Amazon wants Cheerios, Oreos and other brands to bypass Wal-Mart, Costco

Amazon is holding a three-day gathering in May for major packaged goods makers to try to convince them to start shipping products directly to online shoppers and bypass chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco. 

Amazon.com has invited some of the world’s biggest brands to its Seattle headquarters in an audacious bid to persuade them that it’s time to start shipping products directly to online shoppers and bypass chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco.

Executives from General Mills, Mondelez and other packaged goods makers will attend the three-day gathering in May, Bloomberg has learned. Attendees will tour an Amazon fulfillment center and hear a presentation from Worldwide Consumer chief Jeff Wilke, who reports directly to Jeff Bezos.

Amazon is looking to upend relationships between brands and brick-and-mortar stores that for decades have determined how popular products are designed, packaged and shipped. If Amazon succeeds, big brands will think less about creating products that stand out in a Wal-Mart Stores aisle. Instead, they’ll focus on designing products that can be shipped quickly to customers’ doorsteps. Brands have been experimenting with such changes, so the Seattle event may well resonate.

“Times are changing,” Amazon says in an invitation obtained by Bloomberg. “Amazon strongly believes that supply chains designed to serve the direct-to-consumer business have the power to bring improved customer experiences and global efficiency. To achieve this requires a major shift in thinking.”

Manufacturers would have to re-imagine everything from the way products are made to how they’re packaged. Laundry detergent could come in sturdier, leakproof containers. Instead of flimsy packages designed to pop on store shelves, cookies,…

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