The eCommerce world has changed the way people earn money, and of course, shop. For creative people, selling handmade products has become much easier because of platforms like Amazon Handmade and Etsy.
However, Amazon Handmade and Etsy have significant differences and therefore, selecting the right platform is important if you want to succeed.
If you want to start an online business selling handmade items, this Amazon Handmade vs Etsy comparison will help you to understand the core differences between the two. You can then select the platform that suits you the best.
- Amazon is the 5th most-visited website in the United States. Because Amazon Handmade is integrated with the Amazon online marketplace, Amazon Handmade sellers enjoy a massive potential reach for their handmade products.
- The platform offers a free listing of your handmade goods.
- Approved Amazon Handmade sellers don’t need to pay for the Professional selling plan but still enjoy the perks.
- Advanced SEO is not required to get more sales.
- Offers to promote the products you sell on Amazon Handmade using Amazon Ads on both the Amazon platform and outside the platform.
- Though a smaller audience, Etsy offers focused customers looking for handmade and vintage items.
- Etsy offers a super-easy registration process. You can make your Etsy shop live in just a few clicks.
- Product listing is also incredibly fast and it takes under 5 minutes to list your products on the Etsy marketplace.
- Sellers can buy offsite and onsite ads through Etsy’s auto-bidding system to promote your products.
- Etsy offers strong analytics and reporting features for both its Standard and Plus plans.
- Sign up process
- Listing fees & other charges
- Design & usability
- Inventory management
- Shipping & order fulfillment
- Customer support
Amazon launched Amazon Handmade in 2015. It is a sister microsite of Amazon.com. Though artisans list and sell handmade items through this microsite, the products can be searched from the Amazon marketplace which gives access to 300 million active buyers globally.
Etsy’s market share is much smaller. Etsy sellers get access to 50 million global buyers interested in purchasing handmade arts, craft supplies, and vintage items.
Etsy was founded back in 2005, and unlike Amazon’s marketplace that sells everything, this platform sells handmade and vintage goods only.
Winner: Amazon Handmade because of a larger market share.Get Started with Amazon Handmade
JungleScout reports that most of the Amazon sellers are millennials with 62% of them having full-time or part-time jobs outside of Amazon. Two-thirds of the sellers on Amazon are males while one-third are females.
This gender distribution is true even for the handmade business model which is the least popular business model with only 8% popularity. Compared to this, the private label business model has 59% popularity, wholesale has 26%, retail & online arbitrage has 26%, and dropshipping has 10% popularity.
Similar Web reports that about 60% of Amazon’s visitors are females and 40% are males.
Techpenny reports that a whopping 86% of the sellers on Etsy in 2015 were females and the rest were men. Going forward, this distribution did not change much.
What’s interesting is that the sellers on Etsy, whether females or males, usually target female customers who make up 81% of the total customer base of the platform. This is evident from the feminine design elements of most of the products sold through the platform.
Not enough data is available for recent years.
Winner: Etsy wins if you are targeting female customers.Get Started with Etsy
To become an Amazon Handmade seller, you must first sign up for an Amazon Seller Central account where you must provide your personal and banking information.
Additionally, Amazon will also ask for your tax information, a phone number, an internationally accepted credit card, and an ID issued by the government.
Also, you must have a Professional selling plan in place that will cost $39.99 a month. Once you have a seller account, you will have to apply for an Amazon Handmade account by filling out the artisan application form. This application process will take weeks, and at times, months.
Etsy’s signup process is far simpler. To get your Etsy store, you need to sign up using email. You can even use your Facebook or Google account to register your Etsy account. There is no application process.
You’ll need to provide your personal and banking information and that’s all. Once you complete the process, you can proceed to create your Etsy shop.
Winner: Etsy because of its simpler signup process.Get Started with Etsy
Amazon Handmade will not charge a listing fee for your handmade products on its online marketplace.
Also, there is no expiration date for the listing. It will stay listed unless you decide to take it down.
Unfortunately for sellers, Amazon will charge selling fees. Amazon Handmade charges a flat 15% commission for every product you sell. Additionally, there is a $1 referral fee (minimum).
Plus, if you are using Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), there will be additional charges that include shipping fees and storage fees.
The good thing, however, is that the transaction fees are applied to the shipping fees.
The $1 referral fee that Amazon will charge will be applicable only if you have registered for the Professional selling plan that costs $39.99 a month. However, this monthly fee is waived for approved applicants after the first month.
There are a variety of Etsy fees. Though opening an Etsy store is free, you must pay 20 cents for each item you list. Listings will stay active for 4 months after which you must relist the item and pay again.
In case you have multiple quantities of the same listing, Etsy will charge a renewal fee of 20 cents after each one sells.
Etsy also charges 6.5% transaction fees on the total value of the product sold. Plus, there will be gift wrapping and shipping costs.
There is a payment processing fee, too, in addition to the transaction fee and listing fee. The payment processing fee, if you are using Etsy Payments, varies for different countries, but it is usually a certain percentage of the total sale price plus a flat fee per order. You can find country-wise breakups here.
