TJI Amazon Briefing for January 10, 2019

Good afternoon! Today’s TJI Amazon Briefing covers the latest on Amazon’s Echo Auto efforts, autonomous robots, Amazon Go competitors, DC Comics coming to Amazon, IMDb Freedive, the FBI piloting Amazon Rekognition, Ring security, Amazon’s support services for sellers, and more.

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Introducing the TJI Amazon Healthcare Overview

While Amazon has historically been known as an online retailer and cloud services provider, it is making increasingly substantial moves in healthcare. In our view, the healthcare category represents one of the largest growth opportunities for Amazon over the coming decade.

That’s why we’ve created the TJI Amazon Healthcare Overview. The TJI Amazon Healthcare Overview aims to outline both what Amazon is doing now across product categories and where Amazon could be going in the future. It is intended to be a starting point for researchers and analysts to navigate the breadth and depth of Amazon’s healthcare initiatives.

For professionals interested in tracking Amazon’s healthcare efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Briefing, which covers the latest developments on at Amazon from around the world.

Amazon Launches Wag Brand Private Label Cat Food

Amazon continues to expand its private label pet food assortment. It has just launched Wag wet cat food in a variety of flavors. This is the first time Amazon has launched private label cat foods that we have seen.

The launch is the latest in a string of private label pet product launches from Amazon over the last year. After launching its Wag brand of private label dog food earlier last year, Amazon then launched Solimo brand dog food in September. Amazon has positioned its Solimo dog food at a lower price point, despite positioning it as “premium.”

A number of Amazon Exclusive “Our Brand” pet products brands have also launched in recent months, including Direct Protect Plus (pet shampoo), Dogg Cookie (pet treats), Kruz Pet (pet accessories), Olaganics (pet food supplements), Pet Craft Supply Co. (pet toys and apparel), Simply Perfection (premium pet food), Sterling (pet accessories), and Zoeez Naturals (pet food supplements).

In November, Amazon also launched Lifelong Complete, a new private label pet brand it is marketing in Europe. We haven’t seen Amazon market the Lifelong Complete brand in the US or Asia yet.

The US pet food market was estimated to be about $29 billion in 2017, according to the American Pet Products Association. PetSmart acquired Chewy.com last year for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition ever. Amazon likely sees a need and an opportunity here to build preference for its private label and exclusive brands and drive long term loyalty.

Pet food also represents an opportunity for Amazon to grow its advertising revenues. Amazon’s Pet Supplies hub page now features a mix of Amazon private label, Amazon exclusive, and third party brands. Brands paying for sponsored listings with the Pet Supplies hub include Hill’s Science Diet, IAMS, Purina ONE, Fancy Feast, Rachel Ray, and others.

TJI Amazon Briefing for January 8, 2019

Good afternoon! Today’s TJI Amazon Briefing covers the latest in Amazon’s private label efforts, a new sampling advertising pilot, new Key delivery services, new Ring smart home products, a new perishable meal platform, changes to product page layouts, AWS, and more.

Leading professionals rely on TJI. A TJI Briefing subscription is only USD $149/month, or $995/year, for an individual subscriber.
We deliver the information and insights that executives and analysts need to understand what Amazon is doing and where it is going. Subscribe or Learn More

The TJI Amazon Brand Report – January 2019 Edition

TJI Amazon Brand Database – The Independent Global List of Amazon Private Label and Exclusive Brands

As one of the largest internet retailers and e-commerce platforms in a growing number of markets around the world, Amazon holds a unique position in an increasing number of retail product categories. Over the last decade, Amazon has introduced a number of private label and exclusive brands, and recently it has accelerated its efforts by bringing to market both many new brands and an increasing number of products offered under them.

But, while Amazon labels these brands in different ways in different places, there’s no singular comprehensive reference for manufacturers, brand owners, or retailers to find all of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands in one place. That’s why we have created the TJI Amazon Brand Database — the independent global list of Amazon private label and exclusive brands.

      

450+ Private Label and Exclusive Brands

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Amazon introduced 7 new private label brands and over 150 new exclusive “Our Brands,” bringing the total number of Amazon brands we are tracking to over 450.

Some brands, like Solimo, are in use by Amazon globally. Others, like Alkove (one of Amazon’s furniture brands in the UK/EU) or Silly Apples (one of Amazon’s children’s clothing brands in the US) are only in use in one of Amazon’s country stores.

