It’s safe to say that anyone with access to the Internet has heard of Amazon. The multinational tech company is the world’s most popular e-commerce platform, with more than 4,000 items sold per minute in the USA alone.
But Amazon is not the only player out there. Online shopping is expected to reach $1.3 trillion in the U.S. by 2025 and it’s only natural that other companies are also looking to benefit from this opportunity. And so are Sellers.
One of the main questions online Sellers have when entering the ecommerce space is Amazon or Etsy? The answer depends on what type of Seller you are.
Let’s see why.
Before comparing the two platforms, we must first explore their general stats.
It’s clear that Amazon is the market leader. But is this a realistic comparison between the two platforms?
It’s more nuanced than the numbers would suggest.
Amazon and Etsy differ fundamentally in strategy. There are several things that Etsy does extremely well (perhaps even better than Amazon), so as a Seller, you want to know where these opportunities lie.
Right off the bat, we can conclude that Etsy is the perfect place for you if:
Now that we’ve established the basics, it’s time to go for the details.
Amazon started off as an online bookstore, but it’s about a gazillion things more today. It now offers a ton of different product categories. And that’s amazing as buyers have access to an infinite pool of products. But if you’re a Seller of rare crafts, handmade pieces, and unique products, Amazon’s buyers may not be the key to massive sales numbers.
On the other hand, Etsy is the place for handmade, vintage, and rare items. The one major thing that stands out on the platform is niche marketing. It’s a specialized marketplace. The fact that it’s specifically targeted at a handful of product categories means that it adequately caters to niche interests or niche buyers.
Say you’re selling handmade wooden earrings and your business is relatively new. You can do very well on Amazon, but it may take you longer to get your products discoverable. There is a deep pool of product options from thousands of categories. On the other side, marketing your product on Etsy is likely to yield faster results, as you are already presenting in front of people who are looking for products just like yours.
What this means for you as a buyer is that if you’re interested in seeing faster sales and promoting your products to people who have niche interests, Etsy is the perfect place for you.
There’s also a massive difference when looking at Amazon and Etsy listings. Etsy listings are a treat for the eye. Product pictures are usually much more attractive than on Amazon, with a level of creativity and artistic approach. This is mainly because of the type of products that are being sold – niche, handmade, vintage, unique. In this sense, the platform is better suited to creative Sellers, who know how to visually please potential buyers.
Let’s imagine you’re selling birthstone necklaces. Here is a comparison of product listings from search results from both platforms:
What stands out is that the Etsy listing has a product picture that speaks for itself. The composition is perfect, it creates a sense of comfort, simplicity, and style all at once. On the other hand, a similar product on Amazon is marketed with a straightforward, basic product image.
So, if you feel comfortable creating artistic, eye-grabbing listings, you can certainly make your products stand out on Etsy. On the contrary, if your products call for a simple and rather basic presentation, they will fit perfectly on Amazon.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon’s listings are lower quality or unsuitable. Quite the opposite. But Etsy’s listings work slightly better for those selling niched, crafty, unique products.
There is another important point of differentiation. Your Seller experience will be different on the two platforms in terms of what happens next. What do we mean by that? Amazon doesn’t support Sellers directing buyers to external sites. The idea is to keep the whole process and communication on the platform. This means that Amazon is the perfect place to get immediate sales but not the best choice if you want to promote your brand or establish long-term relationships with buyers.
On the other hand, on Etsy, Sellers can ship their products with extras like business cards, branded packaging, and more. Etsy also allows Sellers to encourage buyers to sign up for their email lists, follow their social media channels, and overall – customize their shops.
As a Seller, if you are looking to expand your brand presence and make a name for yourself, it will be easier to do so on Etsy. However, if you are simply after the sales numbers and are not too picky about whether or not your customers know more about your brand, you can enjoy consistent sales on Amazon.
Lastly, Buyer reactions to delivery times are also something to think about as a Seller on Amazon or Etsy. Considering that Amazon normally sells mass-produced items, buyers expect promptness and nothing less. On Etsy, buyers are understanding of the fact that some handmade items may take longer to produce.
If you know that your production cycles are slow, it’s highly likely that you’ll find a better-suited buyer base on Etsy.
We’ve now discovered that most buyers on Amazon expect to find mass-manufactured items. On Etsy, people expect an element of uniqueness and authenticity. A great way to kickstart your business is to use the two together simultaneously and see what works best for your products.
For instance, you can use mockups for print-on-demand t-shirts from Etsy for your Amazon business. The bottom line is that as a Seller, you don’t have to choose one over the other. You can sell your products on both platforms and use the insights from your performance to see which one works better for you.
In a nutshell, both Amazon and Etsy are outstanding E-commerce platforms that Sellers can take advantage of. The big question is where will your products perform better.
Remember, regardless of the platform you choose, research and business insights are key for your success as a Seller. If you’re already an Etsy Seller or are planning to take the first steps, the tools available in Sale Samurai can help you make better decisions by providing all of the business intelligence you need.
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