Tuesday, July 16

Amazon Rivaling Etsy with New Marketplace for Handcrafted Goods

online shoppingAmazon has evolved by leaps and bounds since its humble beginnings as an online bookstore, and it is now helping small business owners who create handcrafted items to reach more customers.

According to local Florida news affiliate WFLA, Amazon’s Handmade, an online marketplace for crafts and trinkets, is helping many entrepreneurs to gain national brand exposure.

Laura Glover of Tampa Bay, FL is the owner of Burlap and Boards, a shop that turns discarded wood pallets into masterpieces. She chose to list her shop on Handmade because of Amazon’s built-in following and high domain authority.

“You have the brand power of Amazon and also the great searchability,” said Glover. “It’s all about getting your name out there, I have neighbors that don’t even know I do this in my driveway.”

About 25% of small businesses fail after their first year, and landing a whale like Amazon to develop a positive reputation among consumers is helping people like Glover to survive the initial uncertainty of a new business venture.

While Amazon adds small businesses to Handmade on an invite-only basis, the companies that do get accepted to the online marketplace usually experience a drastic uptick in sales all over the country.

“It’s great, and it puts you out nationally. I can ship things all the way to Hawaii and Alaska,” Glover added.

According to TheStreet.com, however, not everyone is excited about Handmade’s success. Etsy, which is widely regarded as the first online marketplace for handcrafted goods, is now being forced to compete with one of the largest retail corporations in the world.

Despite this undesired rivalry, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson believes that his website stands on its own and is still the preferred option for small business owners selling handmade products.

“We know our sellers extremely, extremely well,” said Dickerson. “We’ve been working with them for a decade, and we believe that Etsy is the best platform for them to be creative entrepreneurs and build businesses on their own terms.

“We also know that half of our sellers sell in multiple venues, and that Etsy is the primary source of income for those sellers who sell in multiple venues,” Dickerson added.

Many sellers who support Etsy are echoing Dickerson’s statements, and some entrepreneurs using both websites have become frustrated with Handmade’s preferential treatment towards big-name sellers.

Amazon recently featured Martha Stewart’s products on the marketplace, and one seller noted that Stewart’s items are “getting prime search spots for all categories.”

Etsy suffered a major blow to its shareholder prices after an initially lucrative IPO, and many link the stock’s decline to Handmade’s success. However, it remains to be seen how the two will coexist moving forward.

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