Amazon Shipping added to TJI Amazon Product Database

We’ve added Amazon Shipping to the TJI Amazon Product Database.

  • Amazon Shipping – handles shipments from third-party merchants to Amazon warehouses (invite-only program in the Los Angeles area only currently)

Eugene Kim of CNBC has a story today on the program and highlights that Amazon is offering lower prices than FedEx or UPS for certain shipments from seller warehouses to Amazon fulfillment centers.

Serta Simmons Launches “Nod by Tuft & Needle,” An Amazon Exclusive Mattress Brand

T&N, which earlier this year merged with traditional mattress giant Serta Simmons, has just launched an Amazon Exclusive mattress brand called Nod by Tuft & Needle today.

The move comes just weeks after Amazon launched its own AmazonBasics private label foam mattress, and then followed that up by launching a second, higher end private label mattress under its Rivet brand just two weeks ago.

The first Nod product line is a set of foam mattresses priced between Amazon’s AmazonBasics and Rivet private label foam mattresses. Prices range from $275 for the twin to $495 for the king.

Nod is the second Amazon Exclusive mattress brand to launch in the past two weeks. In late October, Innocor launched its Revel brand of Amazon Exclusive mattresses as well. Innocor also makes foam used in Amazon’s Rivet mattress.

Given Amazon’s distribution power and the opportunities it is offering through its Our Brands program, we’re seeing more and more manufacturers creating Amazon Exclusive brands. It feels like we’re very much in the “rush into the greenfield” phase, with four new mattress brands being launched in the last month alone.

TJI Amazon Briefing for November 8, 2018

This is the TJI Amazon Briefing for November 8, 2018.

Good afternoon! As we inch closer to Black Friday, here are the latest developments on Amazon from around the world.

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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.

Banana Kingdom (Not Republic), a New Amazon Exclusive Brand, Launches

Banana Kingdom, a new Amazon Exclusive children’s apparel brand, has launched, we have found.

Currently, 18 items are for sale under the Banana Kingdom brand, ranging from hoodies to dresses. Somewhat unusually, a few of the initial Vine reviews being posted for Banana Kingdom products are 1 to 3 stars. Usually, we see initial Vine reviews in the 4 to 5 star range.

In addition, it’s the first time that we’ve seen an official Amazon Exclusive brand launch with a name that could be considered “reminiscent” of a well-known existing fashion brand.

Banana Republic launched in 1978 and is now owned by Gap, Inc. Banana Kingdom follows the “Banana [form of government]” pattern. We do not know Gap’s view on whether it believes the brands are too similar or not. If Gap felt the brands were too similar, it would be interesting to see how Amazon handled that. We would assume Amazon feels comfortable with the Banana Kingdom brand, or else it would not have launched it under its “Our Brands” private brands program.

Unlike most Amazon Exclusive brands, we have not yet been able to identify the owner of the Banana Kingdom brand. No trademark records exist for the brand that we can find. If you know who the owner is and would like to share that with us, our contact information is here.

For now, we’ll continue to track Banana Kingdom, as we do all Amazon private label and exclusive brands.

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.

Aurohealth Launches Primary Health, An Amazon-Exclusive OTC Pharmaceuticals Brand

Aurohealth, a maker of generic store brand pharmaceuticals, has quietly launched a new Amazon Exclusive OTC pharmaceuticals brand called Primary Health, we have found. It’s the latest in a series of new health care brands to be created exclusively for Amazon as the company seeks to further expand its pharmaceutical efforts.

Aurohealth is a division of Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma, which reported revenues of USD $2.6 billion last year.

Primary Health becomes the fourth Amazon Exclusive OTC medicines brand we have found, joining Basic Care (Perrigo), SoundHealth (Bestco), and Wellness Basics (PL Developments). Last week, a new Amazon Exclusive brand of home blood monitors called Choice launched. Just a few weeks ago, Amazon closed its acquisition of online pharmacy Pillpack, for which it said it paid $753 million net of cash. Amazon is also ramping up its B2B healthcare sales efforts, which it says is seeing “rocket ship” growth.

We are seeing 4 Primary Health products that have launched thus far:

  1. Primary Health Maximum Strength Mucus Relief DM (guaifenesin and dextromethorphan tablets, generic version of Maximum Strength Mucinex DM)
  2. Primary Health Mucus Relief DM (guaifenesin and dextromethorphan tablets, generic version of Mucinex DM)
  3. Primary Health Acid Reducer (esomeprazole magnesium capsules, generic version of Nexium 24 HR)
  4. Primary Health Acid Reducer (omeprazole magnesium tablets, generic version of Prilosec OTC)

These have all launched with Vine reviews rating the products 4 to 4.5 stars.

Given Amazon’s rapidly expanding healthcare efforts, there is much speculation about where the company might go next.

Amazon has formed a Boston-based health care “non-profit-seeking” joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan and hired a CEO, surgeon and public health leader Atul Gawande. Gawande has yet to announce more details on the initiative’s direction or strategy, other than that he wants it to, “Take some of the middlemen out of the system.”

