Amazon might not seem the most obvious choice for selling your lampshades, but since the online shopping giant created Amazon Handmade, a dedicated platform that champions high-quality products and passionate makers, it suddenly becomes a more viable and interesting option. We explore the time, effort and cost, alongside the pros and cons, of selling on Amazon Handmade.
How big is Amazon?
There are no bones about it, Amazon is HUGE in the UK. It's the largest online marketplace, with 90% of shoppers in the UK using Amazon as their go-to platform. Mintel reports that 70% of UK customers visit this online retailer at least once a month and 17% of Amazon UK customers use this shopping platform every week.
What percentage of products are handmade?
There seems to be no concrete data on what percentage of Amazon products are handmade, but by recognising this was a market they were potentially losing out on, consequently set up Amazon Handmade in 2015, to ensure they could offer quality handmade products.
What is Amazon Handmade?
As it says on the tin, Amazon Handmade is a marketplace for high-quality handmade products, mainly to rival the selling platform Etsy. Amazon Handmade platform is seamlessly visible via the main platform and has several product categories available including ‘home’, which lampshades are included within, and there are already a small number of lampshade makers represented on the site.
What are the selling fees?
Amazon Handmade has a simple fee structure of 15% on a sale, which is also applied to the shipping. Listings are free and do not expire.
How easy is it to set up?
Applying to be an Amazon Handmade seller requires time, patience and preparation. See the stage below to find out what's involved.
To retain a high level of quality Amazon demands a high level of ‘artisan’ and products, therefore the application process is rigid and long, and it can sometimes be a few months before you get approval. You'll need around an hour to complete the application and need good quality photographs of your products in advance.
Setting up an account
Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll need to set up a ‘Professional selling account’. There are many ways you’ll need to make sure your brand matches the power of Amazon. Good branding, so a logo that’s adaptable for your ‘home page’ and can be used for banner advertising, strong product images and engaging descriptions that reflect your brand, alongside a persuasive brand story that ideal reflects your passion for making lampshades. Amazon has a wealth of knowledge that they share with you in the form of tutorials and resources to help you along the way.
Range of products
It's best to approach Amazon, with a range of products and put the time and effort in at the start, which will pay off in the long run. Whether this is a range of shapes, sizes or styles of lampshades, building up a solid list in advance (you can even allocate product codes to each) will help, when creating your Amazon Handmade home page.
What are the benefits of selling on Amazon Handmade?
Apart from selling with one of the largest brands in the world, with a simple one-hit fee you have access to excellent marketing resources to help you establish your brand and homepage.
Amazon’s powerful analytics tool will also give you an insight into how to improve the performance of your products and includes reporting on Amazon search terms, demographics, market base and many others. It's worth noting that you will need to be the 'Brand Owner' to access this service, but as an independent maker, this shouldn't be an issue.
What are the cons of selling on Amazon Handmade?
The main con comes down to shipping to Amazon customers, whose expectations are synonymous with fast and free delivery, meaning that you’ll need to alter the production of your lampshades to make your shipping as quickly as possible. This could mean that you are housing a stock of lampshades that you don’t necessarily have space for. You could as an alternative subscribe to the ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ model (see below) which costs but would save you time, energy and space.
Also, Amazon Handmade’s payment process can take up to 14 days for a single transaction. Payment for goods is released only after the products are shipped.
If you’d prefer a more seamless approach to making, listing and fulfilling your Amazon Handmade orders, Fulfilment by Amazon or FBA might be the answer. Ship your lampshades in bulk to one of Amazon’s regional fulfilment centres and they will do the work for you for a range of fees, depending on the volume of products and the frequency of which you sell.
Using Amazon FBA will also gain you the Prime badge on your homepage.
Comparisons to other online sites
While Amazon Handmade does have the handmade image that more craft orientated selling platforms such as Etsy and Folksy have, there is no denying that it ‘sells everything image’ attracts millions of customers. At 15% per transaction, it is slightly more expensive than other selling platforms, but the branding tools and volume of customers could make up for this.
A Crafty Den
How do you find Amazon Handmade as a selling platform for your lampshades?
The platform is fairly intuitive, however, not as user friendly as Etsy or on my own website. Given it's a multi-billion pound platform for businesses of all sizes, it's not specifically tailored for small businesses! Some of the product personalisation, for example, is a bit clunky, however, overall it does the job. Amazon is also particular about images and wants cut out images on white backgrounds. It's also the most sensitive from an algorithm perspective, which makes me doubt how visible my products are. There are however lots of advertising options if you're looking to invest in it, and the opportunity to add Prime delivery if you are set up to do so.
What are the benefits to you as a seller?
The benefits are accessing a very different audience to that on my website or Etsy. Like or hate Amazon, over 70% of product searches start there rather than on Google, so it's visibility you wouldn't find elsewhere.
What made you start selling on Amazon Handmade?
Mainly to diversify my audience and because some customers prefer buying through Amazon for ease - all of their payment information is on there, they can rely on Amazon from a customer service point of view in case something goes wrong.
Any tips for selling on Amazon Handmade that could help other lampshade makers?
Learn the Amazon language - they talk in ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and how you tag your products is key. Also, you'll have to play by their rules in terms of images otherwise you won't get very far with their algorithm!
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