All told, we’ve identified 135 Amazon private label brands and 330+ Amazon exclusive brands from Amazon’s retail sites around the world as of today, for a total of 450+ private label and exclusive brands combined. That represents a much larger number than has previously been identified in any reports we’ve seen.

As a few examples, some Amazon private label brands that you may not have seen before include Movian, Alkove, Ravenna Home, Lifelong Complete, Revly, Eono Essentials, Filgate, Leather Architect, The Casual Grey, and Hem & Seam.

And the number is growing.

From Car Care to Cheese, Increasing Product Category Coverage

While Amazon’s brand portfolio is largest in clothing — there are over 180 private label and exclusive clothing, shoes, accessories brands in the US alone — Amazon brands run the gamut of consumer product categories.

For example, we count over 40 food and grocery brands, 60 healthcare and beauty brands, and 20 household goods brands in the US alone. From Solimo razors to AmazonBasics cat hotels, from Rivet mattresses to Happy Belly cookies, Amazon’s thousands of private label and exclusive brand items cover a greater number of retail categories than you may think.

A Growing Global Footprint

While the greatest number of Amazon private label brands are marketed in the US, Amazon has made efforts to build its brand portfolio around the world as well.

For example, in the UK and EU, Amazon has many private label clothing brands that don’t exist in other Amazon markets. And in India, Amazon has a spectrum of private label and exclusive clothing brands ranging from the traditional to the modern.

Dive In

We continue to find new brands on an ongoing basis, and we predict the number of brands is only going to grow.

The TJI Amazon Brand Database is a starting point for researchers and analysts to navigate the breadth and depth of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands.

For professionals interested in tracking Amazon’s private brand efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Briefing, which covers the latest developments across Amazon’s brand portfolio.

17 Amazon Exclusive Brands Added to TJI Amazon Brand Database

We’ve added 17 Amazon Exclusive brands to the TJI Amazon Brand Database.

It’s the first time we’ve seen brands in the small appliance market. We’re also seeing several new furniture brands, and gaming accessories. All worth keeping an eye on.

The new brands are:

  1. Alpha Mats – exercise mats
  2. Brampton – outdoor furniture
  3. HomeVolts – small appliances
  4. Hunter’s Tail – sporting goods
  5. iMW – gaming accessories
  6. JC Home – furniture
  7. Kruz Pet – pet accessories
  8. Luby – small appliances
  9. LyricLyfe – music themed clothing
  10. Pioneer Square – furniture
  11. Pomona Organic – juices
  12. Rainier – gas appliances
  13. Red Hook – furniture
  14. Rockpoint – furniture
  15. Sunday Oasis – women’s activewear
  16. Taylor + Logan – modern furniture
  17. Tenten – smart plugs

For more information, see theTJI Amazon Brand Database or Subscribe to the TJI Briefing.

Amazon Building New Perishable Meal Platform for “Time-Starved Customers”

Speculation has been growing about Amazon’s recent grocery efforts. On the one hand, Amazon has built out its first few Amazon Go automated food stores in urban centers and is likely to roll the concept out much more broadly. On the other hand, Amazon has been leveraging its Whole Foods Markets real estate as mini Prime Now food distribution centers, and could build out more Whole Foods stores to be able to broaden its geographic reach and shorten delivery times in more cities and suburban areas.

But what will Amazon’s product strategy be?

An important part of what Amazon is currently thinking appears to be ready-made meals. According to a recent Amazon job posting (which has been taken down), Amazon is planning to build a “new perishable food platform” to deliver “world class meal solutions for time-starved customers.” The listing reads:

Are you interested in changing how customers solve the “what’s for dinner?” dilemma? If yes, Amazon is looking for somebody with your enthusiasm and skills to build and lead the team that delivers world class meal solutions for time-starved customers. We are looking for an entrepreneurial, analytical, operationally-minded category leader to deliver a new perishable food platform. This role will require the ability to set a vision and drive the end-to-end strategy that will fuel the growth and long term profitability of this critical assortment. The right person for this role will have deep experience developing and commercializing a portfolio of perishable packaged foods, communicating effectively to stakeholders and closely with the cross-functional teams as well as owning the P&L.

