Amazon is locked in a battle with a US based footwear company Allbirds. Allbirds is a startup company specializing in designing environmentally footwear. It has both online presence as well as retail stores catering to both American as well as Asian markets. The company has accused Amazon of cloning their product “wool runner” and releasing a strikingly similar product in their private footwear collection “206 collectives”.
Both the products are targeted for winter wear where the “Wool Wear” is priced at $95 and Amazon’s “206 collectives” is tagged to be $45. Besides the difference in the price points of these two products, the major difference lies in the usage of material to make the products. Allbirds uses Sweet foam (made out of sugarcane waste) compared to petroleum-based products used to make the bottom of the shoes. Made up of Merino wool, the “Wool Runner” shoes have temperature regulating properties, whereas the “206 collectives” are made up of blends of nylon and wool. This creates a distinct difference in the approach of both of the companies towards sustainability.
This has not been the first time that Amazon has been accused of cloning products. It has launched several products that are aesthetically similar to products from well-known companies. This strategy has helped the company to enter new market places as well as compete with some top brands in that area. It has faced several protests from other companies for copying their products. Amazon’s policy of deep discounting enables along with its strong online channels enables it to compete with startups such as Allbirds with ease. Fake products of different well- known brands are also flourishing in Amazon’s website affecting the goodwill of those companies. This, in turn, has caused companies such as Nike to withdraw their products from Amazon’s platform completely. The federal government has contemplated the decision to prevent Amazon from competing with its third-party merchants to allow fair competition among the companies. This step will help small companies to thrive in this immensely competitive environment.