Amazon Pushing Consumers To Own Brand Before Rivals
Amazon has introduced a new feature which pushes consumers to its own private-label brands before it does rival products, in a move seen as a major flex to show the platform’s power to skew the market.
The Washington Post conducted dozens of product searches and found offers for a “Similar item to consider” featuring Amazon’s own brands appear just above the “Add an item to the cart” button.
The tactic shows the influence Amazon can have over what’s sold on its site and has drawn criticism from regulators and lawmakers in the US, who are currently battling Amazon on antitrust grounds.
European regulators have also announced an investigation into Amazon’s competitive tactics, specifically looking into whether the company is “misusing its dual role as both a marketplace for independent sellers and a retailer of its own products”.
According to research firm eMarketer, Amazon is expected to account for more than 37% of all e-commerce sales in the US alone in 2019.
“It’s an ad at exactly the moment the customer is ready to buy. I don’t see how that is not unfair,” James Thomson, former senior manager in business development at Amazon, and current partner at brand consultancy firm Buy Box Experts, told the Washington Post.
Amazon gave a response to the Washington Post defending the tactic, saying the product promotion isn’t any different from the tactics other stores also do with their own private-label products.
“Like any retailer, we promote our own brands in our stores, which provide high-quality products and great value to customers,” said Nell Rona, Amazon spokeswoman.
“We also extensively promote products from our selling partners.”
Rona declined to confirm though, whether this feature will be permanent or is just in the testing phase.