With so many brands and sellers on Amazon, many are keen to distinguish themselves and gain an edge on the competition. Amazon has launched a program called the Amazon Brand Incubator, which is a service that sets up brands for success. Launched in 2018, this program was formerly known as Amazon Exclusives. This program is by application only.
Benefits of the Brand Incubator program
It functions to give sellers and brands access to enhanced promotional tools and merchandising support. These marketing features are not available to all sellers. Another benefit for brands who want to sell product exclusively through Amazon is the possibility of having their brand gated against unauthorized sellers. These added benefits make sense for many brands, and the Incubator program may be worth knowing about and exploring.
Who can use the program?
Any seller can apply to the Amazon Brand Incubator program. It is available to individuals and businesses with particular focus on those launching innovative products. It is also for sellers that need help building a brand that is new to the market.
There are few guidelines on Amazon’s approval process. Amazon has the ultimate say as to whether they will approve or reject those who have applied.
Incubator packages offered
Amazon offers three packages in the program, which are tiered in their support level: Core, Premium and Graduate.
This package allows brands to receive support across all areas of their business. This includes brand consulting services, such as marketing, merchandising and brand support.
This package gives sellers all of the above services, as well as access to a few premium features. This includes exposure in high-visibility marketing placements, additional data insights, and some logistics support. One thing to note is this package is by invitation-only.
This version is essentially a limited version of the Core package. To be enrolled in the Graduate version, the brand needs to have been part of either the Core or Premium package for six-plus months.
Breaking down the cost
Amazon doesn’t offer these perks for free. In order to participate after approval, sellers have to agree on additional referral fees. The Graduate package is the cheapest at 2%, followed by the Core at 5% and the Premium at 10%.
Sellers must meet eligibility criteria for the program. Sellers have to be able to hit performance goals in order to join. These are: Maintaining the account in good standing with the metrics for order defect rate, cancellation rate, and late-shipment rate within Amazon’s target requirements. Products must be a part of Fulfillment by Amazon or Seller Fulfilled Prime and the seller must be the brand owner and have enrolled in the Brand Registry.
Through the program and along with the offered services, all brands enrolled in the program will have access to the Brand HQ system. This is in addition to their usual Seller Central account. As with most things at Amazon, the tool is self-service. In the Brand HQ, sellers are able to connect with other brands through a forum and expand their knowledge with Amazon’s eLearning courses. Sellers also have the option to participate in “office hours,” where they can ask an Amazon Associate any lingering questions. Brands are able to submit Best Deals and input their products for merchandising opportunities, such as category page placements. Through Brand HQ, Amazon keeps brands up to date on the latest news and features.
Is the program worth the investment?
With the added cost of the program, many brands will wonder if it’s worth the additional fee? As usual, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer or solution. This will depend on your knowledge as a brand, what stage your brand is at in development, and if you already have additional support or expertise at managing your account. I have seen this program benefit sellers that are entering the marketplace with a new brand, or ones that and are new or limited in Amazon knowledge. For seasoned and experienced sellers, this program will be less useful, as it’s a more basic level of support that isn't as helpful. However, no matter how advanced you are, being up to date on Amazon knowledge is always useful.
How to apply
If you believe the Brand Incubator could be a good fit for your brand, you can apply through the Amazon Brand Incubator page. Amazon will contact you with a decision and more information. If you need seller and/or brand support, be sure to get in touch with eCommerce Nurse for a consultation.