Amazon Storefronts offers a way for small and medium-sized businesses to sell products directly through Amazon. Launched in September 2018, Amazon established Storefronts as a separate section where it highlights small businesses, features curated collections of unique products and provides a platform for an online small business experience. Instead of navigating thousands of online sellers, Amazon wants customers to interact with small businesses and have an intimate, mom-and-pop-shop experience through the online platform.
Only a select number of businesses are currently included in Storefronts. According to Amazon, the company will be adding new categories and expanding Storefronts over time. You can sign up for more information about this expansion by visiting amazon.com/storefrontsinfo.
David Minnery's handmade toy business, Manzanita Kids, is featured on Amazon Storefronts. Minnery said he started selling his toys on Amazon Handmade about two years ago and was asked by Amazon to join Storefronts. He described his business as a "mom-and-pop shop." His workshop is in his house, and he was happy about partnering with Amazon because he was able to maintain one-on-one customer relationships through Amazon Handmade.
"It's the right curated group for us," he said. "We're not lumped in with mass-produced items from nameless, faceless companies."
According to Amazon's Small Business Impact report, small businesses selling on Amazon have created more than 900,000 jobs. However, Amazon has had a rocky relationship with small business in the past as its pricing model and technology-first approach has pushed some small businesses to close. A report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance argued in 2016 that Amazon's expansion should be viewed as encroachment – it's left many businesses no choice but to join the platform as a third-party seller.
The bedrock of Storefronts comes in three promotional services: Curated Collections, Storefront of the Week and Meet the Business Owner. Curated Collections, which has products ranging from 25 different categories, including Halloween and Back to School, features unique products for customers. Storefront of the Week and Meet the Business Owner are two spotlight-style features that highlight businesses selling on the platform.
In addition to these initiatives, Amazon launched a nationwide advertising campaign that features real small businesses that sell on Amazon. One of the main sellers Amazon is highlighting in the campaign, Michigan-based soap shop The Little Flower Soap Co., has seen sales double, thanks to selling on Amazon.
Amazon currently has 20,000 small businesses featured in the Storefronts section. This is a small portion of the total small companies selling on Amazon's platform – 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses started selling on the platform in 2017 alone, according to Amazon's impact report.
How to sign up for Amazon Storefronts
Any small business owner can sign up for more information about Storefronts. Amazon has a review process to determine what businesses are included in Storefronts based on the categories it has available.
On the information sign-up page, it mentions that as Storefronts expands into new categories, more small businesses will be added. In other words, you can't just sign up for Storefronts. Instead, you'll have to work directly with Amazon to determine your business's category and how you can sign up.
To get this process started, you should head over to the information sign-up page. Here you'll be asked to provide:
- Your Amazon display name
- Your email address
- Your main product line
- What brands you own (if any)
- Where your company is based
From here, Amazon will reach out to you, and you can set up your storefront if your category is available and you're considered a good fit by Amazon. It's not clear at this time if it costs money to join Amazon Storefronts, or if your status as an Amazon seller will change as a result.
Selling on Amazon
If you don't qualify for an Amazon Storefronts, or you're not interested in being a Storefronts business, you can still sell successfully on Amazon. Before getting started, though, it's essential to understand how selling on Amazon works, what scams you should be wary of and how you can succeed by selling on Amazon.
There are two basic plans for Amazon sellers: Individual and Professional. It's important to understand both plans and choose the one that applies to your business best. These plans cost money, so do your research before you decide how you want to proceed with selling your goods on Amazon. There is an approval process for the Professional plan. Once you have your account set up, you can start selling your products in the predefined categories on the website.
With an established operation, you can set up a feature like Fulfillment by Amazon to encourage customers to purchase your products.
Amazon Storefronts adds a new element to selling on Amazon
Selling on Amazon is a lucrative business, and getting set up on Amazon Storefronts can allow your small business to shine. One of the strengths of owning a small business is your connection to the community and the products you create. Use that connection to build your brand's story and create a product that people will want, no matter where they live in the U.S.
Amazon Storefronts can allow you to unlock a new customer base while telling your business's story. Requesting information and filling out the company's online form is the most important first step to creating your own Amazon Storefront account.