Artists and small businesses that want to start selling handmade products in 2023 have one main debate – Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy. If this is you, you’ve landed in the right place.
Both Amazon Handmade and Etsy are established marketplaces with years of history behind them. But, like every other service, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses.
Is Etsy better than Amazon? Or the other way around? How does Amazon Handmade work? What does it cost to sell on Amazon Handmade and what does it cost to sell on Etsy?
Let’s dive in and learn!
Overview of Amazon Handmade and Etsy
Selling handmade items on Amazon Handmade or Etsy can be confusing at first, especially if you’ve never used the platforms before.
Both share many similarities such as their orientation to handmade and handcrafted products and their global reach, but they also have many differences. Finding the one that suits your business needs more is crucial for financial success.
What Is Amazon Handmade?
Amazon is the largest marketplace worldwide, and in 2015, it launched its sister company – Amazon Handmade – a platform for artisan, homemade, and handcrafted items.
For the average Amazon buyer, purchasing from Amazon Handmade is just like the regular Amazon marketplace. However, for Amazon Handmade sellers, the backend process is a bit different.
How to Sell on Amazon Handmade?
Selling on Amazon Handmade might be a bit complicated if you’re completely new to this, mostly due to a complicated application process.
Follow these steps:
- Complete the Amazon Handmade application to register as an artisan.
- Sign up for a Seller Central account.
- Wait to get approved (it can be a lengthy process that takes weeks or even months).
- Add your product listings after approval.
- Start promoting and selling.
- Fulfill the orders using Amazon FBA or Amazon FBM.
What Is Etsy?
Founded in 2005, Etsy is a marketplace specialized in vintage, handcrafted, and artisan products.
According to a 2021 Statista report, there are about 7.5 million active Etsy sellers and over 96 million active buyers worldwide. When people want to buy unique and handcrafted gifts, Etsy is the first marketplace of choice.
So, although Etsy’s customer base is much smaller than that of Amazon Handmade, it has a much more targeted audience. Etsy’s audience is searching for handcrafted items only, while Amazon’s audience of 300 million is more general.
How to Sell on Etsy?
Selling on Etsy and launching an Etsy shop is much simpler and faster than Amazon Handmade.
Here are the steps to follow if you want to build your first Etsy store:
- Register for an Etsy account (no need for an application process and waiting for approval).
- Choose the language, location, currency, etc.
- Name your new Etsy store.
- Create your product listings and publish them.
- Set up your payment methods and billing information.
- Customize your Etsy store and start selling.
- Fulfill the orders using Etsy’s partners (FedEx, USPS, Canada Post, etc.) or FBA.
Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon Handmade
Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of selling on Amazon Handmade:
- A vast customer base and exposure (300 million customers)
- Lower rates when using FBA for order fulfillment
- Free product listings that don’t expire
- A lengthy application process
- Longer payment processing time
- Fewer product categories (14)
- Less user-friendly dashboard
- Generally more expensive to use than Etsy
- Cannot sell digital products or downloads
Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy
Here are all the pros and cons of selling on Etsy:
- Simpler registration (no need for application and waiting for approval)
- Fast product listing
- Great website design and usability
- Easy-to-use and beginner-friendly dashboard
- Generally cheaper than Amazon Handmade
- More product categories to choose from (160)
- Allows selling of digital products (design downloads and similar)
- There are listing fees of $0.20 per listing.
- Product listings expire after four months.
- A smaller customer base (96 million as opposed to Amazon’s 300 million)
- Sellers are responsible for order fulfillment and shipping.
Feature Comparison: Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy
Next, we will go over all of the individual features of both Amazon Handmade and Etsy, and see who wins in each category.
Registration and Sign-Up
First, we have the sign-up and registration process and here, Etsy is the clear winner. On Etsy, you simply register, add your listings, and voila – you have a store.
On the other hand, to sell on Amazon Handmade, you have to go through a lengthy application process and wait for approval. This can often take weeks or even months.
Unless you decide to upgrade to Etsy Plus, registering on Etsy and building your own Etsy store is completely free, without any subscription fees.
To sell on Amazon Handmade, you have to register as an Amazon Professional Seller, which costs $39.99 per month.
Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge a fee for listings and their listings never expire. However, they charge a 15% transaction fee for every sale.
