Amazon is getting into the startup world; its new program, Amazon Launchpad, aims to make it easy for startups to launch, market and distribute their products to Amazon customers worldwide.
“By continuing to grow and introduce new enhancements, they are ensuring that their customers won’t go elsewhere to look for products,” he said via email.
Amazon leaders said the program streamlines processes for entrepreneurs. It offers custom product pages, a comprehensive marketing package and access to Amazon’s global fulfillment network.
The goal is to help startups overcome challenges associated with launching new products by leveraging Amazon’s retail expertise and infrastructure, according to a news release.
“For startups, we handle inventory management, order fulfillment, customer service and more, allowing them to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more cool products,” Amazon spokeswoman Lori Richter said in a prepared statement.
And Caporaso agreed that the program could help relieve some pain points that many entrepreneurs face, allowing them more time to focus on perfecting their products.
But entrepreneurs should be aware of any potential fees when working with Amazon, he also said.
Richter said there’s no incremental cost to participate in Launchpad.
Amazon leaders are working with more than 25 venture capital firms, startup accelerators and crowdfunding platforms to get startups into the Launchpad program.
Y Combinator and Indiegogo are a couple of companies that have funded more than 200 products currently available in the Amazon Launchpad store.
“We welcome all startups-any startups who are interested in participating in the Amazon Launchpad program but do not meet our eligibility criteria,” Richter said, adding that they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The program is also a way for Amazon to get more unique products to consumers, officials said.
In May, Amazon leaders said they were launching an online store similar to Etsy called Handmade at Amazon, where artisans can sell handcrafted items, Caporaso said.
He also said these moves may make consumers see Amazon differently because the online retailer will be able to offer more personalized products.
CircleUp, which helps entrepreneurs raise funds for development of products, estimates that larger retailers and brands have lost about $4 billion in sales to smaller stores with more unique products in the past year alone.
Unlike some of Amazon’s other products and marketplaces, Launchpad is available globally to their 10 international markets at the start, Caporaso said.
“This is new for Amazon and could put them at risk for spreading themselves too thin if things happen to go wrong,” he said.