How Small Brands Try to Make It on Amazon

Photo credit: Public.Resource.Org, CC BY 2.0.

I bought a Rubbermaid step stool on Amazon yesterday; it was one of those items that I told myself I maybe didn’t really need for my apartment, but after less than a week of carrying a chair around every time I needed to reach the highest cupboards in my kitchen, I tabbed over to Amazon.

There were other step stools that were either slightly or significantly less expensive than the Rubbermaid, but the reviews all said the same thing: Unstable. Fell apart. Difficult to open and close.

I often wonder where all of these brands come from—search nearly anything on Amazon and you’ll find dozens of companies offering inexpensive variants, many of which have zero customer reviews—which meant that I was very, very interested in Farhad Manjoo’s CNBC post about how small brands try to make it on Amazon:

To hit the $20 price, Wyze licensed the camera’s hardware from a Chinese company, then created its own software. It also cut out just about every middleman, including most retailers. And it’s banking on long-run success. While Wyze is just breaking even on its first camera, its founders believe internet-connected home devices will be a growth category. They plan to establish a trusted brand with the first camera, then release a succession of products that they hope to sell in large numbers, at low prices.

Getting the costs down is the first part. The second part, of course, is getting the reviews.

Read the whole thing—or, if you’d rather, answer one of these questions:

  1. How do you decide to trust an unknown brand on Amazon?
  2. When a brand emails asking you to please leave an Amazon review, do you?

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