5 New Amazon Exclusive Apparel Brands Launch; Amazon Brings Iris & Lilly to US

As we continue to track Amazon’s private label and exclusive brand efforts, we are seeing 5 new Amazon Exclusive apparel brands that have launched over the Black Friday weekend. This comes just after 10 new Amazon Exclusive apparel and accessories brands launched just before Black Friday.

The new brands are:

  • Blue Chill – men’s outerwear
  • Le Mou – women’s tops and dresses
  • Mou Meraki – wallets
  • Mountain Leads – men’s and women’s outerwear
  • Toes&Feet – socks

This brings the total number of Amazon Exclusive brands we are tracking to 247.

In addition, we are seeing that Amazon has launched its Iris & Lilly private label lingerie brand in the US. Amazon launched the brand last year in the UK & EU. Iris & Lilly is one of Amazon’s largest private label brands in Europe, with well over 700 items and growing. Only a couple dozen items have launched in the US thus far.

Amazon is bringing over products with just slight changes for the local US market. For example, this “Iris & Lilly Women’s Cotton Brazilian Knicker, Pack of 5” item in the UK has been renamed “Iris & Lilly Women’s Cotton Brazilian Panty, Pack of 5” in the US, but is otherwise unchanged. The US listing for the item notes, “European sizing – please refer to size chart for specific measurements to achieve the perfect fit.”

This international expansion of the Iris & Lilly brand follows similar geographical expansion of Amazon’s Find and Meraki private label brands into the US from Europe earlier this month.

We’ll continue to track the development of Amazon’s other private label and exclusive brands around the world.

Amazon Launches Alkove, A New Private Label Furniture Brand for Europe

Just two weeks after Amazon launched its third private label furniture brand in the US — Ravenna Home — Amazon has quietly launched its first private label furniture brand in Europe, we have found.

Amazon’s newest furniture line is called Alkove. Thus far, Amazon has launched six modern Italian leather sofas under the brand ranging in price from £892.40 for the Alkove Ruby 2-Seater Sofa to £1,463.22 for the Alkove Montgomery 3-Seater Sofa. None have reviews yet. Several more are available for pre-order only at this time.

Alkove marks Amazon’s first private label furniture foray in Europe. Amazon has been selling two Amazon Exclusive furniture brands, Furniture 247 and INFINIKIT, for a while. Amazon has also been selling home goods under the Rivet and Stone & Beam brands in Europe for the past couple months, but Amazon has yet to launch furniture under those brands in Europe yet that we have seen.

Globally, furniture has been one of Amazon’s fastest growing private label categories this year. In addition to the launch of Ravenna Home, Amazon’s two largest private label furniture brands in the US, Rivet and Stone & Beam, have seen significant SKU growth this year, adding dozens of new items each week.

Amazon now sells almost 800 items under the Stone & Beam brand and almost 700 more under the Rivet brand. Both brands have more than tripled their SKU volume since the beginning of the year by our count.

In mid-August, Amazon’s new exclusive home decor brand “Now House by Jonathan Adler” launched as well.

In addition to its growing European private label efforts, Amazon is doing more physical retail experiments in Europe as well. Later this week, Amazon will open holiday pop-ups across several European capital cities, Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam. Amazon Fashion ran its first pop-up in London a few weeks ago as well.

Continue to follow TJI as we track Amazon’s growing private label efforts.

Amazon Launches Lifelong Complete, A New Private Label Pet Food Brand for Europe

In addition to launching a new private label furniture brand in Europe, Amazon has also just quietly launched its first private label pet food brand for Europe as well. The new brand is called Lifelong Complete.

Amazon has launched six cat food products and two dog food products thus far under the Lifelong Complete brand. Each has launched with a number of Vine reviews.

In addition, Solimo pet food has launched in the UK as well in several flavors.

Amazon has been investing in expanding its private label and exclusive brand pet product lineup in the US in recent months. Solimo private label pet food just launched in the US in September. Amazon launched its Wag brand of private label dog food in the US earlier this year.

The US pet food market alone was estimated to be about $29 billion in 2017, according to the American Pet Products Association. PetSmart acquired Chewy.com this past April for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition ever. Amazon likely sees both 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 IAMS, Purina ONE, Rachel Ray, Natural Balance, and many more. On a general search like dog food on Amazon’s US store, current top brand advertisers include HIll’s Science Diet, Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE SmartBlend, and Rachel Ray Nutrish.

In addition to its growing European private label efforts, Amazon is doing more physical retail experiments in Europe as well. Later this week, Amazon will open holiday pop-ups across several European capital cities, Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam. Amazon Fashion ran its first pop-up in London a few weeks ago as well.

Continue to follow TJI as we track Amazon’s growing private label efforts.

Amazon Launches Its Find and Meraki Private Label Apparel Brands in the US

Over the last year we’ve been tracking the expansion of Amazon’s private label efforts around the world. While many brands remain specific to local country markets, Amazon has taken a handful of its private label brands global. For instance, Amazon has launched its Solimo, Happy Belly, Mama Bear, Presto!, and AmazonBasics brands not just in the US, but also in Europe and Asia.

