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What Is Amazon Launchpad, and How Could It Help Grow Your Business?

image for Alife / Getty Images
Alife / Getty Images

Growing a business is challenging, whether you are launching a startup or looking to expand an existing small business to the next level. The grind of expanding your customer base or building one from scratch is especially tough when daily operations take priority over marketing efforts.

Sometimes the best answer is working with a partner that can give you the extra boost you need. Amazon Launchpad wants to be that partner.

Amazon Launchpad was created in 2015 to help brands scale their business, market their products and reach more customers through the e-commerce giant's established channels. There are three primary ways Amazon Launchpad works with brands:

  • Onboarding guidance: Once a brand's application for Amazon Launchpad is accepted, Amazon works alongside the business to help it get started. This includes assisting with account setup, troubleshooting any technical issues that arise, and teaching the basics of marketing on Amazon.
  • Marketing support: Amazon Launchpad offers marketing assistance to help your products gain visibility on Amazon. This includes the dedicated Launch Marketing Package, access to Deals submissions and opportunities for incremental marketing placement.
  • Launchpad Brand HQ: Perhaps the central component of Amazon Launchpad is access to the program's Brand HQ. Under Brand HQ, businesses can access training opportunities and custom consultations. Brand products will also be featured in the Amazon Launchpad storefront, which offers access to Amazon's global customer base.

Since the program began, Amazon Launchpad has helped launch millions of products across 35 different verticals. The recommended minimum period for Amazon Launchpad participation is one year, though brands can participate in the program for longer.

The first and most obvious benefit of Amazon Launchpad is the direct connection of your brand to Amazon's massive name recognition. Hundreds of millions of customers use Amazon every year, so featuring your products through Amazon Launchpad can give them a big boost.

Justin Makso, co-founder of Boston Idea Engine, said his company's SteelBee Razor Saver experienced this increase firsthand.

"Having a more robust Amazon listing for our new product, brand protection and enhanced content, for example, has given us an elevated profile to leverage on Amazon and be that much more compelling to potential new customers of the SteelBee," he said.

His company is doubling down on that early success with a two-week marketing campaign through Amazon Launchpad. According to Makso, the campaign includes several ad placements on the Amazon Launchpad storefront, as well as a listing under the New Releases page and the relevant category page for the product.

"We are still getting our arms around the extent of the resources available to us," he said. "Early indications are showing a promising increase in sales."

Amazon Launchpad can give young companies the e-commerce platform, customer base and marketing opportunities they need to get ahead without the upfront capital expenditure. These resources can be invaluable to a startup, but naturally, Amazon isn't giving away its assistance for free.

Amazon Launchpad has relatively few prerequisites for application. Applicants must be sellers on Amazon Seller Central before applying. They also must have products that are ready to ship immediately upon acceptance. Amazon Launchpad encourages all startups and entrepreneurs that meet these criteria to apply. The company typically responds to applications in seven to 10 business days.

Once you're accepted, Amazon Launchpad will assign your brand a business development liaison to walk you through the process. Immediately after the onboarding process, Makso said, you should be prepared to take full advantage of the program.

"Learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, about the tools available to you," he said. "Have your enhanced content – like additional photos, video and copy – ready to go should you be fortunate enough to be accepted into the program so that you don't waste any time getting up and running."

If your brand is accepted into the program, your products must meet additional criteria. Featured products must maintain a rating of 3.5 stars across a minimum of five reviews. Moreover, your brand must be enrolled in Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) with a Prime badge. An FBA seller is a participant who stores their stock in Amazon's warehouses, and Amazon handles the customer order fulfillment directly. [Read related article: Amazon Announces Crackdown on Knockoffs, Scammers]

If you're interested in applying to participate in Amazon Launchpad, you can fill out the application form here.

When you leave the Amazon Launchpad program, your products will no longer be featured on the associated storefronts. However, Amazon will continue to provide administrative support to your brand during the transition period. You can leave the program voluntarily, and Amazon also reserves the right to transition brands out of the program at will.

You will retain your access to Amazon Launchpad A+, which is a page of enhanced brand content like photos and videos. To edit this page after your participation in Amazon Launchpad is over, you can modify it through Seller Central, so long as you remain a registered brand owner on the Amazon platform.

Amazon Launchpad offers early- and growth-stage companies a way to scale quickly that doesn't involve taking on more debt or selling equity. Instead, participating brands agree to wholesale products to Amazon, which in turns manages the logistics of order fulfillment. While the reduction in overall profit margin could require an adjustment to your operations, the wealth of resources Amazon Launchpad offers might give your business the boost it needs.

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.