Amazon Launches Own Merchandise Line

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) ventured into the private-label product market today with the launch of Amazon.com’s Bag Shop. The new feature offers a custom-designed collection of six bags, which range in price from $29.99 to $79.99 (US$) and are designed to be “a high-quality, highly functional, fashion-forward product.”

Amazon.com “seeks to be the world’s most customer-centric company, where people can find and discover anything they may want to buy online.” Like all other products on its Web site, Amazon.com is soliciting reviews of each bag from customers who buy them.

The bags, pictured on the Bag Shop page, are designed to hold laptop computers, cellular phones, books, gym clothes and other items. The line includes a Shoulder Tote, a Messenger Bag, a Monostrap Pack, a Backpack, a Computer Backpack and a Computer Brief. While two bags are dubbed “computer” bags, all six have padded pockets that are designed to protect laptops. The bags also have room for the videos and CDs that Amazon sells.

The online retailer takes advantage of its new bag shopping page to advertise some of the electronic items that will fit in the bags — with links to buy those items from Amazon.com. The company highlights palmtop organizers and portable CD, DVD and MP3 players as items perfect for breaking in the new Amazon.com bags.

Building a Brand

Amazon.com’s bags are the first step in a strategy to capitalize on a brand name that has helped make Amazon.com the top shopping site on the Internet. According to Media Metrix, Amazon.com attracted more than 11.4 million visitors in July.

“As the Amazon.com brand evolves, offering branded merchandise is an important and exciting step,” Amazon.com vice president and general manager Mary Morouse said.

In addition to its flagship site, Amazon.com operates Amazon sites in the United Kingdom and Germany. Amazon.com also operates PlanetAll, the Internet Movie Database and LiveBid.com. The company has not indicated whether it plans to launch merchandise lines based on those sites.

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