Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: Which is Better in 2023?
If you’re an artisan looking for the best online platform to sell your handmade products and connect with a community of other artists and consumers, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will examine two of the most popular e-commerce platforms for artisans and decide on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: which is better?
What Is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace best known for its vintage and unique handmade goods made and sold worldwide. The company began as a small shop in Brooklyn, New York, in 2005 but has since exploded into a global marketplace.
This popular e-commerce platform dominates the market with a recorded 7.5 million active sellers and 96.3 million buyers in 2021. But despite this tremendous growth, Etsy remains committed to being an eco-friendly and community-based alternative to mass-produced products.
Many people are drawn to Etsy over other e-commerce platforms because of its work to reduce greenhouse emissions and the Etsy Uplift Initiative, which promotes products made by sellers who identify as female, BIPOC, or queer.
But with all there is to love, is Etsy better than Amazon? Let’s examine the evidence.
What Can You Sell on Etsy?
One way sellers can get to the answer to their question, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?” is by reviewing what they can sell on both platforms.
As mentioned, Etsy is known for its vintage and handmade goods selection. However, that’s not all you can sell on the platform.
Items that can be sold on Etsy include:
- Handmade items
- Vintage items
- Craft supplies
- Services that produce a tangible item
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All items made by the seller must be created using original designs or include the names of other contributors in the About section of the shop. All creators must be listed along with photographs of the listed items. Under this category, items that are handmade but considered to be resold are prohibited.
To be considered vintage, items in the vintage category must be at least 20 years old. Items that are vintage-style or considered collectible but are less than 20 years old aren’t allowed to be sold under this category.
Craft and party supplies considered handmade or included ingredients, materials, or tools to create an item are permitted. These items can be either handmade, commercial, or vintage.
Pros of Selling on Etsy
- Easy sign-up process: Anyone who wants to start selling on the platform can with only a few clicks. This may give you a reason to consider, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?”
- User-friendly navigation: Listing and maintaining product listings is simple. You can easily upload product pictures, descriptions, and payment details to launch your listings. If you need any help, you have quick access to your Etsy Seller Handbook to help you navigate the webpage.
- Page analytics: The standard Seller plan provides a helpful Stats page to help you monitor your store’s traffic, including information about where visitors find your store. A paid plan is also available to customize the appearance of your store, along with additional tools for keeping your store updated.
- Low startup fees: Etsy prides itself on its 20-cent startup fees. Moreover, there are no additional monthly fees or required subscriptions to open your shop.
- Flexible advertising plans: Starting in 2022, the platform allows users to purchase on-site advertisements using a daily ad budget to “auction off” ad space or use off-site advertisements using a pay-per-click (PPC) model.
Cons of Selling on Etsy
- Dense competition: A high number of individuals selling handmade or vintage items makes it difficult to stand out among the crowd on the platform.
- Selling fees: Despite the low startup fee, listing fees recur every four months. This can be a drawback for some sellers because users still owe fees on listed items even if they don’t sell within four months. This can be expensive, even causing some users to lose money if they have many listings. This can be a drawback if you wonder, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?”
- Short-term listing: In addition to the recurring listing fees, sellers must renew their listings every four months.
- Lack of fulfillment services: Etsy provides sellers with printable labels for their items. But sellers are still responsible for printing, boxing, and shipping items. Unless they locate a third-party distributor, sellers control their shipping logistics.
How to Start an Etsy Shop
Before starting on Etsy, the first step is to ensure you can sell your products on the platform. This first step alone can help you determine an answer to the question, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?” depending on what you sell.
From here, you must sign in to or create an Etsy account to set up your shop or purchase items from other sellers. You want to include a short bio and a profile picture of yourself or your brand logo to let people know who you are.
To get paid from Etsy, your next step is to set up your billing and payment details. This is done by inputting your personal information and connecting to your bank account.
Etsy requires two-factor authentication to ensure you’re the only one logging into your account. This can be created using an authenticator app, or through text or phone calls every time you log in.
After that, you want to set up your storefront. But there are a few steps you need to take before you’re ready to start selling. This includes establishing production time, policies, shipping plans, and how you want to design your shop.
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Requirements for Starting Your Shop
Another way to answer the question, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?” is by comparing the requirements for starting your shop on either platform. On Etsy, this can be accomplished in nine easy steps.
- Create your Etsy account
- Set up your shop preferences
- Name your shop
- Create your listings
- Choose your payment preferences
- Set up your billing information
- Open your shop
- Create a bio and upload a photo
- Establish your shop policies
Etsy Shop Costs and Fees
As of December 1st, 2022, Etsy updated its fee policy. Various fees on the platform can help you answer the question, “Is Etsy better than Amazon?” regarding the cost of fees.
To start, listing fees total $0.20 for each item on their site. However, items already listed don’t require a new payment each time they’re back in stock. Every time the listing is renewed after four months, you must pay an additional $0.20. Additionally, you will be charged the listing fee regardless of whether it sells.
