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Amazon Marketplace gives small retailer big consumer access


For vertical medical accessory retailer Cielo Pill Holders, simply getting its products in front of potential customers is a key business challenge.

To meet this challenge and also obtain third-party fulfillment support, North Bend, Washington-based Cielo has been leveraging the Amazon Exclusives program of the Amazon Marketplace platform since summer 2015. The Exclusives Program, which provides extra benefits in exchange for agreement not to sell items on any other third-party retail platform.

“Amazon Marketplace provides access to where consumers are buying products today,” said Christine Boerner, founder and CEO of Cielo, during an interview with Chain Store Age.

Boerner launched Cielo, which domestically manufactures waterproof pill fobs for sale online, in 2013. Initially, the company sold its products through a proprietary e-commerce site. However, in addition to obtaining a larger customer audience, Cielo also gained several other advantages from becoming an Amazon Marketplace seller.

“On the back end, Amazon Marketplace manages all my shipping and fulfillment,” said Boerner. “We ship goods in bulk to one warehouse, where they break them apart into orders that are sent to fulfillment centers across the country.”

Other hosted services Cielo obtains include customer service for product returns, as well as a reporting tool to check inventory position.

“Amazon Marketplace takes most of the back end off my plate,” commented Boerner.

Actual shipment of products is handled by UPS through Amazon, meaning Cielo gets to pay the reduced Amazon rate. Currently, Cielo handles its own e-commerce fulfillment using a proprietary back-end platform built on the Squarespace content management system. However, the retailer may shift that portion of its back-end operations to the Marketplace platform, as well.

In the seven months since it started selling on Amazon Marketplace, Cielo has seen a four-times increase in online sales volume.

“We get extra marketing support,” said Boerner. “Our products show up in curated search results, and there are additional public relations opportunities.”

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