On the other hand, your Etsy fees will include $0.20 for each listing, and your listings will expire in four months. However, Etsy charges a smaller transaction fee of just 5% per sale.
All things considered, the Amazon Handmade fees are higher than Etsy fees.
Both Etsy and Amazon Handmade will charge you a transaction fee on your shipping cost.
That’s why many sellers prefer adding the shipping price to the main product price and selling the product with “free shipping”.
When it comes to processing payments, Etsy is much faster. When a customer buys your Etsy product, the funds get transferred to you right away.
With Amazon Handmade, payment is released only after shipment. In some cases, this payment processing can last up to 24 days for just one transaction.
On the subject of payment gateways, Etsy has Etsy Payments, while Amazon Handmade has Amazon Pay. Both services charge payment processing fees.
Order Fulfillment and Shipping
Winner: Amazon Handmade
When you sell on Amazon Handmade, you can use their Fulfillment By Amazon aka. Amazon FBA. Alternatively, you can choose FBM (Fulfillment By Merchant) and take care of your own shipping.
Etsy doesn’t have an order fulfillment service so Etsy sellers have to take care of order fulfillment and shipping on their own. However, the marketplace collaborates with many shipping providers such as USPS, FedEx, and Canada Post.
Note that dealing with fulfillment on your own entails understanding shipping Incoterms and choosing the best one for your needs.
Customer Base and Reach
Winner: Amazon Handmade
Amazon Handmade is a sister company of the giant Amazon. As a result, Amazon Handmade sellers can tap into a vast base of 300 million customers.
Etsy, on the other hand, has a customer base of 96 million.
However, note that Amazon Handmade is still not as popular as Etsy when it comes to artisan products. So, most handcraft fans will still check Etsy first. In a way, we can say that Etsy has a smaller but much more narrowly targeted audience.
On Etsy, you can use onsite and offsite ads, depending on your needs. Onsite ads will charge you each time someone clicks on them (pay-per-click).
Offsite ads are automatically placed by Etsy for sellers that surpass $10,000 per year (below this amount, you can opt-out of off-site ads). They take a higher percentage of your transaction amount for sales that come from their off-site ads.
Amazon Handmade also allows you to advertise and boost product listings to show up in front of your competition for a certain keyword. Very similar to how Google Ads works.
On Etsy, you can sell products that belong to 160 different categories, while Amazon Handmade only offers 14. Unfortunately, if your product doesn’t belong in one of these 14 categories, you’ll have a hard time listing it.
Additionally, on Etsy, you can also sell digital products and downloads, which you cannot do on Amazon Handmade.
Amazon Handmade’s product categories:
- Beauty and Personal Care
- Shoes and Handbags
- Outdoor and Home Care
- Jewelry and Watches
- Kitchen and Dining
- Pet Supplies
- Sporting Goods
- Stationery and Party Supplies
- Toys and Games
Etsy’s 160 product categories can be grouped into 15 larger categories:
- Art and Collectibles
- Bags and Purses
- Bath and Beauty
- Books, Films, and Music
- Craft Supplies and Tools
- Electronics and Accessories
- Home and Living
- Paper and Party Supplies
- Pet Supplies
- Toys and Games
Etsy allows your product to be manufactured with the help of partners orthird-party suppliers, as long as you disclose this info.
Amazon Handmade, on the other hand, requires that you actually hand-make or assemble the product by yourself or by your company with no more than 20 employees.
Both platforms strive to sell local and handcrafted items and don’t allow mass-production.
Winner: Amazon Handmade
Amazon is an eCommerce mogul, so it’s not a surprise that their client and customer service is on a higher level than Etsy.
To get Etsy’s support, you have to engage in email correspondence. On the other hand, Amazon’s customer support accepts phone calls – making it much easier and faster to resolve an issue as soon as it arises.
Side-by-Side Table Comparison: Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy
Let’s look at all these features in a table to help us visually comprehend the differences between these two marketplaces:
|Registration and Sign-Up||lengthy application process and approval||no application needed, only sign up|
|Selling Fees||15% referral fee, free listings||5% transaction fee, $0.20 per listing|
|Payment Processing||immediate||after shipping, up to 24 days|
|Order Fulfillment and Shipping||FBA or FBM||sellers deal with fulfillment|
|Customer Base and Reach||high||low|
|Advertising||PPC||onsite ads, offsite ads|
|Product Manufacturing||handmade products (self-made) or with the help of max. 20 staff members||handmade, craft supplies, or vintage (must disclose production partners)|
|Customer Support||email, phone, 24/7 chat support|
Which One Is Right for You: Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy
There is no wrong or right answer here. Both platforms have their pros and cons and are more suitable for some needs and less for others. So, you need to consider which platform fits your business needs the most. Let’s see:
If you want an easy setup and a fast start…
Choose Etsy. Amazon Handmade has a lengthier application process and vetting, so it might take weeks or even months to get approved.
