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Amazon launched the newest edition to its private brand portfolio earlier this month.

Wickedly Prime is the first grocery brand officially affiliated with Amazon and the first affiliated Amazon Consumables Private Label (CPL) since the launch of Amazon Elements two years ago. Exclusive to Amazon Prime members, the brand targets the Foodie market and the products look like something you might find at Trader Joe’s, with the following tagline: “Some eat to LIVE, we live to EAT”.

“We are Wickedly Prime, and our passion to experience and share the best flavors on earth has inspired us to create a new line of distinctive food and beverages, available exclusively to Amazon Prime members.” – https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=13854994011 

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This marks a distinct shift from Amazon’s strategy of launching private labels with no overt brand affiliation in the Grocery/Consumables group. The brand messaging for Happy Belly, Mama Bear, and Presto! does not openly state their Amazon affiliation. Wickedly Prime, on the other hand, prominently features the Amazon “smile” in its logo (not to mention the “Prime” trademark) and product packaging states “Distributed by Amazon Fulfillment Services” while previous CPLs had stated “AFS Brands LLC”.

 

This strategic shift may explain why Wickedly Prime, which was announced in May along with Happy Belly and Mama Bear, has taken so long to launch. With the success of two earlier CPLs, Amazon may be more confident now slapping their brand and trademark on their latest private label. But that doesn’t mean Wickedly Prime is taking precedence – within the last two months we have seen Amazon pushing all of their consumable private brands aggressively.

CPLs Continue to Grow

With five distinct brands, Amazon continues to build their Consumables Private Labels portfolio, beginning with Amazon Elements in 2014 followed by Mama Bear, Happy Belly and Presto! earlier this year. The initial products under the Wickedly Prime banner, including popcorn, tortilla chips and almonds have sold well so far, with the four top SKUs reaching over  $500 in sales in the first week and another three breaking $100, not insignificant for a new product. We can expect more Wickedly Prime products going forward including beverages (the brand page reads “distinctive food and beverages”).amazoncplbrands

We’ve seen continued investment in the Amazon CPLs in the past two months, with no sign that Amazon is slowing down when it comes to introducing new products within these brands,including the new Mama Bear Baby Laundry Detergent. The marketing and promotion of private brands has been aggressive throughout the holiday shopping season, with Amazon leveraging Subscribe & Save, the Amazon’s Choice tag and, for new products, Vine in order to drive growth in CPLs.

Happy Belly, in particular, saw sales of nuts/trail mixes grow from $20,000 to $265,000 thanks to a series of Alexa Deals throughout the month of November and a lightning deal on December 6th. That’s a growth of over 5000% above the previous 4-week sales period!

What Manufacturers Can Learn

Amazon is uniquely positioned to develop a strong private brand strategy. Their approach is informed by their access to the best product information, sales data and customer insights collected over the course of years as one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms. Thus far, they have taken a conservative approach in the rollout of their brands, but this slow burn approach has been very effective.

Manufacturers can achieve similar success by watching what works for Amazon’s CPLs. For example:

  • It’s not all about a big launch week. Relying on steady, organic growth allows you to troubleshoot fulfillment issues and address customer complaints early in the sales cycle.
  • Subscribe & Save promotions help to establish steady, long-term sales and are an important part of Amazon’s long-term marketing strategy.
  • Investing in a combination of both paid and organic Amazon search optimization is central to growing and maintaining brand awareness and visibility.
  • In the short-term, the importance of customer reviews for building consumer confidence cannot be overstated. All of Amazon’s CPL products began with more than 20 reviews at the time of launch.
  • Tailor your product offerings to specific platforms. For example, Amazon offers Wickedly Prime products in single packs on Prime Pantry while promoting multi-packs on Amazon.com.

Using all available data about how consumers actually shop is the best way for brands to remain profitable. It’s still early for Wickedly Prime so our data is limited, but going into the new year we will be following the continued growth of Amazon’s consumer private labels closely. Check back often for our latest insights.[/fusion_text]