Advertising fees differ according to the plan that sellers choose. Etsy offers multiple services to help sellers advertise their listings and promote their shops. This works by selecting your daily maximum budget, with fees only being charged if the ads result in a sale.
Moreover, they don’t charge monthly fees unless you have a subscription service through the platform, such as for their Pattern tool, but they charge a 5% transaction fee and a 3%+ $0.25 credit card processing fee.
Paying fees on Etsy is simple. They automatically deduct the costs from your payment account. If sufficient funds are available, then no further action is needed. However, if funds are insufficient, you must pay for them within 15 days of the date of your monthly statement or risk other action.
Here’s how Etsy fees work based on a few sample products. The cost for shipping is included will be used in the transaction and processing fee calculation.
- $20 Candle: $2.05 total fees
- Listing Fee: $0.20
- Transaction Fee (5%): $1.00
- Credit Card Processing Fee (3% + $0.25): $0.60 + $0.25
- $50 Earrings: $4.45 total fees
- Listing Fee: $0.20
- Transaction Fee (5%): $2.50
- Credit Card Processing Fee (3% + $0.25) $1.50 + $0.25
- $75 Summer Dress: $6.20 total fees
- Listing Fee: $0.20
- Transaction Fee (5%): $3.50
- Credit Card Processing Fee (3% + $0.25): $2.25 + $0.25
- $100 Leather Handbag: $8.45 total fees
- Listing Fee: $0.20
- Transaction Fee (5%): $5.00
- Credit Card Processing Fee (3% + $0.25): $3.00 + $0.25
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What Is Amazon Handmade?
Continuing with our comparison of Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade, we’ll dive into the Amazon platform and how it works.
Amazon is the leading online retailer in the U.S., with over 213 million people viewing the site alone. That comes out to more than half of the country’s population visiting the site at least once a month. This volume of online traffic helps artisans worldwide reach their audiences.
Amazon Handmade was started in 2015, which was 10 years after Etsy and almost two decades after Amazon.com was launched. Since then, this microsite has allowed small businesses that sell handcrafted goods to tap into the mainstream market.
Although Amazon doesn’t publicly announce the platform’s total sales or the number of sellers using Amazon Handmade, the company reported that over 100 sellers make more than $1 million in annual sales.
Despite Amazon being a household name, is Amazon better than Etsy? Learn more about Amazon Handmade below to compare the two platforms accurately.
What Can You Sell on Amazon Handmade?
Everything on Amazon Handmade must be handmade, hand-altered, or hand-assembled by sellers. However, if you’re interested in selling mass-produced items, you can sell items on Amazon Marketplace.
To answer the question, “Is Amazon better than Etsy?” it’s necessary to look at the items you can sell on the platform.
Examples of products sold on Amazon Handmade include:
- Baby products
- Beauty and personal care items
- Home furnishings and decor
- Pet supplies
- Toys and games
- And much more!
Pros of Selling on Amazon Handmade
- Customer reach: As of April 2021, Amazon is the fifth most visited website in the U.S. Moreover, Amazon Handmade is integrated into Amazon Marketplace, helping sellers easily reach a global audience. You can also optimize your listings to help the right customers find you faster.
- No listing fees: One reason you may ask, “Is Amazon better than Etsy?” is the lack of listing fees. This means sellers only pay for product listings if they finalize a sale.
- Accessible customer service: If you run into a problem with an order, sellers can quickly contact Amazon for help. Amazon also provides a straightforward shipping process.
- Complimentary professional plan: Amazon Handmade offers individual and professional plans. The professional plan is available for $39.99 per month, including selling fees. Sellers who are approved for this plan receive additional free perks.
- Long-term listing: Unlike Etsy, Amazon Homemade allows sellers to keep their listings up. They don’t expire, so you don’t have to worry about renewing them periodically.
Cons of Selling on Amazon Handmade
- Time-consuming listing process: Getting products listed on Amazon can take weeks or months because the company thoroughly reviews products before they can be listed on the platform.
- Unfriendly interface: Navigating the Seller Dashboard can be difficult, especially for new users. You may want to get familiar with the interface before completing your listings.
- Competition: Besides competing with sellers offering similar items, you also compete with in-house brands sold alongside your store.
- Selling fees: Amazon charges a 15% selling fee, much higher than other marketplaces. This may cause you to wonder, “Is Amazon better than Etsy?”
- Limited listing categories: Only 14 categories leave you with limited listing options.
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How to Sign-Up for Amazon Handmade
Another way to find the answer to the question, “Is Amazon better than Etsy?” is by reviewing the sign-up process. Despite its relation to the Amazon Marketplace, the Amazon Handmade platform works differently for sellers.
