Amazon Expands SMB Ties With Launch Of Storefronts
“Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers," says Amazon VP Nicholas Denissen.
Amazon is continuing to bridge the line with online and offline commerce with the rollout of “Amazon Storefronts,” which will feature products and deals U.S. small and medium-sized businesses available for purchase through the e-commerce giant’s site and platform.
At launch, Storefronts boasts a “curated collection of over one million products, and deals from nearly 20,000 SMBs.”
The introduction of the SMB feature appears to be a direct challenge to Facebook’s and Google’s moves to connect SMBs to their respective commerce and messaging-based sales channels. The Storefront effort also reflects the deeper focus on local commerce via on-demand, something Amazon has been particularly focused on as it opens more fulfillment centers around the U.S. to deliver orders more quickly. Even Apple has tried to insert itself in the local commerce space through its pay and order options in its iMessage-based Business Chat, though that is aimed at major chains like 1-800-Flowers, Home Depot, Hilton, and others.
But for Amazon, the singular interest here is in getting independent regional and local businesses to align with its platform. For example, in a challenge to Google My Business and Facebook Pages, Amazon Storefront partners will also get profiled businesses through featured videos and stories as a way to make
Amazon Storefronts features a variety of product categories including Back to School, Halloween, Home, Kitchen, Pet Supplies and Books.
The promotions for SMBs partnering with Amazon Storefront includes:
Storefront of the Week: Each week the store will highlight a featured U.S. business through a fun video to help introduce the many faces and types of businesses that customers are shopping from on Amazon Storefronts.
Meet the Business Owner: Rotating exploratory feature that profiles U.S. small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon. At launch, customers can learn and browse more than a dozen businesses that are Family-focused, Artisans, Innovator-Makers and Women-owned Businesses.
The launch announcement highlights Holly Rutt, co-founder of Little Flower Soap Co. based in Michigan (pictured above). Rutt’s “success story” will also be part of Amazon TV ads touting the new SMB program.
“Since we started selling on Amazon in October 2016, our sales have nearly doubled,” Rutt said. “Due to our success, we have been able to hire new team members from our community, including full and part time jobs. “We believe that customers like to know the story behind what they’re buying. When there is worry about creating jobs, it’s reassuring for customers to know their purchases are helping sustain jobs in the U.S.”
To demonstrate its value to skeptics worried that e-commerce is more hindrance than helper to local retailers, earlier this year, Amazon introduced the Small Business Impact Report, which stated that SMBs selling on Amazon were estimated to have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide. In 2017, more than 300,000 U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses started selling on Amazon.
“We’ve created a custom, one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for interesting, innovative and high quality products from American businesses from all across the country,” said Nicholas Denissen, a VP for Amazon. “Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers. We’re championing their success with this new store and a national advertising campaign featuring a successful Michigan business selling on Amazon to customers across the U.S. and worldwide.”