One of the most exciting things about being a handmade artist today is all of the different options we have when deciding where to sell our products and creations. If you’ve been wondering about the pros and cons of selling on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade, you are in the right place. I have sold for many years and continue to sell my own products on both of these platforms. And there are some major differences that you need to understand as you choose where to sell and what to expect as a seller.
Etsy for online sellers
Let’s start with Etsy since many people start with this platform. Etsy started back in 2005 as a place to give handmade artists and artisans a place to sell their unique items. They currently have over 2 million active sellers and 35 million active buyers. And those buyers are used to buying handmade or vintage items. Etsy is billing itself as the destination for unique and handmade items.
What are the pros for selling on Etsy?
1. User friendly- Etsy as a platform is very user friendly. The process and method to list your items makes sense. It’s actually fairly easy to list a product even if you’ve never done anything like that before. Managing the dashboard isn’t too confusing. It’s fairly simple to do all the things you need to do as a seller with Etsy. There may be a slight learning curve, but it’s very user focused. 2. Listing speed for products- Another major pro for selling on Etsy is how quickly you can list a product. It is really fast once you know what you are doing. Seriously, I can list a product in under 5-10 minutes if i have my pictures ready and my SEO terms researched. That is the top benefit for me for with Etsy. Sellers are busy, and knowing that you can sit down and list 5-10 new products in a couple of hours maximum is a big bonus. Time is money.
What are the cons for selling on Etsy?
1. Brand awareness- I don’t feel like there is as much brand awareness about Etsy as there is for Amazon. Even though there are still a lot of Etsy customers. I feel like Etsy does a lot of promoting to get more sellers. But they don’t seem to promote as much as I would like to see to get more buyers. As the number of sellers has increased, I haven’t noticed that the customers have increased at the same rate. The same principles apply at craft shows. If there are several of the same type of makers at the show, it increases competition and decreases shop revenue unless the customers attending the show is also increased. I’d like to see Etsy focus on this at least as much as they focus on attracting more sellers. 2. Changes and updates- Even though it is fast to list an item on Etsy, it is time consuming to keep up with all the changes. Etsy tends to make several changes to their best practices for sellers throughout the year. Etsy says you don’t have to renew or list new products to be seen. But I disagree. Every time I am working actively in their platform my sales go up. Etsy says that you don’t need to do that, but that’s not what experience is telling me. Their algorithm seems to favor sellers who are in the platform a lot, whether they are working on titles tags, listing, relisting, etc. It really seems to have a big impact on whether or not your items are being seen. If Etsy is your only platform, then it’s not really a big deal. You can spend the time in the platform. Work on creating products. Update your amazing pictures. And do all the other tasks needed for your shop, and you will likely see great results. But for those selling in multiple places it can get frustrating to have to devote so much time to one area.
Amazon Handmade for Online Sellers
Amazon Handmade began in 2015, allowing Handmade artists to apply to be part of their program and have access to all those Amazon customers. Amazon as a whole has about 2 million sellers who actively have items for sale. But the customer base is over 300 million people. That is a lot of people. Although Amazon isn’t typically known as the place to get handmade items, it has quickly become the place to get ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. People turn to Amazon to buy what they need. This makes it an attractive option for sellers.
What are the pros for selling on Amazon Handmade?
1. Customer base- They have more customers than anybody. Seriously over 300 million people have the potential to see your products. There are over 95 million Amazon Prime customers in the US alone. Amazon is a household name. There is a misconception that selling on Amazon handmade you won’t be found. But Amazon mixes Handmade and regular items together in a search. There is a Handmade section on the side, but you can be found in a regular search. There are a lot of sellers, for sure. But you can’t beat the customer base. 2. Fewer updates- You don’t need to update Amazon Handmade listings as much as your Etsy listings. Don’t get me wrong, you need good SEO and awesome pictures, but sales are king on Amazon. The more sales you have, the more you will get. On Amazon sales matter the most. So if you can get an item sold, you don’t really have to do much. Yes, getting the first sale can take some time. You have to make sure you are hitting your SEO. But after you do, you don’t have to work that listing like you might on Etsy. Amazon in general doesn’t make as many updates and changes to their platform, which is nice for busy sellers.
What are the cons for selling on Amazon Handmade?