While we’ve seen brands that started in the US expand internationally, we’re now seeing two Amazon private label brands that first launched in the UK and Europe quietly expand to the US for the first time: Find and Meraki. Amazon has not made any announcements regarding the move, but Amazon is now selling products under both brands in the US, we have found.

Since its launch in September 2017, Find has become one of Amazon’s biggest private label brands in Europe, now with well over 1,000 items, including about 900 in women’s fashion, 400 in men’s apparel, and 250 in shoes and accessories. The Find brand covers a variety of styles and price points, but is generally positioned more on the value end of the spectrum.

Meraki launched in May 2018 and offers about 125 “wardrobe essential” products from jumpers to shorts for men and women. The product line is heavy on neutral colors. The most expensive item currently is this £62.00 men’s blazer.

As Find and Meraki expand to the US, they’re entering a more crowded Amazon private label market. While we’ve identified 7 Amazon private label apparel brands in the UK and Europe, we are tracking 96 Amazon private label apparel brands in the US across a wide variety of products and styles. (Now, make that 98.)

With just a few products launched in the US thus far, it’s too early to tell what Amazon’s plans for Find and Meraki are exactly yet. Amazon has brought some Meraki products over apparently unchanged and is calling the brand “A European Brand” on its US product pages. By contrast, Amazon’s Find products in the US do not match products for sale in Europe that we can tell and are not described as “A European Brand” on product detail pages.

Big picture, we foresee Amazon continuing to expand its private label selection as a way to increase customer loyalty and eventually improve margins. We’ll continue tracking the development of Find, Meraki, and Amazon’s other private label and exclusive brands around the world.

Amazon Opening Holiday Pop-Ups in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam

Just a few weeks after Amazon Fashion’s first popup in the UK, Amazon is launching a series of Christmas-themed pop-ups in capital cities across Europe for the holidays. Amazon will be opening pop-ups in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam.

Amazon says it will call its first pop-up in Italy “Amazon Loft for Xmas.” It will be open from 16 to 26 November at no. 14 via Dante near Piazza Cordusio and Piazza Duomo in central Milan. The space will be about 500 square meters (about 5,000 square feet).

“With Amazon Loft for Xmas we want to give the opportunity to all those who wish to experience a unique and innovative experience linked to the Amazon world,” said Mariangela Marseglia, Country Manager of Amazon.it and Amazon.es. “We will recreate the environment and the soul of a house where we will gather all the most appreciated brands from our customers who have made possible the realization of this great project in Milan, for us a very important city because it has hosted the offices for 6 years of our Italian headquarters. Even with projects like this, which represent an added value for all citizens, we are convinced of consolidating our link with the city.” (This is a Google Translation of Marseglia’s original quote in Italian.)

The store will feature a mix of product categories, including technology, fashion, household goods, fitness, and beauty. Amazon will feature both its private label brands, such as Aurique, Find, Iris & Lily, Meraki, and Truth & Fable, as well as products from Disney, Garmin, HP, Lego, Microsoft, and Sony. Products will have QR Smile Codes that customers can scan with the Amazon app to get more info and buy. Amazon will also have various Alexa demos set up.

Amazon will also be running events during the 10 day period, including live performances and workshops. The popular Italian music duo Benji & Fede is scheduled to make an appearance next Saturday.

Amazon says the full list of participating brands includes Garmin, HP, P & G brands Oral B, Dash, Braun, Gillette, Swiffer, Fairy, Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Olaz, Clementoni, Disney, Kena Mobile, Lego, Microsoft, Asus, Foreo, Furbo, Geomag, Huawei, Illy, IMC Toys, Mars, Mediaset, Moulinex and Rowenta, Peg Perego, Philips Hue, Rizzoli, Scholl – Veet – Durex, Seat, Sony Mobile Communications, Sony Electronics, Sony Music, Sony Pictures and Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation), and Visa.

Photos of Amazon Fashion’s “Pop Up Shop Live” in London This Week

Amazon Fashion is running its first pop-up in the UK this week called “Pop Up Shop Love.” While Amazon has over 600 physical retail venues primarily in North America, this is the first pop-up of this type Amazon has launched in the UK.

How does it look? Here are some photos taken by visitors today:

Amazon is featuring its own private label goods throughout the store, including both clothing as well as electronics.

Amazon is driving some buzz in the UK fashion press as well. Per Vogue UK,

From October 23 – 27, Londoners will be able to purchase a revolving edit of women’s and menswear pieces. Autumn/winter 2018 trends will be the priority for the first two days, followed by fitness gear on the third, and street and partywear on the final days. Events including a beauty trends panel discussion hosted by Vogue beauty and lifestyle director Jessica Diner, a yoga session with Deliciously Ella founder Ella Mills, and Pepe Jeans denim customisation will also be peppered throughout the schedule, along with DJ and acoustic music sets. In short, if you stop by there will be something fabulous going on.

Take a look at Amazon’s agenda for the week below:

And for reference, here’s how Amazon is promoting the event on its UK site:

Amazon Expanding its Eono Essentials Private Label Brand in Europe

Both around the world and in the US, Amazon’s broadest and most category-agnostic private label brand has always been AmazonBasics. With thousands of items across dozens of categories, it’s become the most “generic” Amazon private label brand out there.