To start selling on Amazon Handmade, you must create a Seller account. This includes filling out and submitting an application. This online document contains questions regarding your business and the items you intend to sell to ensure you’re a qualified Handmade seller.
You also need to decide how you would like to fulfill your orders. You can use Amazon’s Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) with Amazon Homemade. You can ship your products to an Amazon warehouse to make them Prime-eligible. This also means Amazon will pack and ship the received order for you.
On the other hand, you can ship your orders yourself, either from your place of business or a warehouse of your choice, through the Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBA) option.
You must also follow the rules and terms of service shared by Amazon and Amazon Handmade. These rules include the following:
- Not contacting customers outside of Amazon’s proprietary messaging service.
- Only messaging customers about customer service-related topics. Exchanges for marketing purposes are prohibited.
- Only using customer information to fulfill orders.
- Not using promotional material in shipments.
Any sellers that violate these terms will be banned from the Amazon Handmade platform.
Requirements for Starting Your Shop
One of the deciding factors between using Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade is the requirements for starting a shop on both platforms.
The main requirement for artisans to sell their products on Amazon Handmade is that the listed items are genuinely handmade.
What’s different from creating an account on Amazon Marketplace is that sellers must follow a strict application process to root out individuals attempting to sell mass-produced items.
To begin selling on the platform, products must fall under one of these three categories, which fall under Amazon’s definition of handmade.
- Your products are entirely made by hand.
- Your products have been altered to a new design. For instance, you can sell a pair of shoes that you didn’t manufacture if you sell them with hand-painted designs.
- Your products are customized or personalized. For instance, towels that include hand embroidery or a printed monogram.
In addition to these requirements, your company must:
- have less than 20 employees
- not sell digital products, electronics, or food
- not outsource any part of the production
- not resell products from a third party
- not mass-produce items
- not dropship on Amazon
When determining “Is Amazon better than Etsy?” you should consider the strict guidelines that aren’t shared with other competing platforms.
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Amazon Handmade Costs and Fees
If you want to know, “Is Amazon better than Etsy?” comparing the costs and fees is essential. Depending on the rates, they can make it harder for you to profit by using one of the platforms.
Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge listing fees. This is helpful, especially for new sellers struggling to get their names out there.
As for advertising fees, a professional selling plan can help users for $39.99. This is a monthly subscription, but it isn’t necessary to start selling. But once you start selling, Amazon Handmade will deduct a 15% referral fee for each purchase.
However, one of the most significant drawbacks is the 15% selling fee to the total sale price. This is a lot compared to the estimated 10% from Etsy. This can make a massive dent in your profits if you’re a new seller who isn’t making much on their products.
Here’s how Amazon Handmade fees work based on the same products used above (not counting fees for the professional plan).
- $20 Candle: $3 total fees
- Referral Fee (15%): $3
- $50 Earrings: $7.50 total fees
- Referral Fee (15%): $7.50
- $75 Summer Dress: $11.25 total fees
- Referral Fee (15%): $11.25
- $100 Leather Handbag: $15 total fees
- Referral Fee (15%): $15
While superior advertising and reach may benefit Amazon Handmade users, its base fees are more expensive than Etsy’s.
Selling on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade
Deciding between Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade might not be a clear-cut choice. Both platforms are designed to help small business owners create a secure online store to earn money and share their products globally.
Neither platform requires sellers to have a background in business or coding, making it easy for anyone with a passion and a product to make money. Their most significant differences are their fees, support services, and ease of starting up.
Below is more information on both platforms to help you decide which is best regarding Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade.
Support for Sellers on Both Platforms
Regarding seller support, Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade is very similar.
You can connect with customer service on Etsy if you have an Etsy account. If you’re a seller on the platform, this isn’t a problem. The easiest way to contact support is through chat or e-mail. Either method will get you in touch with Etsy’s online Help Center.
Amazon Handmade provides new sellers in the U.S. with free 12-month 1:1 onboarding support from Amazon’s account managers. Or you can even connect with a designated account manager to help you scale your business using Strategic Account Services (SAS).
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Advertising Tools on Both Platforms
Another component to look at when deciding between Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade is the advertising tools.
Sellers can advertise on Etsy by using the platform’s social media tool. This allows users to expand their business and keep loyal customers in the loop.
This tool lets sellers quickly update their social media platforms with store announcements, new listings, and more from their computers or mobile phones.
There are also a variety of marketing tools sellers on Etsy can pay for.
On the other hand, Amazon Handmade provides a pay-per-click tool to help sellers use Amazon Ads from one platform.
Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: Which Is Better?
Finally comes the answer to which e-commerce platform is better, Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade. However, as stated, there isn’t one correct answer for everyone.
Both platforms differ in scale, demographics, and core features. But they’re both helpful for artisans looking to establish their brand online.
If you’re still unsure which is right for you, looking at the math, your target audience, and business model should help you determine which platform is best for your goals.
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