In its latest move to expand its private-label offerings, Amazon.com has launched its own line of electronics basics called AmazonBasics. The line, just like its name, focuses on essentials such as audio video cables and blank DVDs. The products are less expensive than brand-name goods and use less packaging material, Amazon says.
The world’s largest web retailer is betting on a trend by today’s more thrifty consumers to turn to private-label brands. In August, Nielsen reported private-label sales rose 7.4% to $85.9 billion for the year ended July 11 compared to a year earlier.
We saw an opportunity to create a line of consumer electronics basics that combine quality and low prices for an overall focus on value, says Paul Ryder, vice president of consumer electronics for Amazon.com. We drew on our history of developing other private-label brands and combined that with our mission to give customers the ultimate in selection and value. AmazonBasics is the result. We will continue to gather input from customers and evaluate opportunities for new products under the AmazonBasics brand. We aim to offer our customers as wide a selection as possible, and we think AmazonBasics makes a great addition to the brands we already carry.
The line will be available in the U.S. only for now, but Amazon plans to expand it to its global sites in the next few months.
AmazonBasics is yet another step in the retailer’s recent strategy to step up its private-label offerings. This summer, Amazon expanded its homegrown line of housewares called Pinzon, adding kitchen utensils developed by prominent Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas. Amazon has been creating its own private-label brands since 2004 when it introduced Strathwood, a line of home and garden products that includes outdoor furniture, dcor and lighting.
To go along with the simplistic theme of the line, Amazon, No 1 in the in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also will ship AmazonBasics products with what it calls frustration-free packaging. The packaging concept, launched last year by Amazon, uses recyclable cardboard and seeks to minimize the material used in packaging, and eliminates wire ties and clamshells that make products more difficult to open. Earlier this month, Amazon stepped-up its frustration-free initiative by adding a packaging category to its product rating system, and by shipping more products from two electronics manufacturers-Kingston Technology Co. and Monster Cable Products Inc.-with the special packaging.
In providing feedback on their purchases, customers can rate Amazon’s packaging on a four-point scale ranging from too small to way too big. They also can rate the ease of opening a product package from very difficult to very easy. Amazon plans to use this information to improve how it ships products.
Amazon works with suppliers to package products in a more user-friendly and cost-effective way, eliminating extra layers and security features that online retailers, who are not exposed to shoplifting, do not need, an Amazon spokeswoman says.
For example, she says, memory cards can come in very small plastic cases-not clamshells-that are just slightly larger than the item itself, and ship in a flat, cardboard envelope which is 100% recyclable.