Amazon has been going after Etsy’s core business of unique handmade products for much of this year. When Etsy made changes to its leadership in an attempt to refocus the company on technological updates, Amazon released more categories in its Amazon Handmade store.
This week, Amazon announced a Prime Membership benefit for Amazon Handmade that offers ultra-fast delivery of handmade products in select cities. Of course, to accomplish this, Amazon had to curate products for the service.
Amazon hopes that a larger selection of categories and the offer of faster service will convince Amazon customers to purchase unique products from its Amazon Handmade store. And in the long run, convert Etsy sellers to Amazon Handmade sellers.
But converting sellers to come to Amazon is the tricky problem for Amazon. Sofar Amazon does not appear to have the same range and diversity of handmade and unique products that are offered by Etsy sellers.
With handmade products, speed may not be the selling point that typically helps Amazon dominate its competition.
Etsy Sellers Love Etsy
Etsy has for a long time attracted specialty sellers that are not your typical “corporate thinkers.” They value a company that tries to do good for the world and provides a reasonably priced eCommerce platform for their unique goods.
And while Etsy is pulling back a little from being the uber-socially conscious company, its values are still far more in line with the typical Etsy seller (and buyer) than Amazon or eBay corporate boards.
Etsy also has many sellers that left eBay for a more unique and close-nit community. The company promotes pop-up events and in general seems to listen more to its seller’s problems and suggestions on community boards.
Recent changes to the platform included a bulk listing editor, advanced social media manager, better search, a more flexible discounting and coupon promotions manager, and even a gift wrapping add-on service have provided sellers with new and updated tools.
The company has also used promotional campaigns to drive more business from existing buyers to sellers. A lot of changes and features that didn’t exist a year ago.
Etsy Has Been Resilient
The last two quarters have brought surprise quarterly results to shareholders, hinting there is a promising future for Etsy. Some of the bottom line improvements are due to cost cuts, but they couldn’t have been possible without growing growth in buyers, sellers, and sales.
The company is still early in its transition, but new boss Josh Silverman is trying to find common ground between Wall Street and the unique buyer/seller community that shop and sell on Etsy.
Amazon maybe able to offer some benefits to its customers that can bring unique and handmade products to a larger audience, but without Etsy sellers jumping ship to Amazon, the company will struggle to impact Etsy.
And with global eCommerce domination as its strategic goal, one has to wonder how this niche segment really matters to Amazon’s future. It is more plausible for Amazon to develop custom on-demand manufacturing than to nurture small businesses run by artisans.
Sure, Amazon can needle Etsy a bit here and there, but unless Etsy falters in its mission to continue to update the platform and grow the artisan seller base, it is hard to envision Amazon really impacting the niche platform.
Do you think Etsy is on the right track? And does Amazon really have a chance to get the unique Etsy community of buyers and sellers to switch? Drop us a line in the comments section below.