Amazon-Native Brand’s Orolay Accidental Success

The best selling winter coat on Amazon for the last four winters has been the Amazon Coat by a Chinese brand Orolay. Since 2017, it enters the Women’s Clothing best-sellers Top 100 list starting early November and stays there until February.

In March 2018, the New York magazine’s product recommendation site, the Strategist, wrote an article calling the Orolay down jacket the Amazon Coat, after it became a small, but growing, trend on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The coat went viral that winter. However, by the end of 2019, some consumers were saying the trend was dying. “I put it on the other day and felt really weird about it,” said Caroline Moss. “I just felt like I was putting on a meme that was done.”

The winter coat, nevertheless, continues to sell. Over the last two years, it has been number one or number two best-selling winter coat 93% of the time. It was in the top three positions 99% of the time.

Orolay Winter Jacket Best-Seller Rank on Amazon

Orolay Women’s Thickened Down Jacket sells for $149.99, comes with Prime, and has more than 12,700 reviews rating it 4.4 out of 5 stars. It used to sell for $79.99 up to the end of 2017; since then, it had multiple price increases, most recently this November from $139.99 to $149.99. It is now the most expensive item among the winter coat best-sellers.

Orolay is one of the Amazon-native brands. Brands that are launched on and for Amazon, but as they grow, expand to other channels. This August, the most successful Amazon-native brand Anker went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Over the years, Orolay has expanded the product line that now includes over 200 SKUs. They have also started selling worldwide as well as expanded into additional marketplaces in the U.S. - they started selling on Walmart this October. Its social media presence remains small, though - @orolay.official has just 2,500 followers on Instagram.

The Unlikely Tale of a $140 Amazon Coat That’s Taken Over the Upper East Side - The Strategist

The biggest reason for its success is the invisible affiliate links publications use. Publications write about Amazon hoping that their visitors purchase something on it, earning the website a percentage of the sale. There are thousands of stories written on Orolay, most with affiliate links linking to Amazon. Those stories made the otherwise generic clothing item to be perceived as a fashion trend. The Strategist calling it the Amazon coat made it the Amazon coat.

“Despite the fact that it was a relatively small local trend story for a New York-focused media brand, the post surged. A few weeks after it was published, Amazon noticed, too, and reached out to the Strategist asking what was going on. By now, the Strategist post is responsible for driving nearly 10,000 sales, and the coat has “Best Seller” slapped on its product description.”

Rebecca Jennings, Vox. February, 2019

It pays best to write about products on Amazon that are already popular - shoppers are more likely to purchase those. Thus after the initial wave of sales driven by the Strategist, other publications wrote their stories. For example, it made Oprah’s Favorite Things list in both 2019 and 2020. In turn, that created a flywheel that ensured the Orolay winter jacket was a best-seller because articles wrote about it, calling it one.

Perhaps the most impressive then, is that the Orolay winter jacket continues to uphold its “the Amazon coat” name. Year after year.

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Juozas "Joe" Kaziukėnas

Founder of Marketplace Pulse, Joe wears multiple hats in the management of Marketplace Pulse, including writing most of the articles. Based in New York City. Advisor to other startups and entrepreneurs. Occasional speaker at conferences.

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