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Bloomberg reports that Amazon is working on a product that that will let retailers run independent stores.

The project hasn’t been announced officially yet, but former company executives told Bloomberg, that Amazon has been working on it since late 2017 and could release it as soon as next year.

At the moment the most well-known company that provides similar service is Shopify. The platform has grown massively throughout the pandemic, hitting a $178 billion valuation. Its payment-processing, inventory-management, and other tools power a huge number of small online shops, alongside behemoths like Chipotle, Allbirds, and Staples.

What’s in it for Amazon?

Amazon seems to be shifting from the consumer-first mentality to an immersive ecosystem, which will allow brands to better connect with their customers and create more customized experiences along the way, writes Macarta.com. The successful launch of Amazon Posts and Brand Follows in 2021 also points in that direction.

Amazon Posts allows brands to create and promote product-related content, directly linking to specific product listings. Essentially, this is Amazon’s version of Instagram. The program started as a beta solely in the US, but has already expanded to multiple marketplaces around the world.

Brand Follows has been another important addition this year. Like social networks, customers are now able to follow their favorite brands and receive updates, new posts, customized email marketing, and more.

On the other hand, selling through Amazon is like having a booth in a market. Customers will go to Amazon website and search for the products that they need. Products that you provide will appear alongside other suppliers’. This way, it is more difficult to differentiate between your store and others’.

Allowing sellers to create their own online stores could fix that. It would help them build customers’ trust, leading to higher conversion rates and repeated sales.

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