What is an Amazon storefront and why does everyone on TikTok have one?


HomeHome / Blog / What is an Amazon storefront and why does everyone on TikTok have one?

Aug 29, 2023

What is an Amazon storefront and why does everyone on TikTok have one?

It's nearly impossible to scroll through my TikTok For You Page without being

It's nearly impossible to scroll through my TikTok For You Page without being faced with an onslaught of influencers trying to get me to buy something from their Amazon storefronts.

I understand why it might be so popular on my FYP. I love stuff. I love sweaters and books and gadgets and toys for my cat and tiny little guys I can put on my shelf(opens in a new tab). But I also don't have an Amazon Prime membership, and I do my best not to shop through the site for a variety of reasons, including:

The company made billions of dollars after the Covid-19 pandemic first began to spread, but it still didn't give workers hazard pay. This led to at least seven deaths(opens in a new tab).

Despite calls for the biggest companies in the world to decrease their emissions, Amazon's carbon footprint increased by 15 percent in 2019(opens in a new tab).

Amazon workers are twice as likely to be injured than the industry average, according to the Strategic Organizing Center(opens in a new tab).

It is harmful to artists, writers, and publishers(opens in a new tab).

Amazon sells its facial recognition technology(opens in a new tab) to law enforcement agencies.

It consistently tries to stop its workers from unionizing for better treatment(opens in a new tab).

Despite it all, I'm still faced with videos of influencers whose style I like telling me they got something beautiful on Amazon — and to make sure I go to their Amazon storefront to order it.

The idea of storefronts isn't new for Amazon; it's just sort of an influencer-centric version of its Amazon Associates Program (AAP), in which anyone can choose products they want to promote, drive traffic from outside Amazon onto the shopping platform, and make a small commission from anyone who buys from that.

"Historically, that has really helped Amazon to build traffic," Yoni Mazor, the CGO of GETIDA(opens in a new tab), a program that works to improve the operations of Amazon FBA [Fulfillment by Amazon] sellers, told Mashable. "But in the past few years, since at least in 2017, the Amazon Influencer Program [AIP] kicked in. Amazon started to reshuffle the cards."

Amazon "identified the rise of social media and influencers," according to Mazor, and influencers started working with the AIP to set up storefronts and earn some extra cash. Influencers earn the same commission rates as associates.

"The Amazon Influencer Program helps creators build their small businesses by recommending products they already love and use to their followers," Meredith Silver, Amazon's director of creative growth, told Mashable in an email. "Whether it's a creator's full-time job or part-time venture, we provide the tools and educational opportunities to help them grow their small business in an authentic way."

Creators earn with the AIP by curating their storefront, linking to products, promoting Amazon services like Prime Video and Amazon Music, and livestreaming and recommending products through Amazon Live. Similar to the AAP, creators get a "commission halo effect," which allows them to continue to earn for 24 hours from the time a customer clicks through their associate link to Amazon and makes any those purchases. Creators make anywhere from a few dollars to $1,500 a month, according to Business Insider(opens in a new tab), with commission rates ranging from one percent to 10 percent.

And it seems to be pretty helpful for Amazon's business model.

Nearly half of all Gen Z customers have bought a product based on a recommendation from an influencer when compared to the rest of the population, according to a 2020 study(opens in a new tab). And Andrew Pearl, the vice president for marketing insights at e-commerce software provider Profitero, told Modern Retail(opens in a new tab) that influencers involved in the AIP have been crucial in the success of Prime Day.

"For Prime Day this time and in July, TikTok users watch these videos, and use a link directly from TikTok which sends them to the influencer's Amazon Storefront directly on the Amazon app," Pearl told the outlet. "So you can go directly from TikTok to shopping on Prime Day. This seems to be ubiquitous across all influencers."

In order to get involved with the AIP, creators have to have apply(opens in a new tab) with a qualifying YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook account. It's not entirely clear what "qualifying" really means here, but Amazon looks at "the number of followers" someone has in addition to "other engagement metrics." The platform doesn't say why a creator is accepted or rejected into the program, but once they are accepted, they're allowed to create a storefront and drive sales directly there. On TikTok, influencers show off their Amazon purchases in what are effectively commercials for the items, telling their followers, "Hey, if you want to buy this, check out my storefront at the link in my bio." There, they've collected all their favorite Amazon items — from mugs to vacuums to dresses — for their followers to access.

This comes at a time in which approval of labor unions at the highest point since 1965, a 2021 Gallup poll showed(opens in a new tab). Among those who support it, Gen Z is America's most pro-union generation, according to the Center for American Progress(opens in a new tab). A Mashable report from August unpacks how 70 Gen-Z TikTok creators with a combined 51 million followers began fighting back against Amazon's unfair labor practices in solidarity with the Amazon Labor Union. They refused Amazon sponsorships and the monetization of their individual platforms for Amazon as part of a campaign called "People Over Prime,"(opens in a new tab) which was coordinated by advocacy group Gen Z for Change(opens in a new tab). The activists on this campaign know that big tech companies aren't going to stop users on their platforms from pushing for Amazon, but that's not what it's all about.

"It wouldn't hurt if TikTok wanted to support unions and Amazon workers, but I'm more pragmatic in thinking that that's not gonna happen, and understanding that it's going to have to come from us, and there's something authentic with that," Elise Joshi, Gen Z for Change's deputy executive director and director of strategy, told Mashable. "We want other people in this country to have the right to have a safe working environment and just labor conditions and the right to bargain with your boss for better wages and benefits. There's something more meaningful to that than insisting that TikTok prevents Amazon from coming on their site. There's something more human-to-human about our strategy that I like a lot.

Amazon is millennials' favorite way to shop(opens in a new tab), but this isn't necessarily a generational issue.

"Amazon needs to keep their company chugging, and that comes with this culture of shopping and consumption. It's not a young person issue. It's a very intergenerational issue," Joshi said. "But in order to capitalize on the fact that young people are on TikTok more than older generations, [Amazon] knows that if they monetize hundreds of creators' platforms and drive young people onto their sites, that they can have a hold on our generation particularly."

UPDATE: Nov. 4, 2022, 9:14 a.m. EDT A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that AAP commission rates are lower than that of the AIP. They earn the same commission rates. It was also incorrectly stated that only creators part of the AIP get the commission halo effect, when both influencers and associates receive the commission halo effect.

UPDATE: Nov. 4, 2022, 9:14 a.m. EDT