The creative manufacturing and handmade (CMH) sector is estimated to reach a revenue of $1 trillion by 2024. However, while the outlook may be positive, the sector is still facing several challenges, such as access to finance and markets, social media marketing, and product development.
As an artisan, it can sometimes be challenging for you to get your products in front of potential customers and grow your business. You’re faced with steep startup costs, lower profit margins, competition from other artisans, and slow growth as a small business.
Looking to venture into the craft industry and grow your business while still being able to follow your passion? You can leverage Amazon’s extensive reach and massive platform to showcase your unique handcrafted products through Amazon Handmade, a dedicated marketplace for artisans looking to sell their handcrafted products.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into Amazon Handmade, what it is, how it works, and how you can start selling on Amazon Handmade.
Launched in 2015, Amazon Handmade is a community intended only for artisans or makers. It’s comprised of artisans from over 80 countries who create and sell their handmade products. Note that Handmade stores are only currently available in two regions: North America and Europe. Unlike other Amazon stores, Amazon Handmade requires artisans and makers to list handmade products that aren’t mass-produced.
There are several benefits to selling your handmade products on Amazon Handmade. These include:
Furthermore, selling on Amazon Handmade can be a profitable venture. Handmade sellers can generate between $1,000 and $100,000 per month. However, average monthly sales for 45% of Amazon Handmade sellers typically range from $1,000 to $25,000 monthly.
It’s worth noting that there are some drawbacks to selling on Amazon Handmade. You’ll have to follow Amazon Handmade’s strict guidelines and be limited to selling handmade, hand-altered, or handmade customized items.
While the registration process to become an Amazon Handmade seller is pretty straightforward, the screening process itself is very thorough. When you apply, Amazon will require you to provide the following information:
Aside from these requirements, you’ll be required to identify what kind of Maker you are. Amazon Handmade provides you with four categories to choose from:
You’ll then need to provide more details about your work, like which option best represents your work and what your production process is like, such as what materials, techniques, or tools you’re using or how long it takes to craft one product. For the options, Amazon provides you with three definitions:
You’re also required to provide detailed images of your handmade products. It also helps if you provide additional information about your business, such as if you have a social media presence on various platforms or if you have an existing online store.
Lastly, Amazon Handmade will ask you to choose a product category you want to sell in. After submitting your application, you will need to wait for approval, which can take anywhere between 1-2 weeks. Once your application is approved, you can start listing your handmade products on Amazon Handmade.
Products sold on Amazon Handmade must meet Amazon Handmade’s product eligibility requirements. This means that you must be the one who designs and create your products. Alternatively, you can work with a small group (ideally fewer than 20) of either family members or employees. You’re allowed to use hand tools and light machinery. However, you’re not permitted to mass-produce items using assembly lines or automation technology.
Amazon Handmade also lets you list products that are hand-altered and pre-made items. Additionally, you can list upcycled or used items as long as you’ve taken steps to improve their value. Amazon Handmade also lets you sell repurposed items or use an item’s separate components to create something entirely new.
Another challenge for artisans is determining which products to sell in their Amazon Handmade store. Before signing up for Amazon Handmade, it helps to have a good idea of your niche. What kinds of products do you specialize in? What category will your products fall under?
Look into what your competitors are doing. What products are they selling? How are they promoting their products? How do they present their brand? Lastly, before selling your products on Amazon Handmade, make sure that you test each one first. You can create a small batch for each product and collect customer reviews and feedback for them. This allows you to tap into your customers’ perspectives and help you improve your products.
Amazon Handmade is intended for artisans who sell their handcrafted products. To become an Amazon Handmade seller, you need to meet certain criteria determined by Amazon, particularly when it comes to the products you’re selling. Each category, which you can find in the section below, has specific listing policies and requirements. For instance, if you’re planning to sell Handmade Artwork, then it should meet Amazon Handmade’s Handmade Artwork guidelines, which include the following:
Aside from these guidelines, you’ll need to adhere to several Amazon selling and listing policies. Furthermore, you need to take note of the following restrictions in Amazon Handmade:
Becoming an Amazon Handmade seller is relatively straightforward. First, you’ll need to create an Amazon Seller Central account and complete your registration. After getting your selling account approved, you’ll then need to apply to become an Amazon Handmade Artisan. Once done, you can start setting up your Handmade shop and listing your products and then utilize Amazon’s different programs and tools to grow your business.
According to Amazon, Handmade is open to artisans who make handcrafted goods in the following categories:
Products that don’t fall under these categories aren’t allowed to be sold in the Handmade store. If you’re considering selling products that don’t belong to any of the categories listed above, you may want to sign up for other Amazon stores.
A quick note for existing Amazon sellers: if you’re already selling in Amazon’s online store, you can still list your handmade products in the Handmade store, provided that you’ve completed the application for Amazon Handmade and you’re approved to sell. Meanwhile, Amazon lets you continue selling your other non-handmade products in other Amazon stores.
