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Look out, Etsy – Amazon’s gearing up to launch a rival site

Online crafts marketplace Etsy may have a battle on its hands after it emerged Amazon is prepping a similar site, called Handmade.

It’s not known when the e-commerce giant hopes to have the rival service up and running, though the signs are that it could be soon as it’s already been contacting existing Etsy members about its plans, the Wall Street Journal reported recently.

The invitation email, which offers Etsy artisans a “first peek” at Handmade, directs recipients to a form that asks them about which category their primary product falls into.

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The news of Amazon’s expected move into Etsy’s space will inevitably raise eyebrows at the New York-based company, which launched back in 2005.

The WSJ explains that while Etsy’s merchant fees will likely work out to be lower than Amazon’s per-sale cut, the much larger online audience enjoyed by Amazon could potentially lead to increased sales for sellers.

Amazon’s moves toward speedy shipping could, however, prove a challenge for some Etsy merchants, as many of the products on the site are only created when an order comes through. With that in mind, Amazon may exempt sellers on its Handmade site from its standard shipping rules.

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News of Amazon’s plans comes just days after 10-year-old Etsy saw a dramatic drop in its share value with its first release of financial figures since going public last month. The fall was attributed in part to a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, though the company said this was partly down to big spending on restructuring in an effort to strengthen its position in the global marketplace.

With Amazon now breathing down its neck, the company may be about to start looking at additional measures to shore up its defenses and keep its business strong.