To help raise the visibility of the services and products it offers small businesses, Amazon is providing special attention to the small businesses who are participating in this year’s Prime Day. At the same time Amazon is reaching out to U.S. sellers, it is also facing a growing challenge of counterfeited goods being sold through its marketplace, according to extensive coverage by CNBC.
On Tuesday (7/12/2016), Amazon is holding its second annual “Prime Day,” a summer sales promotion that fills a lull in the calendars of retailers when they begin trimming their shelves in preparation for the coming holidays. For Amazon, the sale also serves as a promotion to sell memberships to “Amazon Prime,” its $99 a year premium-shopper subscription that provides “free” shipping, music-streaming, video-streaming services, unlimited photo cloud storage and special access to “lightning sales.”
While most of the merchandise being discounted are products from Amazon, the company also provides an array of services that allow small businesses to advertise on its site, earn commissions on Amazon products a small business can sell on a website (affiliate or associate), create a store and sell products on Amazon (sellers), or participate in an on-demand marketplace for selling skills to customers in one’s hometown (Amazon Home Services). They even have storefronts that promote products from inventors or creators. Up to 40 percent of the “product units” purchased on Amazon are not products being bought from Amazon, but are products being sold by businesses using the company’s ecommerce and fulfillment channels.
“Prime Day gives small businesses selling on Amazon a peak sales day during the summer months,” says Peter Faricy, vice president for the Amazon Marketplace. “Customers have the opportunity to support small businesses by purchasing unique products at a great price with fast, free shipping, and it helps sellers prepare for the upcoming holiday season by providing feedback and more customer reviews on their new and top selling products.”
Counterfeiting a growing problem, according to many sellers
At the same time small business selling on Amazon is growing, the company is facing a problem similar to those faced by other global marketplaces like Alibaba and eBay. According to CNBC, Amazon’s counterfeiting issue has exploded this year following Amazon’s effort to court Chinese manufacturers, weaving them intimately into the company’s expansive logistics operation. Merchants “are unsure of who or what may kill their sales on any given day and how much time they’ll have to spend hunting down fakers,” says CNBC.
By the numbers | Small businesses and Prime Day
100% | Increase this year over last year of small businesses participating in Prime Day
30% | Percentage of “Prime Day Lightning Deals” worldwide that will be from Amazon sellers on Amazon
14 million | Number of items Prime Day buyer purchased from sellers and small businesses during 2015 Prime Day