Amazon opens store for unique products from small businesses

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2015 1:21 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — It may be the biggest online marketplace in the U.S., but a new store on Amazon will support the little guy.

The e-commerce powerhouse is opening a store that will offer exclusive electronics, toys and other products created by inventors and small businesses, including products featured on the ABC reality show "Shark Tank."

Dubbed Amazon Exclusives, the online store promotes unique products created by small businesses such as a range of Jackery mini phone chargers, $70 Hot Chocolate Design's Chocolaticas Mariquita shoes and $75 Zackees LED turn-signal gloves that alert cars when a cyclist makes a hand signal to turn.

Some of the products like the gloves and phone chargers were funded by Kickstarter campaigns. Others like a $700 inflatable paddle board were featured on "Shark Tank." — the ABC show that pits inventors with new products seeking funding against each other. Amazon said it also focused on products that won innovation awards from industry associations. All products in the Amazon store will be available only on Amazon or at the product creators' own website or physical stores.

The items are eligible for free two-day shipping for members of Amazon's $99 annual Prime loyalty program.

The new store is the latest push by Amazon to expand into different areas and reach new customers. The company's strategy has long been to spend a big chunk of the money it makes to grow and expand into new areas like cloud computing, streaming video, hardware and adding services for its Prime loyalty members. Last week the company opened a store on Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba's Tmall retail platform to reach more Chinese customers.

Shares of Seattle-based Amazon rose $1.12 to $370.63 in midday trading.