Thursday, February 4, 2016

Handmade at Amazon's Failure to Launch, Part II

Custom Family Portrait from Photos
So why has Handmade at Amazon basically failed to launch?  One explanation was in my previous post on Handmade, but I'm hoping that's not it, that Amazon didn't basically start a dummy category just to drive down Etsy stock and buy it out.

I am hoping there's a much simpler explanation:  That the initial launch failed and they are back to the drawing board.

It's been four months.  The same few categories exist now that did then.  Not one addition.  So no hope for a truly successful Handmade site.

It would be like opening a grocery store with produce, a cereal aisle, bread and pet aisle.  And within produce, not having potatoes.  Or cat toys in the pet aisle, no hamburger buns in the bread aisle.

And worse after the first week, telling the employees to just put anything anywhere, put the dog food with the cat toys, the bananas in with the radishes.  And if someone asks for radishes, show them dog food.  Four months and they are UNABLE to either add the "potatoes" or add a Meat or Frozen Foods section?  Really?

I wonder if they are really just not happy with the results so far.

Amazon's search is based in large part on number of sales.  Which might work fine with "regular" Amazon, I have no idea, I'm not in the wholesale/retail business.

But the result of using that algorithm for Handmade is that for some searches, there is no variety, and the cheapest dominate, and smarty pants sellers of non-handmade use terms to dominate handmade searches.

If Amazon features $7 inkjets rather than $700 paintings, it's getting 1/10 of the fees it could get. It's hard to believe that is what Amazon opened handmade for.

There are people who love it there.  There are people who just plain sell well there, as opposed to those whose views continue to sink.  There are people who hate Etsy and love that it's not Etsy.  There are people who sold there before and understand the complicated ins and outs.  There are people who are thrilled that the handmade competition is kept so small and so narrow. And I'm happy for them.

But I'm of the mind that to truly serve Handmade sellers and Buyers, lots of very basic changes need to happen fast.  Increase categories, enforce listing rules and scrap the algorithm that has vinyl wall sayings and butterflies dominating a search for "custom dog portrait".  For instance.  And do it without waiting for other sellers to rat out the offenders.  THAT could be a full time job.  I just want Amazon to really launch.  And waiting for signs it will.

No comments: