New Amazon store gives small firms, inventors a chance

AP, NEW YORK

Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 13

It might be the biggest online marketplace in the US, but a new store on Amazon.com is set to support the little guy.

The e-commerce powerhouse is opening a store that is to offer exclusive electronics, toys and other products created by inventors and small businesses, including products featured on the ABC reality show Shark Tank.

Dubbed Amazon Exclusives, the online store promotes unique products created by small businesses such as a range of Jackery mini phone-chargers, US$70 Hot Chocolate Design’s Chocolaticas Mariquita shoes and US$75 Zackees LED turn-signal gloves that alert cars when a cyclist makes a hand signal to turn.

Some of the products like the gloves and phone chargers were funded by Kickstarter campaigns. Others like a US$700 inflatable paddle board were featured on Shark Tank — the ABC television network show that pits inventors with new products seeking funding against each other.

INNOVATION

Amazon said it also focused on products that won innovation awards from industry associations. All products in the Amazon store are to be available only on Amazon.com or at the product creators’ own Web sites or physical stores.

FREE SHIPPING

The items are eligible for free two-day shipping for members of Amazon’s US$99 annual Prime loyalty program.

The new store is the latest push by Amazon to expand into different areas and reach new customers.

The company’s strategy has long been to spend a big chunk of the money it makes to grow and expand into new areas like cloud computing, streaming video, hardware and adding services for its Prime loyalty members.

ALIBABA TIE-UP

Last week the company opened a store on Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (阿里巴巴) Tmall (天貓) retail platform to reach more Chinese customers.