Traditionally seen as the competition to mom-and-pop stores, Amazon recently allied itself with small and medium businesses (SMBs) by launching Amazon Storefronts. Launched in September 2018, the new platform allows customers to “discover unique products from small and medium businesses.”
What is Amazon Storefronts?
As part of Amazon Storefronts, the platform highlights small business owners, curated collections, and unique product collections.
Current categories on Amazon Storefronts feature family-focused businesses, like Lalabu Simple Babywearing and Desert Creek Honey. It allows customers to explore “Innovator-makers,” like littleBits, a company which encourages kids to invent with technology, and Combat Flip Flops, which makes products in combat zones by employing local manufacturing. Another unique spotlight is on women-owned businesses, for example, Crystal Swain-Bates is a children’s book author who creates diverse characters who have not been well-represented in kids’ literature.
The categories are wide-ranging and currently incorporate many products. Curated collections include categories like jewelry created by artisans, pet supplies, toys, innovative electronics and more. In order to connect customers to small businesses, Amazon provides a "Storefront of the Week" and showcases a business’s unique story and owner profile. Because of Amazon’s immense reach, this area allows small businesses a great deal of potential exposure.
At launch, Amazon also introduced its first ever national TV commercial featuring real businesses that sell on Amazon. The commercial can be viewed here.
SMBs benefit from Amazon’s focus
In the 2018 Amazon Small Business Report, Amazon estimates that SMBs selling on Amazon have generated more than 900,000 jobs. It also notes that more than 20,000 SMBs worldwide on Amazon have surpassed $1 million in sales.
The focus on SMBs seems to be paying off. In the final week of 2018, Amazon announced the holiday shopping season was the most successful ever, and highlighted SMBs specifically. According to a December 27 Amazon press release, “Small and medium-sized businesses had their best holiday season ever in our stores, with items sold growing at a faster rate than retail – more than 50 percent of items sold in our stores this holiday season came from small and medium-sized businesses.” The press release also noted that SMBs’ items sold this holiday season grew at a faster rate than retail items.
How to join Amazon Storefronts
Amazon Storefronts has invited certain sellers to participate in the program. However, Amazon is vague on specific requirements and information. For instance, there is no definition of what constitutes a medium-sized business.
Sellers can find out more information and apply through the Amazon Storefronts info page by answering some basic questions about their business and providing example ASINs.