The Washington Post “Uncovers” Amazon Private Brand Promotions

Online retail giant Amazon has begun promoting its private brands just before online shoppers add similar products to their shopping carts. If this sounds familiar, it is because the retailer has borrowed the decades-old strategy that places private brands next to the national brand competitor. In bricks and mortar, the two products literally sit side-by-side on the shelf.

In a round of explosive investigative journalism reporters at The Washington Post conducted dozens of product searches and received offers for a “similar item to consider” featuring an Amazon private brand appeared just above where the add to cart button. The promotion offered Amazon private brand versions of items like  Dr. Scholl’s gel insoles, Glad trash bags, and Energizer batteries. (Shall we call it AmazonGate)

Amazon commented in a statement to The Washington Post:

“Like any retailer, we promote our own brands in our stores, which provide high-quality products and great value to customers,” Amazon spokeswoman Nell Rona told The Post. “We also extensively promote products from our selling partners.”

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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.