Is there any sector of commerce they don’t want to own?
Amazon’s new Storefronts, a site that lets shoppers browse from a curated list of more than 1 million items sold by 20,000 small-to- medium-sized businesses in the U.S., bears a passing resemblance to leading artisan site and competitor Etsy.
The move is aimed both at drawing in more shoppers as well as small-business sellers, some of whom may be wary of Amazon’s often tight merchant requirements and control over the customer experience. There is no lack of options for them, including eBay or hanging out a shingle on platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce.
“Amazon’s move to open ‘Amazon Storefronts’ could certainly be edging into Etsy’s turf,” said Scott Webb, President of Avionos. “Etsy provides a unique boutique feeling that both small businesses and consumers appreciate, and which Amazon hasn’t really curated, instead focusing on providing the broadest possible product assortment.”
Webb said now however, Amazon’s brand equity could help SMBs stand out from their competitors on Etsy. When consumers intend to purchase a product, 38% percent begin their search with Amazon, giving those SMBs an immediate advantage in potential reach.
“If online marketplaces, like Etsy, hope to remain viable, they’ll need to ensure that they are providing an unmatched personalized experience and unique product content that consumers just can’t get on Amazon,” said Webb.
Given the market heft of Amazon news, stocks in various marketplaces focused on small business sellers took a hit in response, including Etsy as well as Wayfair, 1-800 Flowers.com and Overstock.com.
To support the launch of Storefronts, Amazon is rolling out a national TV ad campaign featuring some of the 1 million-plus SMB sellers on its third-party marketplace. The campaign features the tagline “Big collection of Small” to emphasize this fact.
Storefronts will include a rotating set of feature videos and stories about sellers. Product categories include back to school, Halloween, home, kitchen, pet supplies and books.
“Amazon’s Storefronts launch is yet another step in its quest to corner the retail market by expanding its product portfolio — now it’s turned its attention to attracting smaller, boutique brands,” said Ed Kennedy, Senior Director, Commerce at Episerver. “While Amazon’s growing dominance poses a threat for all marketplaces, this move specifically could have a serious impact on Etsy, especially if customers who buy handmade and vintage products shift to these storefronts.”
Kennedy continued, “The convenience and wide variety of products Amazon offers consumers has cemented its status as the go-to shopping hub for online shoppers.” ” And marketplaces like Etsy risk being edged out of the space if they don’t bulk up the experiential elements of shopping through their marketplace with more personalized experiences and content recommendations.”
Kennedy said despite strong brand loyalty, Etsy cannot compete with retail giants such as Amazon if it can’t compete on experiential elements and deliver across channels and multiple devices.
“By making it easier to shop and browse for products with smart site search and personalized product recommendations, shoring up the shipping and delivery experience and reinforcing its brand culture for customers and sellers alike, Etsy will be well-poised to compete with Amazon.”
Features of Amazon Storefront include curated American collections from 25+ product categories, including offerings from artisans and entrepreneurs, a weekly video highlighting a seller and feature content profiling merchants.
“We’ve created a one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for interesting, innovative and high-quality products from American businesses from all across the country,” said Nicholas Denissen, Vice President for Amazon. “Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized business are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers.”