However, over recent months, we’ve seen Amazon expanding a second general private label brand in the UK and Europe: Eono Essentials.

Amazon registered the EU trademark for Eono on June 14, 2018. Around that time we were seeing about 10 items listed under the brand. Now, just 3 months later, we’re seeing over 80.

For instance, there’s the Eono Essentials Junior Waterproof Jacket, the Eono Essentials Universal Projector Ceiling Mount Bracket, the Eono Essentials 12 Pieces Paint Brushes Set with Palette, and the Eono Essentials Lightweight 21″ ABS Hard Shell Travel Trolley Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage Suitcase, just to name a few.

On some Eono items, Amazon says, “Eono Essentials is an Amazon brand licensed to third party manufacturers.”

Does Amazon plan to expand the Eono brand more broadly and create a second category-agnostic private label brand that perhaps has more emotional appeal than AmazonBasics?

As always, follow TJI for the latest on all of Amazon’s private label efforts.

Amazon Raises Minimum Wage for all US Employees to $15/Hour, UK as Well

In a move that will affect over 350,000 employees, Amazon announced today that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all US employees, effective November 1. The new rate applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

Amazon says the change “will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.” It will also apply to Whole Foods employees.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Amazon also said it would also, “Begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.”

“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, SVP of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs and former press secretary for President Obama.

Amazon said in its most recent annual report that its median employee compensation was $28,446 in 2017. Walmart announced in January that it was raising its minimum wage for US employees to $11 per hour.

Amazon also said it will phase out Restricted Stock Unit (RSU) compensation for hourly fulfillment and customer service employees. “They prefer the predictability and immediacy of cash to RSUs,” Amazon says. “The net effect of this change and the new higher cash compensation is significantly more total compensation for employees, without any vesting requirements, and with more predictability.”

Amazon has come under increased criticism for its pay disparity this year. Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced legislation called the Stop BEZOS Act that would tax corporations commensurate to the amount of government benefits low-wage employees receive in government benefits. Today, Sanders commended Amazon on their move.

“What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos’ lead,” Sanders tweeted.

President Trump has also criticized Amazon on a number of fronts this year. In March, he accused Amazon of “putting many thousands of retailers out of business” and of receiving unfair tax treatment. In July 2017, he called Amazon a “monopoly.” However, Trump’s Amazon criticisms have not included commentary on the company’s hourly wages.

Amazon also announced today that it is increasing minimum wages paid to its UK employees. Starting November 1, minimum wages will increase to £10.50 ($13.59) per hour for all employees in the London area and £9.50/hour for staff in all other parts of the country.

Amazon has over 17,000 employees in Britain and plans to hire more than 20,000 seasonal employees for the holiday.

Amazon said the impact of the higher compensation on its financial reports will be reflected in its quarterly guidance.

Amazon Hiring for 67 Alexa Automotive Engineering and Design Roles

Yesterday’s Echo product announcements were primarily focused on the home, but Alexa Auto made it into the lineup as well. While Amazon didn’t spend a large portion of its press event talking about its automotive plans, it is currently hiring for dozens of engineering design roles as part of its Alexa Automotive efforts.

Amazon is working with a variety of car manufacturers on Alexa integrations and announced the Auto SDK back in August.

Currently, Amazon.jobs shows 67 Alexa Automotive jobs currently open. The vast majority are engineering and design roles. Senior architect, software development, language specialist, VUI design, and QA roles are largely based out of the Santa Clara office, while other research scientist and marketing roles are generally based in Seattle.

Automotive acoustics engineer and product management roles are based in Sunnyvale, and partner manager and design technologist roles are based out of Munich and Tokyo. Several engineering roles are also based in Toronto and Gdansk.

EU Announces It Is Researching Amazon’s Relationship with Its Merchants

One growing narrative of an area of potentially increased regulatory oversight for Amazon is that of how it relates to merchants. In particular, what insights it gleans from how customers interact with merchants on its platform, how it applies those insights to its own strategy (private label and otherwise), and how it does or does not share back data with merchants.

Along those lines, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who was recently responsible for imposing a USD $5 billion fine on Google for Android violations, yesterday announced that she is researching Amazon’s practices in these areas. Per Quartz:

On Wednesday (Sept. 19), Vestager announced that she had started sending questionnaires to merchants who sell on Amazon, a first step toward ascertaining how the company uses the data it collects from those merchants. Specifically, she will be trying to find out if Amazon uses data from its third-party sellers to give itself an unfair advantage when competing against them in selling its own products.

“These are very early days and we haven’t formally opened a case,” Vestager said. “We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture… because this is also what a lot of people are talking about right now.” Amazon’s dual role as the world’s biggest online platform for third-party sellers and a retailer itself merits examination, according to the antitrust chief.

Vestager and the EU have the authority to levy substantial fines (up to 10% of revenue) on companies that they deem in violation of anti-trust behavior. In the case of Amazon, that would mean a substantial amount. We’ll keep tracking the EU’s investigation here on TJI.

Image credit: EU