a flat 20 cent listing fee. Amazon will charge Handmade sellers a 12% referral fee and waive its usual $39.99 monthly sellers’ fee for the first year. That’s a significantly higher cost than Etsy’s. Why would small scale craftsmen and women opt for Handmade? Because Amazon reaches a far wider market, with an estimated 244 million active users worldwide, and provides a wealth of options to support small scale businesses.’
Though Handmade is being crafted for a possible September launch in the US, Chris Poad, boss of the UK Amazon Marketplace business, told Retail Week this May that it is early days for a UK launch, but ‘clearly there is customer demand for unique one-off hand-made products’.
David concludes with a word of warning: ‘Sellers need to be careful of opting for any marketplace site’s own shipping options without considering the cost carefully. ParcelHero finds the best prices with quality couriers; so simply handing over control of your deliveries to your marketplace’s fulfilment centre may not be the most suitable choice. There may be better prices for traders available; and when dealing with one-off items, the securest choice is to go with a respected shipper who you know.’