Amazon is reportedly testing a new feature to convince shoppers to buy its own brands

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty ImagesJeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon
  • Amazon appears to be tinkering with how search pages on Amazon.com highlight the brands it owns.
  • It is testing a feature that encourages shoppers to check out items from these private labels by adding a link under search results, according to CNBC.
  • It’s the digital equivalent of a store asking customers to compare its private-label brand with the name brand.
  • Amazon’s use of private-label brands to compete with other brands on its website has recently come under scrutiny.

Amazon is putting more into its private-label brands than ever before.

It now has more than 100 private labels, selling everything from mattresses to body wash. Now, it wants to put those products in front of customers in a new way. Amazon appears to be testing a feature that encourages shoppers to check out its private labels by adding a link under search results, CNBC reported.

For example, if a customer was searching for paper towels, underneath the result for Bounty’s products would be a link to one of Amazon’s own brands, Presto, along with the text “Similar from our brands.”

Amazon declined to comment on the new feature to Business Insider.

This is essentially the digital equivalent of a store asking customers to compare its private-label brand with the name brand, which many grocery and drug stores already do.

Business Insider was unable to reproduce the results that CNBC reported, so it’s unclear whether this feature is just a test for certain users right now. Vendors are complaining about the practice in Amazon’s seller forum.

Private label has become a huge focus for Amazon as it is continues to develop, source, and release new products. It recently released its own line of AmazonBasics mattresses, for example.

Amazon’s private-label brands have also come under fire lately, as some critics have pointed to the problems inherent with the company’s overall strategy to be both a retailer of goods and a marketplace platform for other sellers.

Critics including the European Union’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, and US Sen. Elizabeth Warren have said that Amazon limits competition, as it can use its sales data to help launch its own brands and products like the new mattresses. The EU has opened a preliminary investigation into whether Amazon has violated antitrust rules by using third-party data to launch its own products, though it has not yet become a formal inquiry.

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