An Introduction to the Amazon Brand Incubator Program
by Carina McLeod, on February 12, 2019
Formerly known as the Amazon Exclusives program, the Amazon Brand Incubator (ABI) program is a service that helps set upcoming brands up for success on Amazon. The service offers sellers brand support and access to enhanced merchandising and promotional tools, which are marketing features that are not available to all sellers. Plus, for those brands looking to sell their products exclusively through Amazon, they can receive added benefits including the possibility of having their brand gated against unauthorized sellers.
Who is the Program for?
The Amazon Brand Incubator program is available to individuals and businesses with particular focus on those launching innovative products or sellers that need help building a new to market brand.
Any seller can apply, as it is not an invite-only program. However, Amazon will have the last say as to whether they will approve or reject a brand into the program.
Within the program there are 3 packages: Core, Premium and Graduate.
Core: The brand receives support across all areas of the business, including brand consulting services that cover marketing, merchandising and brand support.
Premium: This is all of the above as well as access to exposure in high visibility marketing placements, data insights and logistics support. However, this package is invitation only.
Graduate: This is effectively a limited version of the Core package, the basic package, although to be enrolled in this package, the brand needs to have been either part of the Core or Premium package for at least six months.
Paying for the Perks
Of course, these perks don’t come free and to be part of this program, the seller will agree to an additional referral fee. The Graduate package is the cheapest at 2%, followed by the Core at 5% and the Premium at 10%.
As always with Amazon, there is eligibility criteria which that seller must hit in order to be part of this program. This includes maintaining the account in good standing order with the metrics for order defect rate, cancellation rate and late shipment rate being within Amazon’s target requirements. All products must be fulfilled through Fulfillment by Amazon or Seller Fulfilled Prime and the seller must be the brand owner and have enrolled in the Brand Registry.
As part of the services offered, all brands enrolled in the program will have access to another system called Brand HQ, in addition to Seller Central. As with anything at Amazon, it is a self-service tool. Within Brand HQ, sellers can connect with other brands via a forum, expand their knowledge with Amazon’s eLearning courses and have the option to participate in "office hours" and ask an Amazon Associate those pressing questions. Brands can also submit Best Deals and submit their products for merchandising opportunities such as category page placements. Lastly, brands are kept up to date on the latest Amazon news.
Is it Worth the Investment?
The question on many brand’s minds is, is it worth the additional fee? My response would be yes and no. It all depends on your knowledge as a brand, the stage that you are at and if you already have additional support managing your account. I have had hands on experience with this program, so I have seen this benefit sellers that have a new brand and are new to market with limited Amazon knowledge. For those more seasoned sellers it is less helpful, as the support provided is quite basic. Although, being kept up to date on all things Amazon is always an added perk no matter how advanced you are.
How Can I Apply?
If you are reading this and think that this program might be good for your brand. All you need to do is go to the Amazon Brand Incubator page and complete an application. An Amazon associate will be in contact in due course.