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Why build your Web site using Amazon Instant Website technology?
-Quick and easy set up - easily create your own branded Web site that shows just your products.
-Powered by Amazon - your Web site is reliable, scalable, and uses proven technology solutions.
-Use the secure Amazon payments system to process your orders - no need for a separate merchant payment system.
-Leverage Amazon co-branding - because customers trust the Amazon brand for security and reliability.
-Access to proven upsell and cross-sell technology and techniques -
---Automated product recommendations that offer similar functionality to what Amazon.com uses today.
---Community features and content, such as customer reviews.
---Automated merchandising, such as top sellers.
-Leverage the work you've already done - use the same product descriptions and images that you've already added to the Amazon Web site.
-Increase your sales opportunities - collect additional commissions by selling other Amazon products on your Web site through our Increase your sales opportunities - collect additional commissions by selling through our Associates Program.
Actually isn't totally free... you still have to deal with their commission fees, etc.
[edited by: lorax at 11:16 am (utc) on June 5, 2006]
[edit reason] fix side scroll [/edit]
Amazon started with books and for a long time and I think still for most people, online books = Amazon.
Then Amazon branched out into everything. That's not bad. Borders sells coffee, so why not have Amazon sell televisions? For me, it was still Amazon which, in my experience, has excellent service, good security, decent prices, but it started to get grey. They got into tools by buying an excellent already existing online tool store. I don't know about other "stores" but I think a lot of the expansion was by buying and that started to raise the question, "Is this Amazon" when buying something other than books.
Then came the marketplace, and you're not really buying from Amazon anymore. I trust Amazon, I even trust the stores they buy and back, but do I trust the partner who's supplying this item?
Now comes individual stores. I suppose there's a bit more control than a random site, but I think that over time as inevitably some co-branded stores turn out to be flaky, that will erode the trust and brand that Amazon has built up.
Maybe they don't care. Maybe this is e-commerce 2.0, social e-commerce where you get folks to build your store for you and Amazon just stops being a store at all, just in the same way MacDonald's HQ isn't a restaurant (or whatever you want to call a MacDonald's). Maybe it's the biggest reverse-affiliate move since EBay (reverse affiliate in that instead of getting a cut for selling Amazon products they give up a cut for the privilege of co-branding their store with Amazon).
watering down their brand
I think the Amazon strategy is brilliant and the idea is to water down the OTHER brands by commoditizing things like commercial sites and search. The relationships they are establishing will pay modest but very long lasting dividends.
The global search niche, by comparison, is hugely profitable but is always threatened by "the next best thing" since users will tend to jump to the best search having little stake in the brand itself.
Amazon has nothing to lose in the areas of free website, storage, web services, etc. I think they are very clever to provide complex, data intensive services.
Many people think of Amazon now as superstore rather than just a book store.
I think you're right about this. I know my thoughts are always "let's see what the price is on Amazon", no matter what the subject item is. I buy everything from kitchen gadgets, to wireless equipment, to DVDs, to books. I think they really are getting out from under the "Amazon = books" cloud.