Amazon launches 'Storefronts' as it promotes smaller US businesses

Key Points
  • Amazon launches "Amazon Storefronts," a collection of small and medium-sized U.S. businesses.
  • It says the subset of it website will push goods from nearly 20,000 businesses.
  • Amazon is also broadcasting its first-ever national TV commercial to help advertise the launch.
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Amazon has opened an online store where shoppers can buy specifically from U.S. small and medium-size businesses.

Unveiled Monday, "Amazon Storefronts" is accessible from the homepage and directs shoppers to nearly 20,000 American shops across the 50 states.

Online customers can search for goods through 25 product categories, such as back to school, home, kitchen, pet supplies and books.

Amazon vice president Nicholas Denissen said the e-commerce giant was showing its commitment to small and medium-size businesses as well as "championing their success."

To help push the image of smaller U.S. firms forming part of Amazon's makeup, the website will also host videos featuring company owners and their stories.

To support the launch, Amazon is broadcasting its first-ever national TV commercial starring businesses that sell on Amazon. The company says the ad will attempt to convey how Amazon is in fact a "big collection of small."

Earlier this year, Amazon introduced the Small Business Impact Report, which claimed small and medium-size businesses selling on Amazon are estimated to have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide.

A worker pulls carts full of customer orders along the floor inside the million-square foot Amazon distribution warehouse that opened last fall in Fall River, MA.
John Tlumacki | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

Internationally, third-party merchants now account for more than half of products sold on Amazon's sites.

In July, Amazon restricted storage space for sellers that keep inventory in Amazon warehouses for too long. As it tries to manage overcrowding at its centers, the company has also outsourced its logistics technology to outside warehouses.

The move is seen as a drive to move sellers toward becoming more professional in managing their own stock levels.