Amazon launched its Amazon Handmade page back in 2015. Since then, it has become one of the premier online destinations for handmade artisans looking to sell their goods.
Rachel O’Neill is one of those artisans. She runs the online shop Loftipop, which sells art prints and other printed goods like mugs featuring her designs. Here are some of the things she’s learned over the years that might help other handmade business owners make use of the platform.
Develop a Great Product Line
Like any other type of business, you need to offer something really valuable if you want to succeed. That doesn’t change just because you’re selling on a major platform like Amazon. So do some research on the types of products you might be interested in selling and then come up with a way to differentiate your own offerings to provide real value to your customers.
Read About the Features of the Platform
Even though the basics of your business might be the same regardless of the selling platform, there are some things that are specific to Amazon Handmade. So O’Neill recommends doing some research before you jump in so you understand all of the specific features and how you can make them work for your particular shop.
She says, “The first thing I did was I went into the seller forums and read through to get other people’s expertise. I read through all of the handmade information and seller support resources. Amazon Handmade also has a style guide so you can get a feel for how you’re supposed to list products, what types of pictures to use, SEO, everything.”
Complete Your Application
Before you can actually start selling on Amazon Handmade, you have to apply. The application process takes about half an hour and requires you to fill out some basic information and upload photos of your products. So you should be prepared with great photos and ideas about your products before getting started.
Amazon Handmade also uses a vetting process to make sure artisans participating on the page are selling only genuinely factory-free handcrafted items. Though this is an extra hurtle when applying, it will insure your products are not competing with mass produced products being passed off as handmade.
Start Listing Products
Of course, listing actual products is another essential step in the process. The seller portal sort of walks you through this process. So just make sure to fill out all of the information completely and accurately, and follow Amazon’s style guide so you can have a better chance of getting your products found.
Make Adjustments as You Go
No shop is going to be perfect right from the start. So while it’s good to do some initial research, don’t let the process drag on too long. You can also learn a lot through trial and error.
O’Neill says, “Just get started. Once you see what’s working and what’s not, you can update your listings or make changes to your shop.”
Keep Up with New Features
Since Amazon Handmade is still relatively new, it’s constantly evolving with new features and capabilities. You can keep up with these by remaining engaged with the website and forums. Even if there are some things that the educational materials on Amazon don’t offer, you can still get answers to specific questions by reaching out to the customer service team.
O’Neill says, “Every time I come across something I don’t know, I ask a question in the forums. It’s been a great resource.”
Keep Your Options Open
One of the benefits of selling on Amazon is that you don’t have to use the platform exclusively. You can expand your selling channels by also using Etsy, setting up your own website, or even selling at craft fairs or similar events. Loftipop also has a shop on Etsy, but O’Neill says that selling on Amazon Handmade has given her business a significant addition to its existing revenue stream.
Focus on Images
Visuals are an important part of any ecommerce shop. Amazon Handmade recommends adding multiple images to every product listing. The company’s style guide also includes some suggestions for how to format your images based on your specific type of product. For example, some products like jewelry sell better if you include at least one image that shows the scale, or how it looks on an actual person.
Don’t Forget About SEO
Amazon also has some guidelines when it comes to making your products accessible via search. Including keywords in product titles, tags, and descriptions can definitely help. But Amazon’s algorithm also takes into account things like price, shipping cost, rating and availability.
Look Into Fulfillment by Amazon
Of course, packing and shipping orders can take up a huge amount of time when you’re running an online handmade shop. But Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon program, where you can send in your products to fulfillment centers and have Amazon take care of sending out the orders, is also open to handmade business owners.
O’Neill says, “It helps artisans scale in a way that they traditionally wouldn’t be able to. It’s like having employees and a warehouse without having all of that added overhead.”