Amazon’s line of Amazon Elements diapers may have been ethically made, but apparently they were less than sustainable.
Less than two months after launching the new product, Amazon has announced that it is pulling them from sale in order to make “design improvements” deemed necessary “based on early customer feedback.” Amazon is apologizing to customers by offering them a $25 credit and the chance to try out the new diapers when they arrive on sale.
Available exclusively to members of the premium Amazon Prime service, the diapers were notably inexpensive: A 40-pack was available for just $9.99. Amazon previously claimed that it would “only enlist manufacturers meeting our high bar for quality and safety,” and that it would “test our products with our own families.”
For the line of diapers to vanish so quickly is something of a surprise (Amazon Elements baby wipes are still available), but indicates another challenge Amazon faces as it moves beyond being a retailer and distributor, and becomes a manufacturer in its own right.
On paper (or, at least on screen), Amazon’s decision to sell essential products like diapers, toilet paper, and deodorant makes perfect sense—with Amazon giving customers the ability to schedule regular replenishments of basic items, and also to receive the products quickly.
Today’s news, however, demonstrates that things aren’t always quite as straightforward in practice as they are in theory. It could also be a sign that the company is trying to do to many different things too quickly (for an in-depth look at the failure of another Amazon product, the Fire Phone, check out the cover story from this month’s issue of Fast Company).