Trust and reliability underpin the Baby category on Amazon. Shoppers buying items for children need to be able to depend on the product’s safety, and that’s non-negotiable. This fact permeates the category, shaping strategy for everything from brand protection to marketing.
Amazon is frequently criticized for the prevalence of counterfeit products sold on its platform. Fortunately, the Baby category largely avoids this challenge. Because these products are intended for young children, brands must meet many legal and marketplace requirements before they can sell baby products.
Likewise, this category also doesn’t see many counterfeit products. Because safety is a huge factor in the buying decision for baby products, shoppers are willing to pay more to get a higher quality product. As such, counterfeits struggle to gain a foothold.
The Baby category is dominated by large, established brands that have years of credibility in both physical and digital retailers. These brands often have a controlling presence across most subcategories in Baby, which is somewhat uncommon on Amazon. We can attribute this trait, at least in part, to brand loyalty.
Consumer behavior in this category is driven by trust and protectiveness. Once a shopper finds a brand they like, it makes sense that they would want to go to that brand for other baby products. This has enabled and incent baby brands to broaden their product catalogs.
This landscape may be daunting for new brands trying to break into the market, and rightfully so. One silver lining is that, because there are a few larger players rather than many smaller players, the cost-per-click for Amazon ads tends to be lower than in other categories.
Amazon has a strong first-party retailer presence in the Baby category, but this is starting to change. The pandemic placed an unprecedented strain on Amazon’s operations, exposing weaknesses in their logistics model. Many brands ran out of stock as consumer demand rose unexpectedly, manufacturing paused, and supply lines were restricted. We saw this result in a small exodus of baby brands seeking alternatives to their Amazon 1P relationship.
Nevertheless, many major brands in this category still retail through Amazon, including household names like Huggies, Pampers, and Aquaphor.
Appropriately, the Baby category is one of the four most restricted categories on Amazon (followed by Beauty, Health & Personal Care, and Grocery). Before entering the Amazon marketplace, brands should collect their Child Product Certificates and safety testing certificates because Amazon will require copies.
The Baby category includes many types of products, including toys, apparel, food, cleaning supplies, car seats, and more. With this broad spectrum, the category is overseen primarily by three regulatory agencies:
Some products will fall into multiple categories and may be overseen by other regulatory agencies as a result. As such, it is imperative that brands identify which standards are mandatory for their product on Amazon.
Most products that are approved for sale in the US are also allowed on Amazon. However, some products are restricted on Amazon due to safety risks, such as:
Before selling on Amazon, review Amazon’s list of restricted products to ensure that your product is permitted on the marketplace.
To determine the regulatory requirements for your product, you should research each federal agency’s purview and determine which your product falls under.
You should also have your product tested in a reputable lab. There are many domestic and foreign laboratories that are accredited with different federal agencies, so brands can shop around for the best prices and services. Accredited labs for baby products include CTT, BV Labs, and Intertek.
If you utilize a testing lab, they will often provide a regulatory analysis that can help determine all the compliance requirements for a certain product or category of products.
Brands selling in the Baby category on Amazon are really selling to two audiences: an adult and a child. Both of their criteria must be met in order to capture a sale.
Adult shoppers in the Baby category, typically parents or family members of the recipient, are motivated by love, protectiveness, and pride; they want items that are safe, enjoyable, and demonstrate their care for the recipient. These desires are reflected in the importance of product quality to parents.
In an Attest survey of 1,000 parents called, “Consumer Trends: Children’s Products and How to Advertise to Parents,” highest quality was found to be the single most important factor in parents’ buying decision when shopping for children’s products. The survey also found that the number one reason parents would start buying from a new baby brand is if it offered better quality than their current brand.
Finding the highest quality item requires research, so adult shoppers in this category will likely review multiple listings before making their decision. As such, you should strive to make their research as easy as possible by speaking to the quality of your product in the text, images, and videos in your listings.
Though it may seem obvious for this category, brands must also remember that they are selling to children. A child may have developed their own tastes, with preferences for particular colors, patterns, icons, etc.
If the child is old enough, they may actively help pick out the item with their parent. Even when the child is not actively selecting the item, shoppers buying baby products often try to consider the child’s early preferences when making their buying decision.
How to account for this will vary by the product type. If selling a toy or game, include images (and ideally a video) showing children playing with it, which will help children and parents determine if it’s age appropriate. If selling clothing or bedding, include close up photos of the pattern for the child to engage with.
Shoppers seek out not just products they can trust, but also brands they can trust. Once they have found a brand that they like and trust, it makes sense to return to it for future purchases (assuming that the brand offers the product they need).
As such, baby brands must deal with two factors: They need to win the shopper first, and they need an expansive enough product catalog that the shopper can return to them for future needs. If the brand has a narrower catalog, shoppers are forced to return to the research phase. If they find a new brand that they can trust and it offers a larger catalog, the first brand just lost a repeat customer.
This post is only scratching the surface. We wrote a complete eBook covering more requirements and a dozen marketing strategies specifically for the Baby category on Amazon.