Online retailing giant Amazon launched its own brand of diapers Thursday, opening a new front in retail battles with a direct challenge to name-brand vendors already selling on its website.
Amazon said the first offerings in its new Amazon Elements line of consumer products would be diapers and baby wipes, and that other competitively priced, "premium" everyday consumer products would soon follow.
But the Elements line is only available to members of Amazon's Prime $99-a-year subscription club, with the lowest prices available for those who are also members of its Amazon Mom group, as the company seeks to push more shoppers into its membership programs.
Amazon highlighted that the Elements line would provide quality-conscious shoppers "an unprecedented level of information" on product origins and materials.
"The two things customers told us they want are premium products that meet their high standards, and access to information so they can make informed decisions," said Sunny Jain, Amazon.com Consumables Vice President, in a statement.
The initial prices, including discounts to Prime members and the Amazon Mom club, put a size 4 diaper 10 percent more expensive than the popular Huggies brand.
But it was about 27 percent cheaper than the premium Seventh Generation brand, popular with health and environmentally-conscious consumers, in the Prime and Amazon Mom pricing.
Amazon has been seeking to push shoppers into Prime, originally a subscription service for free shipping aimed at frequent buyers on its website.
A Prime subscription now gives members unlimited video and music streaming as Amazon takes on powerful media groups like Netflix and Spotify.
In some areas, Prime is now offering same day delivery on groceries as well.