If you are one of a growing number of entrepreneurs who sell handmade goods online, chances are you may think using Amazon Handmade to reach new customers is a good idea. But by doing this, you are not helping your brand.
In late 2015, the retail behemoth launched Amazon Handmade, an online store boasting wares from invite-only artisans and makers. They attracted millions of users.
But outside of the access to instant droves of traffic you’re not doing yourself any favors. Not only are you building your business on someone elses platform, the chances of repeat sales are suffering too.
Perils of building your business on a platform you don’t own
The main problem with Amazon Handmade is that they treat your products as their own. This leads to your products blending in with the rest. What’s more, if your product has a high rate of success you risk Amazon itself selling its own version and becoming your prime competitor.
Another serious limitation with Amazon is the lack of customer’s loyalty. The best client you can hope for is one which buys from you, enjoys the product and then buys from you again. By searching for the product again on Amazon, your handmade product can be harder to find and your customer could easily find a competitor’s alternative instead. And without the client’s email address from the first sale, you have no way to stay in touch through newsletters or latest news.
To counter these and other problems, the best solution is to set up your own company website and sell your handmade goods from it.
Need a third party? Try these marketplaces instead
In order to grow your audience faster, you can simultaneously use online marketplaces to build an audience and client base. This way you build a rapport with loyal customers.
Here are some examples of handmade marketplaces you should try instead.
Etsy has struggled in recent years as it went from “a startup built by crafters and for crafters to a juggernaut” but it is by far one of the biggest online marketplaces for anything handmade. It has a large, targeted customer base numbering well over 40 million. You can create your profile and start selling within a few minutes. What’s more, there is a wealth of information to help you sell better and be more profitable within Etsy’s own blog and dedicated forums on the web. But, as with any marketplace beware of fees and potential copy cats.
iCraft markets itself as a premier handmade craft marketplace. iCraft Gifts stand out because does not charge (re)listing fees or a commission on your sales. Sellers who make a sale on the site, collect all of the money for themselves. Instead, they charge a small, one-time registration fee of $25 USD, plus a low monthly fee starting at $5. Another great feature is that iCraft requires sellers to confirm their product is handmade by themselves, new and comes with a high quality photo. Your product is then reviewed for acceptance. This weeds out potential, lower quality competitors or resellers.
Supermarket is a marketplace offering unique gifts and novel products from a curated list of world class designers, makers, and artists. I like Supermarket because of its simple structure which connects buyers and sellers. The approval process can take a bit of time, however because of their focus on high quality, unique items it means you probably won’t find competitors that simply buy their “handmade” items from 3rd parties.
The Handmade Artists’ Shop is devoted to supporting handmade and selling the finest handmade products. It started as a community forum of creators just like you. Whilst the visitors to this site is smaller than the rest, around 14k visitors per month, you really get a feeling of inclusion when you participate in the forum with like minded sellers.
No matter which online marketplace you decide to use to sell your handmade products, remember that your ultimate goal is to obtain a customer’s email address and direct the customer to make their next purchase through your website. This lowers your dependency on third parties and allows you to maximise profit and scale quicker.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sergio Zammit, The Fun Entrepreneur, is a full-time entrepreneur. Through his popular blog he helps those wishing to start their own business to overcome the most common challenges and succeed at running a successful enterprise. Connect with @thefunentrep on Twitter.
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