The Handmade Community is currently abuzz about Handmade at Amazon, a new arts and crafts marketplace rumored to be positioned as a direct competitor to Etsy, the first dedicated marketplace to buy and sell handmade goods.

To recap quickly, Amazon approached active Etsy sellers via e-mail, indicating that they will be launching their own platform on which handmade artisans can sell their wares and requesting that interested participants fill out a form to learn more about this Amazon marketplace.

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During this time, active Scoutmob sellers reported that they were contacted by Scoutmob about participating in an Amazon-based program.

After speaking with handmade sellers in both camps about Handmade at Amazon, I reached out to Scoutmob directly to learn more about their involvement with Handmade at Amazon, and their mission.  Here’s the thing about Scoutmob:


Scoutmob is Half The Age of Etsy

Scoutmob began almost five years ago in Atlanta, Georgia as a local deals site, on par with Groupon and LivingSocial as a location-aware coupon retailer. The concept soon expanded to include carefully curated goods by local makers as the Shoppe at Scoutmob. Their mission of celebrating “the independent makers by seeking out their inspired goods and crafted experiences” is realized by two initiatives: Creating a curated marketplace for handmade goods and promoting “local curiosities” through mobile incentives.


Shoppe by Scoutmob Does Not View Itself As a Competitor to Etsy, or Amazon

Brian Davis, the Director of Business Development at Scoutmob, was very clear in what he communicated about Scoutmob’s handmade mission. Because each item and maker (Scoutmob’s term for a “seller”) is hand-selected by a curatorial and merchandising team, the Shoppe by Scoutmob has created a very mindful experience for both buyer and seller. Makers are not able to sign up and list their goods within minutes; Instead, they are encouraged to get in direct communication with the Shoppe by Scoutmob to be considered for placement on the site. Davis indicated that Scoutmob has a strong focus on pristine craftsmanship and inspired goods. Because Scoutmob is in active communication with each maker on every item sold, the buying and selling experience is different from platforms where sellers can set up shop within minutes of registration.


Scoutmob Has a Strategic Partnership with Amazon (But It’s An Ongoing Discussion)

According to Davis, Amazon approached the Shoppe at Scoutmob through a creative agency in the Fall of 2014. The creative agency served to facilitate a prospective partnership between the two companies and work towards the objectives that each presented.

Because Handmade at Amazon is currently in production and no release date has been announced, Scoutmob currently has a channel on Amazon’s main site. Scoutmob has offered select sellers the opportunity to sell their items through this channel as a way to gain additional exposure and pick up sales.

Davis indicated this is an on-going discussion with Amazon as to how the Shoppe at Scoutmob will be represented in a future handmade site specific to Amazon, and being partnered as a channel is the first step in seeing if Scoutmob’s makers benefit from being a part of the Amazon community.


Amazon Started Scouting Prospective Handmade Partners Last Fall

The Shoppe at Scoutmob was not the first prospective partner that Amazon considered. Handmade at Amazon was also contemplating a partnership with Etsy directly. Due to Amazon’s current efforts at engaging Etsy sellers directly about moving over to Handmade at Amazon and recent press pitting the two sites against one another, it would appear that is not a partnership that is happening any time soon.


Scoutmob is Not Recruiting Etsy Sellers To Sell On its Amazon Channel

According to Davis, Scoutmob is not contacting Etsy sellers about moving onto the Handmade at Amazon or the Scoutmob channel on Amazon. Scoutmob communicates directly with its sellers about prospective opportunities to sell in other markets affliated with Scoutmob, and Davis estimates that about 100-150 makers have elected to have their wares sold through the Scoutmob on Amazon channel at this time.


Scoutmob is Committed To Its Makers, Not Necessarily A Plume of Growth 

I appreciated discussing Scoutmob’s mission to the handmade arts community, and what their partnership would mean for its base of makers and Scoutmob as a brand.

Davis maintained that Scoutmob’s priority was to its makers to ensure their growth and success. He made it a point to convey over the course of our conversation that if sellers on Scoutmob were not achieving the sales and brand awareness that they had hoped for on the site, then Scoutmob had to work harder to create more opportunities for sales, traffic, and interest for its makers. He mentioned that Scoutmob routinely takes out Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Ads to create more marketing impact, and are absorbing fees with Amazon that might make it prohibitive for a maker to try and set up shop on their own outside the Scoutmob channel.

Because the current channel is an “experiment” through Amazon and the Handmade at Amazon site has yet to be launched, Davis said that he will continue to keep in touch with their makers to gauge the level of interest in participating on Amazon and if this will be a good fit for both Scoutmob and its makers moving forward.

I asked Davis if a Scoutmob partnership with Handmade at Amazon could potentially dilute the Shoppe at Scoutmob brand, or worse, not bring brand recognition to its stable of makers. Because the terms of that specific partnership have not been finalized, there are no clear answers as to what this could entail.

Davis explained that Scoutmob’s hope is to take its company’s growth one step at a time and their focus is on quality user acquisition. Their commitment is to be mindful of the maker’s experience and to not compromise the quality of the goods produced for the sake of fast company growth.

I asked specifically if Scoutmob had requested that their makers produce “ready made” or “ready to ship” items to adhere to Amazon’s seller guidelines; I was informed that Scoutmob negotiated an “open lead time” with Amazon for their handmade goods to ship, so as to better serve their makers and their creative process.


The Bottom Line: Here’s What We Know About Selling Handmade Goods on Handmade at Amazon with Scoutmob

  1. Etsy sellers have been receiving e-mails from Amazon with a link to an online form to request additional information on the selling program. Scoutmob has not contacted Etsy sellers about selling through Amazon.
  2. Scoutmob currently has an Amazon channel where their active makers were given the opportunity to participate.
  3. Handmade at Amazon does not have a release date.
  4. Handmade at Amazon has not released information on categories, listing fees, commission fees, or terms of service, as of the publication of this article.
  5. If you want to sell handmade goods through Amazon, you may open a shop as a seller direct through Amazon or submit your wares to Scoutmob for curation and if accepted, inquire on being included through their Scoutmob channel.
  6. Where can I request information on the Handmade at Amazon marketplace? Right here.

 

What are your thoughts on Scoutmob’s participation as an Amazon channel? Will you be selling handmade on Amazon? Put your comments below!

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