Does Amazon Eye Its Own Marketplace Vendors’ Best Sellers?

"In an ideal business world, any vendor would love to know in advance which products are going to become best sellers... so if another retailer, in this case, Amazon, tracks its own marketplace vendors' product success and then decides, on short notice, to sell those products itself, what would this tell you?" Well, recent research that Upstream Commerce was performing for clients revealed that, within 12 weeks, Amazon picked up and sold 25% of best-selling important women’s clothing items that were first introduced by its own marketplace vendors! 


Upstream Commerce Retail Intelligence Research Finds Amazon Muscles In On Its Own Vendors' Best Sellers

Upstream Commerce research reveals that, within 12 weeks, Amazon picked up and sold 25% of important women's clothing items that were first introduced by its own marketplace vendors!

UC logo 150 x 150NEW YORK, NEW YORK, October 28, 2014 -- "In an ideal business world, a vendor would love to know in advance what products will become best sellers, so if it appears that Amazon tracks its marketplace vendors' product success and then decides, on short notice, to sell those products itself, this is very important news for the industry," states Upstream Commerce CEO and co-founder, Amos Peleg. While performing competitive analysis for its clients of top women's clothing brands sold on Amazon, Upstream Commerce noticed that "25% of the most important products first introduced by the marketplace vendors got picked and sold by Amazon within twelve weeks, with some brands seeing pick-up rates as high as 50% (Wacoal), and 73% (Sockwell)," says Peleg.  

How long did it take Amazon to carry its own vendors' important products? 

Amazon muscles vendorsThe chart above presents the time (in weeks) it took Amazon to start selling products that were already being sold by its marketplace vendors. In this particular instance, top women’s clothing brands were being analyzed.

A coincidence?

"Might we just be seeing slow product selection and introduction by Amazon or were these just innocent operational challenges?" asked Peleg, rhetorically.

"We concluded that this is more than a coincidence because the numbers are extremely significant -- and operational challenges are not enough of an explanation,” Peleg stated.    

"First, we know that Amazon can act fast and introduce products quickly when it wants to. In other adjacent categories, such as women’s shoes, Amazon is very agile in picking up the right products early enough, and we see Amazon lagging in product introduction three times less often than what we're seeing here."    

"Second, being weeks late in a category with an 8-20 week turnaround time is very significant. It is worth being late only if you learned something during that time… something you can leverage for your bottom line,” Peleg noted.    

So what can we learn from this?

"This is probably a case where product selection and merchandising are being informed by competitive intelligence -- and on a large scale,” Peleg observed.

"We know that dynamic pricing (based on competitive intelligence) is an arena where Amazon has been playing an important role for quite some time now, so the possibility that Amazon is 'stalking' its vendors for their assortment as well, demonstrates a powerful practice where Amazon is (yet again) showing the way to the entire industry," Peleg concludes.

How Upstream Commerce measured:

Upstream Commerce sampled the top brands for the women’s clothing category -- 857 products compared at the style x color level -- and, within these brands, at products newly-added by Amazon marketplace sellers. Then Upstream Commerce looked at the time it took Amazon to start selling these products itself. (Research was led by Dr. Shai Geva, Upstream Commerce Co-Founder and CTO).  

About Upstream Commerce

Global retail intelligence leader Upstream Commerce offers SaaS-based intelligence and analytics solutions that transform the way retailers price, select merchandise and manage products in order to maximize sales and optimize margins.

The Upstream Commerce Suite of Solutions empowers retailers to base all shopper-centric decisions on real-time market data. The retail intelligence leader's highly configurable and flexible platform enables retailers to effectively manage their pricing strategy through accurately tracking and comparing product pricing, availability and promotions; pricing dynamically; optimizing product selection; monitoring MAP; and making relationships with suppliers better informed.

To find out how Upstream Commerce delivers results to the largest and most innovative retailers in the world, including Staples, ToysRUs, Petco, eBags, Benchmark Brands, top fashion retail entities, and many others, visit or call 800-815-1842.


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Naomi K. Shapiro, Strategic Market Communications

About Author

Seasoned strategic market communicator, Naomi headed public information for several academic and professional associations as well as founding Creative Brilliance Associates Market Communications. She created and published Brilliant Ideas for Publishers Magazine and authored popular newspaper trade reference, The Brilliant Book of Promotions, Sales Tools & Special Events. Simultaneously, Naomi savored the world as an adventure travel writer that included trekking on glaciers, fishing with saltwater crocodiles and swimming with piranhas. Naomi holds her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, including participation in a unique industry-science-technical writing program.
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