1. The algorithm- It is harder to learn the algorithm on Amazon’s A9 search platform. Sometimes people with not great SEO hit a seller and it really doesn’t seem to make sense why. We’ve had amazing successes happening with those who’ve taken our Amazon Handmade course and the way we teach to list a product with great SEO. But there have been outliers who hit a top seller and their keywords are just not that great. One of my own top 100 sellers had terrible SEO. I was in a hurry and needed to get something listed. I had planned to come back and edit the listing but never did. And then the item started selling like crazy. If something is selling you NEVER change the SEO on the listing even if you didn’t do the SEO correctly. I honestly have never been able to figure out why that item took off in search, but once it did, the sales history is what kept it at the top. 2. Complicated- Amazon is not as user friendly to sell on. Most people see the dashboard and are instantaneously overwhelmed. This was the main reason we launched a full Amazon Handmade course in our membership. Believe me, I know what it looks like and it can be a beast. I was a part of Amazon Handmade’s Beta launch in 2015. I was one of the very first 3500 people accepted into the program. It took me several months to even list. And several more months to tweak those listings. But within a year I had my first top 100 seller. Because of the sheer volume of sales we were having, we ended up hiring a full time woodworker and then another full time packager. So I am passionate about the way Amazon Handmade can change your business, but I know the dashboard and processes are a lot to learn.
Etsy or Amazon Handmade? Which one to sell on?
Do you have any platforms where you are selling? Or are you only selling on social media? I believe Etsy is an excellent place to start selling. If you are looking for your first platform after social media, go with Etsy. It’s user friendly. It’s easy to list product. It gives you a really good sense of SEO. It teaches you how to get a product listed correctly. You can make a really nice living from Etsy if you have the time to be able to work on it. So if you are just starting out it is a really great place to begin selling. If you already have Etsy and you are able to keep up with a steady stream of orders then it might be time to add something new like Amazon Handmade. Or if you are seeing a dip in your sales and would like to use this time to add another stream of revenue, then Amazon Handmade might be a great choice to add for your business. I don’t recommend you start with Amazon Handmade if you haven’t sold on Etsy or a website before because of how overwhelming the process can be. To know if Amazon Handmade is right from you, you need to ask some sincere questions. Are you ready to be able to ship and to hire extra help? If you aren’t to that point, then it might not be for you. If you hit a top seller you will have to be ready to ship out a lot of product and to hire help. And no, I’m not saying that will happen right away. But you need to be prepared for that. Hiring and a lot of shipping are just the realities of being a top seller on Amazon Handmade.
Are Seller fees comparable on Etsy and Amazon Handmade?
Amazon Handmade is higher than Etsy. It’s not a huge difference. People tend to freak out and say that Amazon takes too much. I would say after you average all of your fees out, Amazon is going to be about 5-6% higher in fees than Etsy. But for me, that’s worth the difference between access to 35 million customers or 300 million customers.
What about selling on your own website?
If you do not have an engaged following on social media, then you definitely should start with Etsy and not a website. Etsy has built in customers. You will still have to learn SEO and know how to do a listing. It’s also important that you learn to understand product photography. But the customer base on Etsy is already built in for you. You don’t have to attract people to Etsy. You just have to attract them to your shop and your listings on Etsy. A lot of people get shocked when they realize that their website is not making any money. But it’s not surprising if you don’t have a social media presence. You also really need to understand SEO. Or at the very least, you need a loyal customer following. If this is you, then Etsy is the best place to start in my opinion. As you build your social media presence you can still send people to Etsy to purchase from you. If you have a super loyal following on social media, Pinterest or a blog, then a website might be the way to go. How do you know if you have a super loyal following?
- Are people messaging you all the time to get your product?
- Are you doing live sales on your Facebook Business page and selling out or close to selling out?
- Are you doing restock style sales in your Facebook group and selling a lot of product?
If so, then having your own website to send people to will help make your life so much easier with orders and tracking.
What about having Etsy and a website at the same time?
I usually do not recommend starting multiple platforms at once for sellers. It’s hard to learn and implement multiple things at one time in the way they need to be done. I don’t want you to give 50% of yourself to 2 different things and see terrible results with both. Instead, I recommend really diving in and learning/implementing one platform. You should only add another when you feel like you have a handle with the ones you are already on. Yes, it is possible to do both a website and Etsy at the same time. But only you can know if you have the time and energy to give to both learning and implementing two new platforms at once. I recommend giving yourself 3-6 months with one before adding another one. Etsy and your own website will not operate the same way. And remember that you really need strong social media to make a website work for you.
Why add another platform like Etsy or Amazon Handmade?
There are sales cycles on Etsy and Amazon as well. There isn’t always a rhyme and reason. It can be part of the time of year or a variety of other factors. Dips in sales are scary as a business owner, because our bills and obligations don’t dip down when our sales do. This is why it is so important to not have all of your eggs in one basket. This is why I teach my students to create a loyal social media following so you have a place to reach and sell to your loyal fans during those times when there are lulls. You can’t rely on one platform to do things for you. The sellers that do that have their businesses fail. And we are not going to let that happen. So there you go. Now you have all my pros and cons from years of selling on both Etsy and Amazon Handmade. They are both platforms that I use in my business. And they both have great things and not so great things about their features. Ultimately they are both great tools that can make more money for your business if you learn how to use them and stay up to date with them. Ultimately we make success by learning, trying, and growing as sellers. And both of these platforms can help do this for your business. Want to save this article? Pin it!