If you’re an Amazon customer looking for quirky and innovative small business products – or a small business that sells online – you may like Amazon Launchpad, a virtual showcase that highlights new and emerging brands on Amazon.com.
What’s the point of Amazon Launchpad?
Launched in 201
Launchpad started as a “partnership” (exactly what this means isn’t clear) with venture capital firms and accelerators such as Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz and Indiegogo to take advantage of the recent startup craze. The idea is to make selling on Amazon a win-win for both startups and Amazon: startups gain brand awareness and Amazon gets fresh produce for its store (while also making extra money from commissions).
Launchpad started out as an invitation-only service, but today, small Amazon sellers with less than $ 5 million in gross sales can apply to join the Launchpad program. The Launchpad contract lasts for 12 months, after which the company is free to “switch” out of the program and return to regular Amazon seller status.
Does Launchpad Benefit Amazon Customers?
Amazon has positioned Launchpad as a place for startups to promote their products specifically through Amazon.com, but it has a minor chicken-and-egg problem as not many shoppers are really aware of the Launchpad store.
The good news for customers is that if you are interested in buying new and innovative products from startups on Amazon.com, you may be happy to browse the Launchpad store. You will find many quirky products, such as cameras for handing out candy and a special shelf that protrudes from the side of your bed.
Some of these products are gimmicky, pie-in-the-sky stabs in rapid growth that continue to be the hallmark of venture capital-fueled companies. Who knows how long they will last or be supported in the market. But you will also find really new ideas that can grow into the next tile or stripe. And the Launchpad toy category is a lot of fun.
The Launchpad-operated store is also a great way to avoid the deluge of low-quality fakes from China that have overwhelmed Amazon.com in recent years. If Amazon applied its Launchpad curation model to the entire Amazon.com site, it could make for a better Amazon shopping experience overall.
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