Nike pulls shoes and clothes off Amazon

Nike has said it will no longer sell its shoes and clothing through Amazon, saying it intends to focus on directly selling to consumers.

The move will bring a pilot programme that started in 2017 – in which Nike acted as a wholesale supplier to the e-commerce giant – to a close, reports Bloomberg. It’s also being viewed as a big setback in Amazon’s drive to sign big-brand partnerships.

When the deal was first announced it was trumpeted as a means of making Nike products available more readily to consumers online, reducing its reliance on bricks-and-mortar retail whilst also helping to drive unlicensed resellers and counterfeit peddlers off Amazon’s marketplace platform.

The Wall Street Journal claims one reason for the move was disappointment that the arrangement with Amazon yielded as much of a benefit as expected in driving counterfeits and grey market goods off Marketplace.

Now, the fear is that counterfeits and grey market goods could once again proliferate on Amazon as the official sales channel closes, leaving consumers at greater risk of being sold a knock-off.

“As part of Nike’s focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail,” the company said in a statement.

“We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally.”

Analysts have suggested the company is planning to ramp up its e-commerce sales even further in the wake of hiring ex-eBay chief executive officer John Donahoe as its next CEO.

Amazon has implemented a series of initiatives to try to banish counterfeits, but is still facing requests for some of its sites to be listed as ‘notorious markets’ by the US Trade Representative (USTR).

The company recently said its Brand Registry programme that allows rights holders to register trademarks, Transparency product serialization service, Project Zero for the automated takedown of suspect listings and a new intellectual property rights (IPR) programme for smaller companies are evidence it is going “well beyond” its legal obligations on the counterfeit issue.

Amazon recently announced it was extending Project Zero to India, following on from its roll-out in the US, Europe and Japan.

“With this launch, we're excited to see many more brands in India, from small and emerging entrepreneurs to large multi-national brands, partner with us to drive counterfeits to zero and deliver a great shopping experience for our customers,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon's vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support.

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