Exclusive: Amazon Now Has More than 70 Private-Label Brands
After Amazon launched its first private-label brands in 2009, the company took a four-year hiatus before it created any more. And when it got back into the game with the launch of its own diaper brand in 2014, it was an embarrassment; a design flaw led the company to pull poop pouches off of its virtual shelves less than two months after launch.
How things have changed.
Since the start of 2017, Amazon has gone on a private-label rampage, releasing at least 60 of its own brands -- predominantly in the clothing, shoes and jewelry categories, according to a new study from the research firm L2. Amazon now sells more than 70 of its own brands by Recode's count, after checking L2's list with Amazon.
With the rapid expansion, the company has silently delivered a message to retailers and brands that have shrugged off its earlier private-label launches as simply tactics that many retailers employ: We're going big.
"We take the same approach with private label as we do with anything here at Amazon: We start with the customer and work backwards, aiming to bring them products we think they will love," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to Recode. "We continue listening and learning from customers as we expand our selection."
She pointed out that Amazon's Mama Bear line recently expanded into diapers and baby food pouches, and Presto, which started with laundry detergent, has added household paper towels and toilet paper to its product line. The company also has created its own furniture lines with Rivet and Stone & Beam.
In fashion, Amazon started out in 2016 with brands like the women's contemporary line Lark & Ro and the kids clothing label Scout & Ro. But more recently, it has added denim brands like Hale and a sweater collection called Cable Stitch.
Retailers typically create their own store brands -- at least in part -- to hit different price points that outside brands aren't serving. These brands also typically help boost profits, because retailers can highlight them in their own stores - or on their own virtual shelves - without shelling out big marketing expenses to get them in front of consumers.
Even if many of Amazon's brands flame out, its private-label approach has the potential to be disruptive because of how much data it can easily analyze about competitor brands that sell on its site -- which products and price points are selling, and why -- after mining customer reviews.
Amazon also owns the most powerful online distribution channel in U.S. retail, plus Whole Foods. And if shopping thorough its Alexa voice service ever takes off, the company would be positioned to recommend its products before any others.
© 2018 Re/Code under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Image credit: Product shot by Amazon; iStock/Artist's concept.