If you want more reach and exposure for less effort…
Choose Amazon Handmade. They simply have a larger audience you can tap into and take advantage of. Don’t forget that selling on Amazon Handmade means you can reach Amazon Prime buyers!
If you want to outsource and scale your production…
Choose Etsy. Amazon Handmade doesn’t allow large-scale manufacturing. Etsy just needs you to disclose your partners.
If you want to sell digital products or designs…
Choose Etsy. Amazon Handmade doesn’t allow digital product downloads and sales.
If you want a cheaper option…
Choose Etsy. All things considered, Etsy is still the cheaper option. Even considering the listing fees, selling on Etsy is still more cost-efficient.
If you’re a new seller…
Choose Etsy. It has a much simpler backend and a user-friendly dashboard.
If you’re an experienced seller…
Choose Amazon Handmade. It will give you much more exposure and help you place the product in front of a lot of eyes. On top of that, Amazon Prime users can be gold for your business.
FAQs about Amazon Handmade and Etsy
Last but not least, let’s make sure we answer all your frequently asked questions on the subject of Amazon Handmade and Etsy.
Are All Items on Etsy Handmade?
Every single item listed and sold on Etsy has to belong in one of these three categories:
- Handmade – made or designed by you (the Etsy seller) or with the help of a disclosed production partner (such as POD services);
- Vintage – products that are older than 20 years;
- Craft supplies – party supplies and other tools or materials needed for creating another product;
Note that reselling and dropshipping are forbidden in the handmade Etsy category.
Another product type you can sell on Etsy, but not on Amazon Handmade are digital products, designs, and digital downloads. Amazon Handmade allows only physical products.
What Are Some Marketplaces Similar to Etsy and Amazon Handmade?
Some marketplaces similar to Etsy and Amazon Handmade are:
- Ruby Lane
- Aftcra (US market only)
- Folksy (UK market only)
How to Close My Amazon Handmade Account?
Before leaving Amazon Handmade, you need to make sure that all your open orders are either fulfilled or canceled. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to close your account.
Once you’ve fulfilled all outstanding orders, follow these steps:
- Go to My Services.
- Find the “Handmade at Amazon” section.
- Click on “Want to cancel your Handmade at Amazon account?”.
- Choose your reason for removing Amazon Handmade.
- Click on “Remove Handmade”.
And, you’re done! Your Amazon Handmade account will be closed.
How to Close My Etsy Account?
To close your Etsy account, follow these steps:
- Go to Etsy.com and sign in.
- Go to “You” and click on “Account settings”.
- Scroll and find the “Close Your Account” section.
- Choose a reason for leaving Etsy.
- Click on “Close Account”.
That’s it – your account will be closed.
If you want to permanently delete your Etsy account, you can do that by going to your Privacy settings, finding the “Permanently close and delete your Etsy account” section, and clicking “Begin the process”.
Does Amazon Own Etsy?
No. Amazon owns Amazon Handmade. Etsy is an independent US company and marketplace formed in 2005. Etsy has no links to Amazon or Amazon Handmade.
Can I Sell on Etsy and Fulfill Orders with FBA?
Yes. You don’t have to sell on Amazon Handmade to use Amazon’s FBA service. However, Amazon sellers that use FBA for fulfillment enjoy more discounts than Etsy sellers using FBA.
Both Amazon Handmade and Etsy are trustworthy and established marketplaces where artisans and craftspeople can sell their products.
Although Etsy might seem more complicated due to the lack of fulfillment options, you should know that FBA isn’t your only choice. Niche regularly helps Etsy sellers and those selling on Amazon Handmade to store and fulfill their orders. Additionally, we offer a free sourcing quote if you need any craft supplies from China.
Hopefully, this comparison guide of Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy has helped you make the best choice for your small business.