Amazon Pilot Looks To Boost Big-Name Brands

Online retail giant Amazon will start labeling certain products “Top Brands” in a pilot that will attempt to give big names the type of favorable positioning they get at physical retailers, Bloomberg reported on Friday (Aug. 16).

Speedo, New Balance, Under Armour and Fruit of the Loom are a sampling of the products that will show up with the new labeling in some search results, eCommerce research firm Marketplace Pulse said, according to the report.

Brands won’t have to pay for the designation, an Amazon spokeswoman told the news outlet. Brands that are popular with customers will get the label, she said.

Other labels that Amazon uses such as “best sellers” or “Amazon’s Choice” consider features like customer reviews and pricing. The criteria used to differentiate those products has been criticized for lack of transparency, however, with the fear being that Amazon could favor its own private labels.

Marketplace Pulse Chief Executive Officer Juozas Kaziukenas said in a blog post that the top brand label could lead people to think of the products as better. Items labeled “Amazon’s Choice” get an increase in sales and having the Top Brand could be even more impactful. The new label could have a “substantial impact on how shoppers decide which products to buy,” or how brands compete, he said.

Amazon accounts for about 40 percent of online sales in the U.S., according to researcher eMarketer, and consumers on the site often don’t search for a particular brand. Most of the time, customers just scroll through Amazon’s listings.

To quiet critics amid increased regulatory scrutiny from politicians, the tech giant has reeled in prominent ads for some of its private-label products. Amazon’s private-label merchandise comprise its own in-house products, sold only on the website and often less expensive than brand name competitors. In the last three years, Amazon has increased its private-label offerings, worrying brands and merchants selling similar products.

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