Artists and Amazon: How E-Commerce Demands Customer Loyalty

Artists and Amazon: How E-Commerce Demands Customer Loyalty

In early October, Amazon launched a marketplace for handmade goods. This market has so far been dominated by Etsy, a platform for artists and handlers of vintage items to exchange their products.

An Amazon press release announced Handmade at Amazon as, “a new store featuring genuinely handmade items crafted and sold directly from artisans.”

Etsy’s handicrafts marketplace has grown to $2 billion a year in sales since 2005. In light of their success, Amazon has been waiting for the right time to release their own similar product. Now that Etsy stock is down 43% with a net loss of 84 cents per share, Amazon strategized the release of Handmade this October to appeal to dedicated online artisans and new ones.

Amazon is considered to be the king of e-commerce with $75 billion in annual sales with third-party sellers from around the world. Peter Faricy, the Amazon vice president is overseeing Handmade. He is confident about the integrity of the site and its future, telling the New York Times, “You can think of it as a factory-free zone, a mass-produced-free zone.”

Amazon seems to be taking some notes from Etsy. The ten-year old company has quite a passionate following, with 1.5 million active sellers and 22.6 buyers engaging in their success. Etsy’s relationship to its audience of forward-thinking, kitsch-inclined individuals contributes to a sort of integrity throughout the brand. Etsy users fear that Amazon will treat sellers unfairly and misrepresent the source of the products.

Amazon Handmade has invited Etsy sellers to the site with a special first look. Products are available in four distinct categories: home products, stationery, party supplies, and jewelry.

Amazon’s 285 million active customer accounts is a huge advantage compared to Etsy’s 22 million.  By giving artisans more internet traffic, and thus more potential customers, the chance that their work is being discovered in greater.

Plus, Amazon is allowing sellers to ship products through the company’s fulfillment centers around the country. Items can even be offered in the popular Amazon Prime program.  This logistical support is a huge attraction for sellers who hope to simplify the shipping process as much as possible.

Handmade’s Services are a useful website for new sellers. Here, sellers can refer to FAQs and begin the application process to become an Amazon Handmade seller.  Committed Etsy fans may be hesitant of Amazon’s encroachment in their territory. But for new sellers with an abundance of Amazon’s resources at their commands, the best apology for Etsy? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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