Amazon is testing a change to its search suggestions that adds a link to the related brand’s store page. Branded searches like “adidas” have “adidas store on amazon” as an option. Crucially, unbranded searches like “men’s running shoes” also have a suggested brand store.
It is not clear which brands are participating in the test and how Amazon decides which brand store to feature for unbranded searches. For example, a search for “men’s running shoes” features the Asics brand while “women’s running shoes” show Adidas.
The company introduced Amazon Stores in July 2017 as a free self-service feature that lets sellers and vendors create brand stores on Amazon that act as small landing pages. Those brand stores allow some design customization, custom product curation, and integrated social buttons for sharing. Later, in March 2018, a dashboard was added with traffic insights, and, in June 2018, featured deals became an option. Since then, Amazon has continued to improve it by adding more layout customization choices.
However, brand stores have no discovery. The only customers to visit the brand stores come from a Google search or from clicking the brand name on the product page (a link the company has also recently renamed from, for example, “Asics” to “Visit the Asics store”). Only more recently, some brands started driving traffic to them using external advertising or by using Sponsored Brands on Amazon.
While limited in functionality today, brand stores could become a more significant part of brands’ Amazon presence. A core pillar of Tmall by Alibaba is Flagship Stores, which are more customizable and thus powerful versions of the Amazon equivalent. On Tmall, each brand has a separate fully-featured website, for example, asics.tmall.com, while also being discoverable through the global search on tmall.com.
Customers looking to buy Asics running shoes have a different experience going to amazon.com/asics than searching for “asics running shoes” on Amazon. That experience is more like going to asics.com. Because the brand store, just like the brand’s website, has no ads promoting competing brands.
No brands will abandon building a direct-to-consumer website for a brand store on Amazon. Customization features are not the hurdle, however. Most Amazon shoppers are unaware that those pages exist. Though, featuring one brand store in search suggestions is not the right way to increase discovery. Still, it hints to Amazon exploring how to present a fundamentally different shopping model to customers.