Brands whose bottom lines were hurt due to e-commerce are fighting back against behemoth, Inc. (AMZN). According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, affected companies have adopted multiple strategies to undermine and counter Amazon's selling propositions. Among these are providing value-added services, such as promotions and product tune-ups, to enhance the attraction of physical stores to customers and make them a point of communication with the brand.

For example, running company Brooks has helped physical retailers cover partial costs for installation of a treadmill that allows customers to test shoes in stores and find their perfect fit. Similarly, a stroller company has organized free tune-up sessions at physical stores. Companies are also running "Minimum Advertised Purchase Programs" (MAP) to prevent the Seattle-based company from offering cheaper prices compared with physical retailers. The WSJ article quotes a small business owner as saying that the "pendulum has swung" against Amazon. (See also: 5 Ways to Beat Amazon.)

Has the pendulum really swung? Not quite. Amazon is the largest online retailer by a wide margin. The proliferation of broadband and smartphones has ensured that online sales will remain an important growth metric for brands. Nike, Inc.'s (NKE) decision to offer its products on Amazon's platform is an illustration of the e-commerce juggernaut's countinued ability to attract established brands. (See also: Why Nike Finally Turned to Amazon for Growth.)

As e-commerce grows, so will Amazon. In addition, Amazon offers a number of conveniences that are absent at physical retailers. For example, the company has grown its ecosystem to include the smart assistant Amazon Alexa, which enables customers to order products using voice commands. Brands cannot match this level of service across the scale offered by Amazon. (See also: Amazon's Alexa Delivers Prime Now Orders in 2 Hours.)

While brands and physical retailers have been integral to Amazon's growth and success, the company has made a number of moves in recent times to reduce its reliance on them. According a recent report in online publication QZ, Amazon has as many as 19 in-house brands across a broad range of categories, from household products to clothing to jewelery. These brands are often priced cheaper compared with other products and shipped quickly. Some are available only to members of Amazon Prime, the company's subscription service. It is likely that Amazon has performed due diligence before venturing into making its own products. The future for Amazon may very well consist of being a hybrid destination that combines established brands with the benefits of being a "vertically integrated" retailer that offers its own products. (See also: How We'll All Be Customers Eventually.)

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