Amazon Launches ‘Storefronts’ to Promote Small Businesses
Amazon.com has launched a new portal it’s calling Storefronts to celebrate small and midsize merchants that sell on its platform. The retailer is starting this first in the U.S., focussing on some 20,000 merchants “from all 50 states.” There are roughly 300,000 small businesses from the U.S. selling on Amazon today. Storefronts will highlight different merchants with videos that profile the owners, and highlight a selection of items that they sell via Amazon. It will also feature the small businesses in a marketing campaign. No links, however, to a homepage of their own or their physical stores, if the SMBs happen to have either.
Total Retail's Take: It's reasonable to expect that Storefronts will be another way for Amazon to try to lure more merchants to do business on its marketplace. SMBs have a love-hate relationship with Amazon: they love the widespread exposure the marketplace provides their brands, generating traffic levels they couldn't achieve elsewhere. However, they've long been critical of Amazon for its heavy-handedness in controlling the customer experience, requiring conformity in all aspects of selling on the platform. Is Amazon extending an olive branch to SMBs in a genuine attempt to make them feel more valued and highlighted on the platform, which in turn should increase sales for their brands, or is it simply looking to attract more sellers to its platform, which in turn drives more money to Amazon in the long run? The pessimist in me believes it's more likely to be the latter.