Amazon Brings Handmade Gifts To Prime Now, Escalating Etsy Rivalry

Amazon Brings Handmade Gifts To Prime Now, Escalating Etsy Rivalry

Amazon is combining handcrafted products with its fulfillment prowess this holiday season. In nine U.S. markets, shoppers can purchase gifts from Amazon Handmade Artisans on Prime Now for delivery until 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve.

The new holiday selection on Prime Now includes items such as handcrafted pottery, necklaces, skin care, tote bags and candles, all from local artisans.

With this move, Amazon is making yet another decision that puts increased pressure on Etsy. Ever since Amazon launched its handmade marketplace in October 2015, Etsy has had a rough time fending off the e-Commerce giant as it seeks to remain the leader in localized, handcrafted goods.

Etsy laid off 230 employees (22% of its workforce) in May and June 2017, with the Board of Directors replacing then-CEO Chad Dickerson with eBay and AMEX veteran Josh Silverman amid investor pressure. But in Q3 the company displayed signs that a turnaround was imminent, reporting 10.8% year-over-year growth in active sellers, 16.7% year-over-year growth in active buyers and 13.2% gross merchandise sales growth.

In a Q3 earnings call in November, Silverman noted that Etsy put new initiatives in place to avoid the typical mid-December sales lull that occurs as shoppers turn to more last-minute deals. Some of these new strategies included:

  • Launching a tool for sellers to offer free shipping on specific items;
  • Launching a feature enabling buyers to search for items with free shipping;
  • Providing more transparency about ship times, enabling buyers to more easily find ready-to-ship items;
  • Offering a way for sellers to easily offer gift wrapping as an add-on; and
  • Introducing a gift finder search functionality.

Etsy still doesn’t have the quick delivery capabilities that Amazon has for same-day delivery, making it vital for the brand to continue making these improvements to the shopping experience. While Amazon Handmade on Prime Now is just a short-term experiment, the trial shows that Amazon is willing to expand its local selection and appeal to an audience that prefers to shop small.

Since its launch, Amazon Handmade has grown to encompass 10 categories (including Jewelry, Home & Kitchen, Stationery and Party Supplies) from thousands of artisans across more than 30 countries.

Amazon Handmade products are available via Prime Now for members in Austin, Texas; Brooklyn and Manhattan, N.Y.; Minneapolis; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; San Diego; the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle through the holiday season.

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