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Amazon is known for being cutthroat, but L2 Think Tank just published a study on Amazon's retail strategy that takes that reputation to a whole new level. The study reported that brands which are willing to shell out extra money to Amazon can enter into a cushy "partnership" with the e-commerce giant. The partnership ensures extra protection against third-party sellers and better merchandise placement, among other things.
L2 listed Burberry and Levi's as two brands who have benefited from partnerships with Amazon. For an undisclosed price, Amazon took more control over how these brands are sold on the site, including cracking down on the brand's third-party sellers as well as displaying their merchandise more prominently. For proof: Levi's currently has top billing on Amazon's sale page in the women's fashion section.
On the other hand, brands who can't afford a partnership with Amazon are left with no way to stop the masses of uninhibited third-party sellers that crop up on the site, selling brand name products without giving the brand a cut of the profits. Bloomberg noted that Ralph Lauren, a brand that has not paid for a partnership with Amazon, has to deal with over 9,000 items that are up for sale on the site via third-party sellers.
According to L2, Proctor & Gamble also paid for preferential treatment with Amazon, which manifested in specific Amazon promotions. For example, Amazon ran a sale on "selective household essentials" in which all of the sale items were from P&G brands. For brands who don't want to pay extra for better perks, Amazon isn't as willing to work with them. Bloomberg talked to an adviser for Italian luxury companies who said that some brands which he works with that don't have special partnerships and have complained about third-party sellers, etc., to Amazon "have been forced to change their attitude."
· Amazon 2014 [L2 Think Tank]
· Amazon Picks Favorites With Brands in 'Pay to Play' Move [Bloomberg]
· Amazon Tells FAA Its Drone Testing Won't Bother Nobody [Racked]