Amazon Storefronts includes marketplace seller profiles and products.

Amazon.com Inc., which has come under criticism for its growing heft and influence in retail, today debuted a merchandising program and ad campaign that focuses on some of the small-to-midsize merchants selling on the Amazon marketplace.

Through Amazon Storefronts, Amazon.com shoppers can navigate by product category or buying occasion and view results of products offered by a sampling of marketplace sellers. Amazon says more than 1 million products from nearly 20,000 marketplace sellers are viewable through Storefronts. That’s a fraction of the SKUs and sellers selling through Amazon. There are 375 million SKUs available on Amazon and more than 2 million marketplace sellers, according to Internet Retailer estimates published in the 2018 Online Marketplaces Report. Earlier this year, Amazon said more than 300,000 U.S.-based merchants began selling on Amazon.com in 2017.

The Amazon Storefronts section will highlight a different seller each week and include a “meet the business owners” section, where marketplace sellers answer a Q&A about their business. Each profile is followed by a “discover products from” section, spotlighting that seller’s products.

“We’ve created a custom, one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for interesting, innovative and high-quality products from American businesses from all across the country,” says Nicholas Denissen, an Amazon vice president, in a statement.

Amazon selected the initial products and sellers featured in Storefronts based on high customer and product ratings, an Amazon spokesman says. More will be added over time based on feedback. “We are prepared for small businesses to contact us about being part of the store–we hope they do–and we’ll inform interested businesses when we’re ready to grow the store,” he says.

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A TV ad campaign about Amazon Storefronts will air nationally. The first ad spotlights Little Flower Soap Co., a maker and seller of soap and gifts based in Chelsea, Michigan. Little Flower Soap also sells through its own website and on craft marketplace Etsy Inc.

Amazon is the latest big company to highlight small businesses. American Express heavily promotes its “Shop Small” program during the holiday season, including Small Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to shop locally the Saturday after Thanksgiving. American Express says shoppers spent $12.9 billion at independently owned businesses during the one-day event last year.

Amazon.com is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000.

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