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Amazon Challenges Etsy with New Handmade Store

Amazon launched a new online store Thursday featuring handmade items crafted and sold directly from artisans, called Handmade at Amazon, set challenge other unique goods sites like Etsy.

Customers shopping the e-commerce giant can now discover more than 600 handmade items—already Prime eligible—by artisans from more than 60 countries around the world or buy from those in their own community. Each product page displays a location icon to show the customer where the artisan is based and contains a link to the artisan’s profile that explains how the products are made.

Etsy, which was founded in 2005 and could feel the strain from Amazon’s latest move most acutely, describes itself as a marketplace where people worldwide can connect through the Internet or in-person to make, sell and buy unique goods. In the company’s latest financial statement, the e-commerce retailer said it had almost 1.5 million active sellers and 21.7 active buyers, who helped it reach over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales (GMS).

All of the products on the Handmade at Amazon site are factory-free and must be made by hand. The site features various product categories including jewelry, home décor, artwork, stationery, party supplies, kitchen and dining, and furniture.

“We have designed a custom shopping experience for customers looking for handmade items by bringing together many of the best artisans in the world, and they’re adding thousands of items daily,” said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. “Knowing an item has a unique story behind it creates a personal experience that customers have told us makes owning handmade items special. Handmade at Amazon offers customers more than 80,000 quality handcrafted items from around the world, and over 30 percent can be personalized by artisans to delight customers.”

Developing a platform specifically for handmade goods could help Amazon bridge the gap between its third-party vendors, which account for more than 40 percent of the total units sold, and its buyers, Reuters reported. Its 2 million sellers sold more than 2 billion items globally in 2014.

The company launched Amazon Home Services in March, which helps customers find professional services on-demand.