If you use Etsy Pattern to build a custom website, there will be subscription fees. You need to pay $15 a month after 30 days of a free trial.
Winner: Etsy because despite its various charges, selling fees are still cheaper compared to Amazon.Get Started with Etsy
Amazon Handmade has a user-friendly design and an easy-to-use dashboard. The online store appears well-designed and customers can use the easy search function to find handmade items.
Listing your custom products is also simple. You can use numbered fields, custom prices, descriptions, shipping options, etc. to quickly list your handmade products.
The Etsy platform also offers a similar user-friendly design. The front store appears well-designed for customers who can use the available search function to find the handmade goods they need.
The listing procedure is also similar and you can use numbered fields, custom prices, descriptions, shipping options, etc. to list your handmade arts and crafts.
With Etsy, you can use Pattern to create a custom website with all products synced between your own site and the Etsy store. There is a shop manager available that you can use to manage both your store and website from a single place.
Winner: Etsy because it allows the creation of custom websites.Get Started with Etsy
Amazon allows inventory management through Seller Central. You can add new products, edit a listing, or even add a store template right from Seller Central.
Excel-based mass import for product listing is possible and Amazon offers unique templates for different product categories. However, unless you are confident using Excel, I will recommend listing products individually.
Etsy also has simple inventory management that you can access from Listings on the right navigation. To edit any listing, just click on it and start editing.
The inventory management center will also allow you to add new product listings and publish them.
Winner: It’s a tie!Get Started with Amazon Handmade Get Started with Etsy
You can use Amazon FBA and let Amazon handle shipping and order fulfillment while you focus on selling on Amazon Handmade.
With FBA, Amazon will take care of packaging, warehousing, shipping, returns, and customer care.
Etsy sellers are responsible for shipping and order fulfillment. You can use Etsy Shipping Labels to save up to 30% on shipping by designing shipping labels directly on the Etsy site.
Most Etsy sellers do not offer free shipping unless customers reach a certain price threshold, and hence, they often use third-party services.
Winner: Amazon Handmade because it offers FBA.Get Started with Amazon Handmade
With Amazon, you can promote your handcrafted items as sponsored products. However, you can also allow Amazon to display your ads outside Amazon’s platform.
You are free to set your advertising budget and track key metrics and indicators that matter the most. Both CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPM (Cost Per Mile) models are available.
Etsy has both Onsite and Offsite Ads. With Onsite Ads, your products will show up along with organic search results on Etsy. You will pay for Onsite Ads only when someone clicks on them.
For Offsite Ads (ads outside the Etsy platform), Etsy will charge only when a product sells. For shops with annual revenue of less than $10,000, Etsy charges 15%. For those with $10,000+ annual revenue, Etsy charges 12%.
Winner: It is a tie! Both platforms offer robust promotional tools.Get Started with Amazon Handmade Get Started with Etsy
Amazon offers support through live chat, email, and phone. They also have an extensive knowledge base. There is a forum, too, where you can find help from Amazon sellers.
Etsy, too, offers live chat, email, and phone support in addition to an extensive knowledge base. They also have a forum where you can find help from Etsy sellers.
Winner: It’s a tie! Both platforms have multiple customer support channelsGet Started with Amazon Handmade Get Started with Etsy
- Create an Amazon Seller account on Seller Central.
- Apply for Amazon Handmade.
- Add listings after approval and start selling.
- Promote to improve your sales.
- Signup for an Etsy account and set location, currency, language, etc.
- Provide a title for your Etsy store.
- Add products for listing and publish them.
- Provide payment method and billing info.
- Customize the shop, promote products, and start selling.
On Amazon Handmade, you can sell genuinely handmade products. Also, you must own the copyright of the products. There are only 14 categories in the Handmade department. You can check the available categories here (FAQ segment).
Etsy allows selling in over 160 categories and allows handmade items (such as handmade jewelry), vintage products, pet supplies, craft supplies, party supplies, etc.
Amazon Handmade will release payments only after the products have been shipped and it can take up to 24 days for a single transaction, making the payment process lengthy. Amazon makes a direct deposit into the seller’s bank account.
Etsy will release payments as soon as Etsy customers purchase something. This allows artisans to reinvest quickly. Etsy processes payments through Etsy accounts, mail, or PayPal.
Both Amazon Handmade and Etsy are great online marketplaces to sell handmade items.
However, as a solopreneur trying to create a brand identity in the handmade market, I recommend starting with Etsy as your preferred platform for selling handmade items.
Although Amazon will give you access to a bigger market of international buyers, it comes at a cost of controlling your customer data.
With Etsy, you’ll get better access to customer data that can help you with remarketing and building a loyal customer base. Plus you get paid far quicker meaning you can reinvest into your products or promotional strategies.
If you’d like to learn more about the Amazon FBA program, check out my post on how my husband & I built a 7 figure Amazon FBA business with just one product!
For now, no matter which platform you choose, just get started. Sign up for an Amazon Handmade or Etsy account today and list your products. The faster you get going, the faster you can make sales and diversify across both the platforms!
Good luck!Get Started with Amazon Handmade Get Started with Etsy