As Amazon’s own brands have quietly grown, the company founded by Jeff Bezos has repeatedly been accused of copy successful products from outside vendors and use their platform to push them through altered search results.
While the company has denied the allegations time and again, a number of internal documents vetted by Reuters reveal an uncomfortable reality for the e-commerce giant. Systematic, anti-competitive and planned practices thoroughly to make your business in India more profitable.
The 2016 documents, which include emails and business strategies, indicate that Amazon leveraged data from its platform, which is protected by trade secret, to launch its own products and have these appear in the first two or three results.
The Internet giant not only took into account sales volume when copying a product, but also the characteristics “in detail” to wrest success from the original seller. One of the victims of this strategy was the Indian salesman John Miller, known as the “retail king” of the country.
Amazon began selling shirts like John Miller’s under one of its own brands. But instead of introducing some change, the company decided to copy everything. From neck circumference to sleeve length, according to documents viewed by Reuters.
Of course, as mentioned at the beginning, the e-commerce giant wasted no time with products whose performance was below expectations. For this he did not let anything escape him. His employees studied everything related to the brand, from the product, to its sales and returns.
Amazon and its ambition to copy products ‘retail’
The ambition to go down this rocky road led Amazon to take even more controversial actions. He found that some products were very difficult to copy. This was due to “unique processes” that affected its final quality. Only in those cases did he think about partnering with manufacturers to match them.
“It is difficult to develop this expertise across all products, and therefore to ensure that we can fully match quality with our reference product, we decided to partner only with manufacturers of our reference product,” quoted Amazon’s internal document. .
It should be noted that both Jeff Bezos, on an occasion before the US Congress in 2020, and other Amazon executives have denied this type of practice. In this sense, they have explained that employees are prohibited from using the data of their vendors to help grow their business.
The truth is that, according to internal documents, Amazon’s anti-competitive strategy in India was known to at least two high-level executives. Among them were the former director of International Business, Diego Piacentini, and the current head of that division Russell Grandinetti.
At the global business level Amazon has more than 80 own brands that it sells through its platform. These are not available in all countries and many are very local, as in the case of India. In fact, they are very focused on a certain market to achieve the greatest possible success.
Finally, the documents reveal that the introduction of Amazon’s own brands was critical to maintaining business in India. It recorded millions in losses shortly after starting its operations in 2013. However, its own brands allowed it to do a “long-term sustainable” business.