Setting up your Handmade shop and listing your products is free. Amazon Handmade also doesn’t charge a monthly listing fee, and there are no hidden fees. However, Amazon Handmade charges a referral fee, which could either be a flat percentage rate, a 15% deduction per sale, or a per-item minimum fee. For most categories listed above, Amazon Handmade’s Applicable Minimum Referral fee, which is applied per-item basis, is $1.00.
These referral fees apply only to Amazon Handmade sellers who have signed up for a Professional selling plan. For Handmade sellers who haven’t yet upgraded to said plan, you’ll be subject to the standard referral fees instead.
Do note that during registration, Amazon will require you to register with a Professional selling plan, which costs $39.99 monthly. However, if you’re approved as an Amazon Handmade seller, then the said fee will be waived after the first month. Furthermore, if you want to sign up for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), then you’ll need to pay separate fees.
When it comes to selling unique handmade products, Etsy is another popular marketplace for artisans and makers. As an artisan, which marketplace is better for you? Your choice will ultimately depend on several factors, such as your target audience, niche, and business goals.
Amazon Handmade may be the better choice for artisans who want access to an expansive customer base. If your target audience includes customers who are looking for more niche products, then you may want to go with Etsy.
Furthermore, artisans looking to maximize their earning potential might do well by leveraging Amazon’s artisan-only marketplace. If you’re in the process of building your brand or you’re leaning more toward crafts, then you could look into signing up for Etsy.
When it comes to fees, the two marketplaces have some significant differences. Amazon Handmade lets you list unlimited products for free, even without UPCs, and there’s no monthly subscription fee. Furthermore, Amazon Handmade charges a 15% referral fee for every sale.
Meanwhile, if you plan to sell on Etsy, you’ll come across several fees, such as listing, transaction, and payment processing fees.
How can you best maximize your Amazon Handmade business? Below, we’ll be sharing some helpful tips for selling on Amazon Handmade:
Amazon Handmade provides artisans with resources to help you build and grow your business. You can access all these via the Handmade Hub.
You may occasionally find that you’re unable to see your Handmade listings. This can happen due to several listing-related and account-related reasons. For instance, if your items are out of stock or there are errors in your Inventory Upload, you might not be able to see your listings.
Account-related reasons include a downgraded selling account or having an account other than the Professional selling plan. There may also be missing tax information. For a complete list of common reasons why you can’t find your Handmade listings, check out this page.
Other reasons why you’re unable to see your listings include using general search terms when searching for your listings and using a general title, description, or keywords for your products.
Using the right keywords can make your products more visible and help your target audience find your products more easily. It helps if you search for relevant keywords that you can work into your product descriptions. Ensure that your search terms are closely related to your product. Additionally, doing tests helps you identify search terms that improve your search ranking. Lastly, make sure that your search terms are not misspelled and should not be phrases or sentences.
Amazon recommends using high-resolution images showing precise details of your product. Doing so allows potential customers to better see and assess your products. Plus, this helps you make a good impression on them. It’s best to use a white background for all your images. Furthermore, refrain from adding watermarks or logos to your main images.
Aside from giving potential customers more information about your products, product descriptions can help boost your search rankings. When it comes to crafting product descriptions, it helps if they’re unique. Add a personal touch by providing a backstory for your products.
Also, try to write concise product descriptions without compromising crucial information like your product’s benefits. Use bullet points to keep your product descriptions organized and easy to read. When using bullet points, make sure that you highlight your product’s key features and benefits. Another thing you can do to help your customers is to include age restrictions or warnings.
Sometimes, a product can take some time for it to be manufactured. When this happens, you can help set your potential customers’ expectations by including your estimated production time for each listing. According to Amazon, if you can offer a delivery timeframe that’s less than 14 days, then you can potentially generate 20% more glance views for your listings.
When you’re selling on Amazon, then you’re bound to encounter a lot of competition from other sellers on the platform. To ensure that your products remain visible to your target audience and gain a competitive edge, consider using Amazon’s Sponsored Products feature, which are CPC ads that appear in relevant shopping results and product pages.
Order fulfillment can be a taxing activity for sellers. If you’re having issues with order fulfillment, you can consider signing up for Amazon’s FBA program, which lets sellers outsource their order fulfillment. When you sign up for Amazon FBA, you can access perks like free shipping, access to Amazon Prime FREE Two-Day Shipping, and access to Amazon’s customer service network. In general, it would be best if you could provide more accurate shipping times as this helps you provide better customer experiences and establish your customers’ trust. You may also want to look into offering free delivery options to entice your customers. Note that “total delivery time”, as defined by Amazon, refers to your production or handling time plus the transit time.
Selling on Amazon Handmade allows you to tap into Amazon’s massive customer base. When done well and once you meet Amazon Handmade’s guidelines and policies, it can also prove to be a very profitable venture. As your Amazon Handmade business grows, you’ll need a solution that helps you better manage and scale your online business.
Threecolts is a marketplace management platform that gives you access to customized business solutions. From profit recovery to conversion optimization, you can find a Threecolts platform that can help you optimize your Amazon Handmade business.