Amazon takes aim at Etsy with 'Handmade' store for handcrafted items

Amazon.com has made a pitch for the handicrafts market occupied by players like Etsy by setting up its own "Handmade at Amazon" store

Amazon.com has made a pitch for the handicrafts market occupied by players like Etsy by setting up its own "Handmade at Amazon" store.

Perhaps reflecting the concern of some users that handcrafted items peddled online are often factory-made, Amazon is making a big deal about the artisans and the personalization offered on the products on its new store.

On its store page, it invites customers to, for example, connect with the artisan through their profile page "and discover their personal story to feel confident your piece is genuinely made by hand."

All products available on Handmade at Amazon are factory-free and must be made by hand, the company said Thursday. Over 80,000 handcrafted items from around the world are available on the store, and over 30 percent of these can be personalized by artisans, it added.

The products on sale on the Handmade section of Amazon.com include jewelry, home décor, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, furniture and bedding.

As far back as May, Amazon had posted a questionnaire on the company's website to elicit interest from artisans and the categories of products they were willing to sell. It asked craftsmen to spread the word around or list their colleagues' email addresses on the form.

Buyers can shop by country to find products from around 60 countries or they can shop locally in the U.S. by searching for artisans in the 50 states. Handmade product pages contain an icon identifying the location of the artisan, and a link to the artisan’s profile.

Rival Etsy claims 1.5 million active sellers pushing 32 million items that cater to close to 22 million active buyers. But recently it has faced charges that counterfeit goods and some that violate site policies were sold on its site. Some of its moves like allowing sellers to partner with manufacturers to make their designs also put off some sellers and customers.

Etsy released in July a transparency report to outline the actions it had taken to counter some of irregularities on its website. It did not immediately comment on the new Amazon offering.

Amazon has been expanding from its core retail business in mass-produced products to offering specialized services and products, including recently its Amazon Home Services to link customers with professionals.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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