Bearded man smiles

Amazon Business continues to up its game in the jan/san marketplace. The e-tailer, on pace to reach $10 billion in sales this year, already offers hundreds of cleaning products stocked by distributors. Now, it has launched 17 of its own private-label products. 

The AmazonBasics brand includes professional-grade glass cleaners, multi-purpose cleaners, dishwashing detergents, odor eliminators, laundry products and more. Amazon has even been promoting these new offerings in sponsored posts that come up when searching for similar products on its site.

As distributors know, private labels succeed when customers trust the brand. Seeing that one survey found people trust Amazon almost as much as they trust their bank, the AmazonBasics brand should have no problem gaining traction in this market.  

Ever since its launch, distributors have worried about Amazon Business as a competitor — and for good reason. Amazon is the gold standard for e-commerce and jan/san distributors don’t have the resources to compete with the technology. Adding a private-label line is just one more weapon in Amazon’s arsenal. 

However, distributors can’t simply throw in the towel. They still need to have an effective e-commerce site (see our cover story on page 8 for help). Many distributors also feel that if they can’t beat Amazon, then they should join it by creating a web storefront on the e-tailer’s site. For a fee, distributors can expand their web presence and reach online buyers by utilizing Amazon’s brand recognition.

The downfall to this approach is that distributors are likely selling the same products as others (and possibly even Amazon itself) and buyers are likely to choose the cheapest option. Now, with the launch of AmazonBasics, Amazon is offering an even cheaper alternative. 

Other distributors are leveling the playing field by providing valuable services — training, emergency help, account start-up walkthroughs, etc. — to their customers, often at no charge. This has been the most successful strategy because Amazon is simply an order filler. They can’t provide personal service to end users.