Amazon is in the process of rolling out Amazon Go automated grocery and convenience stores in urban areas. Were Amazon to start using those stores to distribute pharmaceutical products, it could affect current leading retail pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, grocery pharmacies, and others. (Aurohealth also appears to make products for CVS, as some CVS brand products share customer service phone numbers with Primary Health brand products.)

Amazon has also begun the process of applying to sell health and life insurance in India. It is also rumored to be exploring the insurance markets in the USUK, and other countries as well. While Amazon does not offer consumer insurance directly as of now, it has consumer data that could theoretically help it to assess risk and lower fraud rates.

As for Primary Health, we would generally expect Aurohealth and Amazon to roll out additional products over the coming weeks and months. We have reached out to Aurohealth for comment about the company’s plans for its Primary Health brand and will update this if we receive a response. Aurohealth shares an address with AuroMedics Pharma, which is listed as the owner of the Primary Health trademark filing.

Like other Amazon Exclusive brands, Primary Health products are now being promoted in Amazon search results as “Top Rated from Our Brands”. As part of its Amazon Accelerator program to grow its portfolio of private brands, Amazon is offering marketing services like these promotional placements to help give Amazon Exclusive brands a boost. Amazon Exclusive brands “receive a suite of marketing support executed by our Amazon merchandising team. Products with high ratings and reviews can receive additional placements across Amazon.com,” Amazon says.

GNC Launches 2nd Amazon Exclusive Brand, “Informed Nutrition by GNC”

One month ago, GNC, one of the largest retailers of vitamins, supplements, and other health and nutrition products, quietly launched a new Amazon Exclusive brand called CHALLENGE by GNC.

GNC has not made any announcements about the new strategy or launch of the new brand that we have seen. However, today we are observing the launch of a second Amazon Exclusive brand called Informed Nutrition by GNC.

We are seeing 3 Informed Nutrition by GNC products that have launched thus far:

  1. Informed Nutrition by GNC Women’s Smartsource Multivitamin
  2. Informed Nutrition by GNC Women’s Smartsource 50-Plus Multivitamin
  3. Informed Nutrition by GNC Concentrated Fish Oil

These are all launching with Vine reviews rating the products 4 to 4.5 stars. We would generally expect GNC and Amazon to roll out additional products under the brand over the coming weeks and months.

GNC, which has seen declining revenues over the past two years from $2.68 billion in 2015 to $2.45 billion in 2017, operates over 8,000 stores around the world and over 3,000 in the United States. Amidst changing retail trends, GNC announced earlier this year that it intended to close approximately 200 stores in 2018.

Nevertheless, GNC is looking to discover if going the Amazon Exclusive route offers a growth opportunity. If GNC launching one Amazon Exclusive brand was an example, then two may not be a trend yet, but it’s heading in that direction.

We expect to see more of these kinds of moves in the coming months, as Amazon is looking to increase the volume of exclusive brands on its platform. As part of its Amazon Accelerator program to grow its portfolio of private brands, Amazon is offering marketing services such as promotional placements in search results to help give Amazon Exclusive brands a boost. Amazon Exclusive brands “receive a suite of marketing support executed by our Amazon merchandising team. Products with high ratings and reviews can receive additional placements across Amazon.com,” Amazon says.

Amazon offers private label vitamins under its Amazon Elements, Solimo, and Revly brands, and private label nutritional supplements under its OWN PWR and Solimo brands. In addition, it sells vitamins and supplements under several Amazon Exclusive brands.

Take a Look at Amazon’s First Printed Holiday Catalog

Amazon is about to start mailing out its first ever printed holiday catalog to millions of customers. It’s titled “A Holiday of Play” and features toys for kids and teens. You can take a look at the full catalog here.

The catalog will also be available at Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star locations, the company says.

The catalog is designed to drive traffic to the Amazon retail website and app through scannable QR codes, URLs at the bottom of pages, ASINs for Amazon search, and by using the Amazon app to do an image search.

81 Amazon Exclusive items are included in the catalog, and highlighted via a bold orange “Amazon Exclusive” label. In addition, the catalog features certain brands quite heavily, opening the question of whether those brands paid for placement to subsidize the marketing cost of mailing out millions of pounds of paper.

Toy and manufacturer brands that received at least 1 full page placement in the catalog include Lego, Marvel, Disney Pixar, Barbie, Baby Alive, Fingerlings, Melissa & Doug, Duplo, Fisher-Price, vtech, Play-Doh, Hasbro Gaming, Nerf, Hot Wheels, Playmobil, k’nex, Bose, and Star Wars.

Amazon is making a move to capture more toy sales this year given the vacuum left by Toys R Us, which closed its last US stores this summer.

Amazon’s decision to start making catalogs shows how it is adapting certain practices of traditional retailers like Toys R Us and Sears. Both were known for their catalog strategies over the decades and are now in bankruptcy proceedings.

TJI Amazon Briefing for November 6, 2018

Good morning! On midterm election day in the United States, here are the latest developments on Amazon.

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