Ready-made meals is an interesting strategy because it leverages two major competitive advantages Amazon has been investing in heavily: 1) its Prime Now network of last mile delivery solutions, and 2) its growing network of Amazon Go and Whole Foods food distribution centers, er, grocery stores. Ready meals are a logical application to run on top of this infrastructure.

By focusing on ready meals, Amazon is apparently choosing a different strategy than the “mail-order ingredients you prepare yourself” meal kit companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and many more. Instead, Amazon is focusing on the “time-starved” segment of the population. We think that makes sense. (Note, however, that Amazon does offer its own selection of non-perishable meal kits, but they appear to be sparsely reviewed. There is also a single perishable meal from Tyson available via AmazonFresh in our spot check.) Amazon does also offer perishable foods at Whole Foods and Amazon Go currently.

By ramping up its ready meal efforts, Amazon will also be competing more broadly with restaurants that offer takeout or delivery, and the logistics networks like Uber Eats that are virtualizing them. (Amazon is also building its own food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, that is available in about 20 cities.) Just as Amazon has built out its own portfolio of private label brands across multiple retail categories, including non-perishable food, we could see Amazon creating its own “restaurant-like” private label brands for different types of ready meals (pizza, Thai, etc).

Given the investments Amazon has made in grocery and logistics thus far, we expect perishable meals and related new food products to be an area that Amazon is prepared to invest in and grind it out over a period of time.

A Few Updates on AmazonBasics Private Label Children’s Toys

Last month, we found several new AmazonBasics private label toys for toddlers and kids listed on Amazon.com.

After we found them, Amazon removed the item listings. Here is what we’ve found since then.

First, Amazon has since restored one of the product listings that it originally removed — the AmazonBasics Kids’ Toy Storage Organizer. That item is now for sale (with two color options) and has half a dozen Vine reviews from late December listed on its product page.

Second, we believe Amazon is planning on releasing the other items it posted and then removed in the relatively near future. We will follow up again if and when they start shipping.

Third, Amazon added an additional AmazonBasics toy to its site, called the AmazonBasics Soft Play Barrel, but has apparently just removed that item as well. We did grab a screenshot of the product page for that item, which is below. Like with the other AmazonBasics toys that Amazon added to the site and then removed, the listing for the Soft Play Barrel says the item is intended “for a playroom at home, a day care center, or a preschool classroom.”

In general, we think private label toys for young children represent an area that Amazon should be able to gain traction in. While toys aimed at older children are often branded with licensed IP, toddler toys are more generic. That being said, we could see Amazon moving into several categories of toys for older children as well.

On the whole, Amazon continues to ramp up its private label and exclusive brand selection across retail categories. Amazon is hiring both in the US and internationally to support this effort, and is growing the volume of exclusive private brands it offers through the Amazon Accelerator program.

This past November, Amazon mailed out its first printed holiday toy catalog to millions of customers. Amazon said that customers ordered over 18 million toys on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Amazon has been featuring Amazon Exclusive toys in its new Amazon 4-star retail stores as well.

Interesting Amazon Job Listings: Head of DSP, Chip Design, Alexa Shopping, & More

To get a sense of where Amazon is going, we regularly look at where they’re hiring. Here are 8 interesting areas in which Amazon is growing headcount this week:

1. Chip Design Engineer

We are looking for exceptional engineers to join the top-tier team that develops next generation semiconductor platform based on revolutionary architecture. Engineers will participate in design and verification activities working on our next generation products.

2. Head of Amazon DSP Services

Our Demand Side Platform (DSP) is becoming increasingly popular with major advertisers worldwide and is competing head-to-head with the big players in the space. We believe we understand e-commerce advertising better than anybody else and want to turn it into a science of its own that all advertisers can leverage for their programmatic advertising.

As a Sr. Manager you will own a large portion of our services team that works with our enterprise agency and advertiser clients to drive adoption of our DSP. Your team will consist of consultants providing services to enable our DSP customers to drive positive ROI for their programmatic advertising strategies. You will also own a team of solutions architects to drive data and campaign management integrations with client trading desks.

