- Michaels on Wednesday announced the launch of MakerPlace by Michaels, a new online marketplace. The platform is designed to connect shoppers with sellers of handmade goods and will also offer artist-led classes, the retailer said.
- At launch, sellers have already listed “hundreds of thousands of SKUs” along with how-to classes for beginners, hobbyists and aspiring professionals, Michaels said. MakerPlace has its own e-commerce experience, on a separate webpage from the core Michaels site.
- The launch of MakerPlace follows Michaels’ February debut of a third-party marketplace for high-volume sellers of craft supplies, componentry and decor. Both marketplaces will continue to operate simultaneously, a spokesperson confirmed to Retail Dive.
Michaels said the goal of MakerPlace is to lower the barrier to entry for artists and to help them make more money on sales. The new marketplace offers free product listings. Sellers can also earn money by selling seats for virtual classes or by posting how-to guides with supply lists that earn a commission when materials are purchased on Michaels.com.
The arts and crafts retailer is joining a growing segment as companies seek to capture a piece of the handcrafted e-commerce retail market that features established players like Amazon and Etsy, and emerging players, like Artisans Cooperative.
MakerPlace offers two membership tiers, basic and professional. The free basic membership has a 4% referral fee, while the professional tier has a 2% referral fee. The new marketplace launched after a three-month beta test and its operational structure and features incorporate feedback from makers and artists. As a sub-brand, MakerPlace also offers growth possibilities, the spokesperson said.
“Our research found that nearly three in four makers believe there’s a void in the online marketplace landscape today, and that existing platforms come with pain points like high upfront costs, increasing fees for product listings and competition with an overflow of mass-produced goods,” Heather Bennett, Michaels’ executive vice president of marketing and e-commerce, said in an announcement. “MakerPlace by Michaels was designed in direct response to these challenges with the goal of helping handmade artists and makers succeed.”
The Michaels.com marketplace, on the other hand, is aimed at giving shoppers an endless aisle online. It’s not intended to be a consumer-facing brand, the company said, and appears side by side with Michaels’ online assortment. The effort increased the retailer’s available SKUs from 250,000 to more than 1.3 million.