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Thread: selling on AMAZON HANDMADE - my (horrible) expirience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    22

    Default selling on AMAZON HANDMADE - my (horrible) expirience

    Hello,

    Just in case somebody is wondering about selling on the newly promoted AMAZON HANDMADE, i'm going to talk about my expierence there:

    Well, for a start, i've been selling that platform about 1 year. And i've sold thousand $$ there, lots of order, all kinds. Absolutely all i sell is handmade (bracelets, rings, earrings,...). Everything is sterling silver and some minor things on copper/brass.

    Requests to open an account:

    - send some bills proving you are professional
    - some photos showing your work
    - handmade

    And you are done.

    Conditions:

    - amazon fee, around a 15%
    - there is a "handmade" category

    PROS

    - You have more visibility. Amazon is promoting now "handmade" stores and sounds good being able to sell to countries where you could find some difficulties on youw own (for example Japan, ...).
    - The platform is easy to use, intuitive, Amazon's support helps you in the process of opening your store.
    - "Handmade" stores don't pay the 50 USD per month fee for pro-selling there.

    CONS

    - No ads means you are invisible. Prepare to pay 10-15% in ads.
    - Increased prices due to 15% fees per sale and 10% for ads.
    - Estimated shipping and processing times: you need to keep up to 1-day processing and 2-3 days delivery, otherwise you wont sell.
    - Returns: amazon is the refereer for returns and people is used to "have it fast, try and return if they don't like"

    And this last point is the main problem.


    Customers can do de following, which i suffered myself a couple times:

    - buy in item
    - claim the item is defective => your money is frozen here
    - leave a negative review=> this basically shuts down your store at the very moment, cos handmade shops have perhaps 1-5 reviews ... AT MOST
    - return the item
    - the seller will have to pay for the return
    - the negative will stay in your shop all this time while this process takes place (weeks, 1-month).

    Customers can even damage the material you send and return it. For example, scratch a sterling silver bracelet and return it. And they ACTUALLY return it.

    Mind that amazon customer's are use to buy even without reading the descriptions, because they know they can return everything at will, for free just claiming the item is damaged.

    Amazon will always favour the customer in the decicions. And the percentage of customers willing to return items for no-reason is VERY HIGH. If you re-sell jewelry, perhaps this doesn't mind. But if you sell truly handmade jewelry, you cannot have this returns ratio. Is not only the lost shipping, but also the time making it and all the phone calls trying to defend yourself while the A-Z claim lasts.

    In summary, the

    - tendence to return items
    - high fees
    - high ad's cost (higher than in etsy, btw)
    - need to dispatch all within 24-48 hours max

    Makes selling in amazon totally POINTLESS ...



    This is my expierence. Hope this helps others not to make the same mistakes.

    Regards.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    66

    Default

    Thank you for the warning! I have so far been put off from selling on AMAZON Handmade due to the high selling fees however I have been considering it as Etsy sales seem to have slowed down a little. Personally I make almost all of my items to order so I can't afford any significant returns (unless the item is genuinely faulty that is!). I will certainly bare this in mind if we do consider this any further.

    Out of curiosity, what were your sales volumes like on there compared to Etsy? I guess, if the volumes were sufficient, then this could make the venture worthwhile although I must admit I would find it extremely frustrating having to deal with large volumes of returned items!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manchester UK
    Posts
    655

    Default

    I have noticed that some clothes from amazon now have ribbon attached in such a way you cant remove it , stopping you wearing them to the 'party' and return them after. You need to cut the ribbon out. But you can still try them on with the ribbon attached to check the size. I wonder if you could do a similar thing with jewellery a ribbon through the ring thats sealed. you could still try it in but not wear it out, well unless ribbon rings are a thing , Just an idea
    Last edited by josef1; 30-10-2017 at 05:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SICraftDesigns View Post
    Out of curiosity, what were your sales volumes like on there compared to Etsy? I guess, if the volumes were sufficient, then this could make the venture worthwhile although I must admit I would find it extremely frustrating having to deal with large volumes of returned items!
    I sell a lot on etsy. So, loosing some money on this new adventures doesn't mind too much. Worst in all is not the money, but the time you lose throught a return (AZclaim, phone calls, ...). As a seller, you have to be 100% sure you will win the claim, because amazon has that tendence to favour customers ... Mind customers are always hearing about "amazon prime", "returns" and so on. They are educated to have returns for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by josef1 View Post
    I have noticed that some clothes from amazon now have ribbon attached in such a way you cant remove it , stopping you wearing them to the 'party' and return them after. You need to cut the ribbon out. But you can still try them on with the ribbon attached to check the size. I wonder if you could do a similar thing with jewellery a ribbon through the ring thats sealed. you could still try it in but not wear it out, well unless ribbon rings are a thing , Just an idea
    The point here would be to sell everything personalized, but everything cannot be personalized. Earrings for example. But even if you assume you are on the safe side because you are selling a custom order, the customer can always say the item is defective and you are likely to have to accept it because:

    - you will most likely loose an AZ-claim (it happened to me, and the item of course was absolutely perfect)
    - you will have a negative review ... For removing the negative - i did it once, it's possible - you need, again, to open a case in amazon, meaning awaiting a couple weeks, more mails, more phone calls, more time to the drain.

    So, how much money per hour are you earning if you go through this, say, 1/20 times? Mind the fees and ad's cost too, higher than other online selling platforms.

    My conclusion is that is better to spend all this time to release new models in other sites.

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