3. Senior Applied Scientist – Alexa Shopping

As an applied researcher in the Alexa Shopping Research team, you will be responsible for research, design, and implementation of new AI technologies for voice assistants. You will collaborate with scientists, engineers, and product partners locally and abroad. Your work will inventing, experimenting with, and launching new features, products and systems. Ideally you have a expertise in at least one of the following fields: Web search & data mining, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, Speech Processing or Artificial Intelligence, with both hands-on experience and publications at top relevant academic venues.

4. Senior Manager Beer Wine & Spirits (Germany)

Amazon is looking for a talented, driven and experienced Head of Vendor Management (m/f) within the Alcoholic Beverages business. The successful candidate will be responsible for selection expansion including identifying potential brand and product business opportunities, building direct relationships with key suppliers, negotiating contracts, terms & conditions, managing vendor setup and new item setup processes, working with suppliers to build comprehensive selection, setting prices, developing collaborative marketing and promotions, driving sales and margin improvements.

5. Contracts Manager, Amazon Studios

We are looking for a Contracts Manager to support Amazon Studio’s rapidly growing businesses. We are currently looking for someone who has the uncanny ability to always know where they are needed, can identify and implement process improvements, and can effectively work cross-functionally with other teams. Your responsibilities will include: negotiating, documenting, and managing a variety of third party contractual relationships, including releases, promotion agreements, talent agreements, creative services agreements, master services agreements, certificates, submission agreements, quitclaims, option notices, and NDAs; developing internal processes to track transactions from beginning to end; setting up and maintaining rights management systems; tracking production and post-production deliverables; and coordinating with clients and outside counsel.

6. Program Manager, Food Safety and Compliance

This program management position will coordinate and oversee the execution of consumable inventory related regulatory compliance for all North American operations sites. The program manager is crucial to the Food Safety Program support for site launches; aligning and improving processes among the core stakeholders; and project management of renewals and new applications for fast growing portfolio of operational sites.

7. Live Video Operations Manager

Amazon Live Video (part of prime video offering) delivers Live TV and Live Events, including many sports leagues (NFL, ATP, AVP, UFC) to Windows and MacOS PCs, portable devices, gaming consoles, and smart TVs. Today, we serve customers in the US, Japan, UK, and Germany, and we aspire to grow– a lot.

8. Senior Manager Public Policy UK and Ireland

As Amazon rapidly grows the business and team in the UK and Ireland, we are seeking a Senior Manager Public Policy, UK and Ireland to represent and advocate the company’s policy positions in the UK. S/he will lead Amazon’s public policy and government affairs strategy, with an emphasis on managing Amazon’s relationships with the UK and Irish political stakeholders. S/he will be a member of the European and Global Public Policy teams and will work closely with Amazon’s business, legal, corporate communications and other teams in the UK, across Europe and the globe. This role is based in our UK Corporate Office in London.

 

Amazon Expands Cross-Promotional Real Estate on “Our Brands” Apparel Product Pages

Amazon is constantly tweaking the design of product pages. For instance, yesterday we found that Amazon has integrated its “Scout” ML-based product recommendations tool onto furniture product pages.

Today we are seeing some new designs on Amazon’s private label and exclusive brand apparel product pages in the US that contain expanded cross-promotional real estate for “Our Brands” and other Amazon apparel-related services. It’s the first time we have seen these particular layouts.

Here are some examples. In each, we are seeing two cross-promotional modules directly below the product bullet points. We are only seeing these on product pages for “Our Brands” (i.e. Amazon private label and Amazon Exclusive brand) apparel items.

In this first example, we are seeing a “Beauty Essentials, Amazon Exclusives” module that promotes Our Brands items from the beauty category, followed by a “More like this from Our Brands” module that is promoting Amazon private label and exclusive brand apparel items.

In the second example below, we see a “Our New Year, New You Ambassadors” module promoting the new Celebrity Fitness Stores we found earlier this week, followed by the “More like this from Our Brands” module promoting Amazon private label and exclusive brand apparel items.

And in this third example, we see a Shopbop image ad (Shopbop is an Amazon-owned retail site that Amazon still runs), followed again by the “More like this from Our Brands” module.

Sometimes, Amazon puts paid ads in place of the first module in each example above, but nearly all Our Brand apparel product pages we are seeing now include the “More like this from Our Brands” module in this location.

This is another example of the type of “marketing support” Amazon offers for participating in the Our Brands program.

As always, we’ll continue tracking Amazon’s Our Brand marketing efforts.