Amazon Storefronts is a new way for small and medium-sized businesses to sell products directly through Amazon. Amazon has established a separate section where it will highlight small businesses, feature curated collections of unique products and provide 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.
While only a select few businesses are currently included in Storefronts, Amazon 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."
Storefronts could have a big impact on small business. Amazon's Small Business Impact report said SMBs 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 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 have products ranging from 25 different categories, including Halloween and Back to School, feature 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 is launching 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. The Little Flower Shop Soap Co. is also the first Storefront of the Week to be featured in the new section.
Amazon currently has 20,000 small businesses featured in the Storefronts section. This is a small portion of the total SMBs 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. At this time, it's not clear whether Amazon will add more small businesses to the Storefronts section. Storefronts was only announced on Sept. 17, so as this story develops, details will likely emerge on how to work with Amazon to have your products featured in the Storefronts section.
If more small businesses can get involved with Storefronts, there's even more of a possibility for customers to get an intimate buying experience without leaving the Amazon platform.
"I feel like they're really kind of appealing to a different audience. I think it is carefully curated, and I like the seasonal things," Minnery said. "I'm sure it's going to change and evolve, and people might find something different next time they're there."