Amazon Private Label (Click Bait Headline Here)

Over the last week, the mainstream press and the old school trade magazine have celebrated the reported failure of private brand at Amazon, with gleeful enthusiasm. The report which comes from e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse has stirred the reporters into a giddy frenzy of click-inducing headlines, including:

Honestly, I have done my best to resist writing about the report. After reading I thought it was both shallow and ill-informed. The report lacks a basic understanding of modern private brand portfolio management. Amazon is executing a robust private brand portfolio strategy that includes unique customer targets, brand positionings, sales and margin goals, SKU count goals, marketing resources and innovation budgets. Simplifying success to size and sales is easy but lacks the depth required to truly understand Amazons private brand strategy

Amazon has a lot to learn in private brand, and they have had their failures, however, anyone reads the Marketplace pulse report and breathes a sigh of relief and takes their eye off Amazon is either foolish or deluded.

Beware of putting too much stock in this report. The mainstream and trade press should know better than to jump on this report like its chum in the water.

If you would like to know my thoughts on private brand at Amazon I will be presenting, “The Extraordinary Rise Of Private Brand At Amazon” at our Velocity Conference April 29 – May 1 in Charlotte, NC

I will take a deep dive into the meteoric rise of private brand at Amazon.  Address the Marketplace Pulse report and paint a picture of the private brand successes and failures which fuel their continued, aggressive growth. With more than 100 private brands across virtually every category, the Whole Foods portfolio of private brands, and complete control of their ecosystem… the future of Amazon will be defined by private brand.


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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.