Retail

Amazon claims local trademarks for private label range AmazonBasics: Will your business be affected?

Dominic Powell /

Retailing giant Amazon has snapped up a series of Australian trademarks related its private label brand AmazonBasics, which experts believe could put the pressure on a number of Australian retailers.

The company lodged four trademark applications last week, all associated with the name “AmazonBasics”, the company’s private label product range that launched in 2009.

The AmazonBasics range covers an array of product categories, from electronics and accessories to fitness and home goods. On the Amazon website, the AmazonBasics category includes over 1200 products across 28 departments.

Read more: Gerry Harvey says Amazon will “run into trouble” in tough Aussie climate — are predictions of the retail giants dominance accurate?

The highest selling products within the category include iPhone charging cables, batteries, yoga equipment, and backpacks.

The trademarks registered with IP Australia last week are associated with linens, homewares, tools, and pet goods. All trademarks are currently pending, with results of the applications expected mid-August.

The global e-commerce giant also has local trademark applications for its “Amazon Go” bricks-and-mortar retail concept, according to The Australian.

Amazon recently took the wraps off its Australian launch and revealed it will roll out its offerings Down Under towards the end of the year. Included in the announcement was the local launch of Amazon’s Marketplace, an eBay-style online store that allows small businesses to sell their products through Amazon’s website.

At the time, retail expert and associate professor at Queensland University of Technology Business School Gary Mortimer told SmartCompany the advent of Marketplace was a “great opportunity” for SMEs, but he says AmazonBasics could prove to be a game-changer.

“Private label products are gaining greater levels of acceptance from consumers, and it’s not just for food products, it’s across the board,” Mortimer says.

“It’s a great way businesses today can offer consumers products without any particular branding, which meets the need and enables the retailer to generate high levels of margin.”

While Mortimer believes certain groups of consumers are more likely to stick with trusted brands in a number of product categories, he thinks Amazon’s private label offerings will attract “value-seeking” consumers.

A potential launch of AmazonBasics would most likely affect retailers like Kmart, Aldi, Myer, or Kogan, which have their own private label offerings, says Mortimer, adding, “I don’t think anyone’s safe”.

“As Amazon enters with both Marketplace and their private label offering, if you have your own private label you’re selling, the consumers who buy that will likely trial Amazon’s offering,” he says.

An AmazonBasic iPhone charging cable can currently be bought for $7.99 through its online store, whereas a similar cable from Kogan’s private label range costs $15.

However, hair care and skincare companies will have little to fear, believes Mortimer, with consumers preferring branded products in those sectors.

“No one wants to put non-branded shampoo in their hair,” he says.

“This also extends to baby goods and other healthcare products which don’t lend themselves to a private label range.”

Small and medium Australian retailers are feeling generally positive ahead of Amazon’s local launch, with Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris telling SmartCompany in April while the retailer’s arrival is worrying, there’s room for multiple retailers in the market.

“I don’t think it will mean the death of small beauty retailers; there’s plenty of beauty retailers that co-exist in other markets,” Morris said.

“We plan to survive … just because there’s a very big competitor, it doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities. You need to have a pretty clear vision of how you’re going to help your customers”.

SmartCompany contacted Amazon but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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