Amazon launches dedicated SME platform “Storefronts”

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Amazon has launched a dedicated platform for small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) as it seeks to re-position itself as a champion of independent business.

“Amazon Storefronts”, launched yesterday, will feature over 1 million products from over 20,000 sellers across the US and the UK.

The new platform will be accessible via Amazon’s homepage and will seek to promote SME’s by offering “Deals of the Day” from various independent sellers, alongside a weekly “Storefront of the Week” feature which will include a video of the business and its story, alongside “Meet the Business Owner” profiles.

Many within the industry have seen this as an attempt by Amazon to quash criticism that it is hampering the growth of new independent retail businesses, stating on its the Storefronts homepage that “half of everything sold on Amazon comes from small & medium sized businesses”.

It will also launch a TV advertising campaign alongside the new site featuring an independent seller for the first time.

Earlier this month Amazon became the second US-listed company in history to be valued at over $1 trillion (£780 billio), after being beaten by Apple just weeks before.

Amazon has expanded well beyond its online bookseller beginnings, now combining a world-spanning retail operation with an advertising and cloud computing businesses.

In recent years Amazon has invested heavily in its UK operations, building distribution centres, offices and tech hubs while creating thousands of local jobs.

Despite this, Amazon’s advertising and cloud computing divisions have helped offset the high costs associated with running its online store.

The company saw its quarterly profit soar past $2 billion for the first time earlier this year as the online shopping, cloud computing and advertising businesses kept growing.

The company’s success has made its founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos one of the richest men in the world.

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