After rolling out over 135 free offerings to help merchants grow their sales in its digital store as of the start of this year, Amazon said it is set to invest $18 billion in 2020 to assist independent businesses in selling to shoppers, according to an announcement.
The eCommerce retailer also said it would offer digital selling tips, education and other assistance to more than half a million American small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) selling on Amazon in the next year. It also intends to onboard 100,000 more American businesses as new merchants.
“Amazon’s success is directly tied to the success of independent businesses across the U.S.,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said in the announcement. “We are passionate about supporting small businesses, investing and inventing on their behalf to help them be resilient through COVID-19 and beyond.”
Amazon said that third-party merchants continue to comprise over 50 percent of all units sold in its store. U.S. SMB sellers sold more than 3.4 billion products in a 12-month timeframe concluding in May, averaging $160,000 in sales.
The eCommerce retailer also unveiled plans to invest another $100 million "to help small businesses around the world increase their sales and reach new customers this Prime Day and throughout the holiday season," per the announcement. Third-party merchants surpassed $2 billion in worldwide sales in 2019 during Prime Day, the company noted.
The news comes as Amazon looks to grow its “tech hubs” in six cities and fill “3,500 new tech and corporate jobs” throughout the country. The six targeted cities — which include Detroit, Dallas, New York, Denver, San Diego and Phoenix — will be part of an investment exceeding $1.4 billion. Teams in the cities will bolster different businesses throughout Amazon, including Amazon Advertising, Alexa, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Fashion.
COVID-19 has caused the sales jump for the eCommerce company. Its Q2 results saw the firm’s sales and profits nearly double, despite spending of over $9 billion on capital investment efforts.