Amazon Storefronts is a Sign of the Political Times

This morning, Amazon announced Amazon Storefronts, which Amazon describes as “a curated collection of over one million products, and deals from nearly 20,000 U.S. small and medium-sized businesses.” Amazon adds, “To support the launch of the new store, Amazon is unveiling its first-ever national TV commercial featuring real businesses that sell on Amazon.”

What Amazon has built:

  • A hub page on Amazon.com featuring curated items from American SMBs
  • A TV commercial

What’s unclear:

  • How much traffic Amazon will drive to the Storefronts hub page, and thus how much American SMBs will directly benefit from this effort
  • How much awareness Amazon will buy/create with its TV spot (and if Amazon will target certain states/markets with their media buys)

Context:

  • In the US, President Trump has espoused protectionist trade policies since taking office.
  • President Trump has also accused Amazon of “putting many thousands of retailers out of business” and of receiving unfair tax treatment. Trump has also called Amazon a “monopoly.”
  • Amazon says today, “Half the items sold on Amazon are from small and medium-sized businesses” (though Amazon does not say how many of those SMBs are US-based).
  • Earlier this year, Amazon released a “Small Business Impact Report” claiming that 1 million US SMBs sell on Amazon.

Bottom line:

  • Amazon wants to remind US politicians how many American SMBs benefit from the Amazon marketplace, while also attracting more SMBs to its platform and providing customers looking to buy American products a curated hub. However, it remains to be seen how much traffic Amazon will drive to the Storefronts hub.
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