Licensing Expo opened its doors yesterday with a keynote panel, entitled “Great Expectations: Pace, Selection, Convenience and the Customer,” which explored the landscape of commerce and how customer expectations are rapidly changing.
In addition, Amazon unveiled a new platform that will allow licensors to develop and launch products faster than ever before.
“I’m excited to announce that Amazon is accepting applications for Merch Collab,” says Nicholas Denissen, vice president, Amazon. “Merch Collab is a new licensing program where brands can work with vetted designers and manufactures to help create the largest selection of unique branded merchandise.”
So how does Merch Collab work?
Within the portal, licensors big and small can establish brand do’s and don’ts as well as creative guidelines for their brands. Once a licensor’s guidelines are posted, the brand owner will start to receive product submissions from qualified designers. Once a submission is received, brand owners can ask for revisions, reject submissions or approve submissions in under 30 seconds, according to Denissen.
Furthermore, licensors will have complete control over what product goes live and may choose to take a live product down at any time. Once approved, the design will populate the brand’s Amazon store, where brand owners can also analyze data and see what sells.
“Merch Collab was designed to make licensing as easy as one click, buy it now,” says Denissen, who also noted that the program will help entrepreneurs, designers and small businesses reach Amazon’s 300 million customers while also driving awareness and increasing speed to market.
The program will initially be open to a limited number of brands, but Amazon will be accepting more invitations throughout the year as the company “works to get it right.” Those interested in applying for Merch Collab can visit MerchCollab.Amazon.com.
So, what does Merch Collab really mean for the licensing industry?
“Based on what we’ve learned [at Amazon], we believe that the licensing industry can grow to $1 trillion in the next years,” says Nicholas Denissen, vice president, Amazon. “That’s four times the current growth rate, 15 percent year-over-year. We’re on the cusp of a huge revolution in customer behavior, and we believe this is achievable and we want to be part of making this happen.”
What will it take to reach $1 trillion in 10 years? According to Denissen, more brands, more licensees, more manufactures, more designers, more selection and a much faster turnaround time, which the company aims to achieve with its new Merch Collab program.