Amazon is utilizing old-school snail mail to ensure the sellers on its market actually stay the place they are saying they do.
After requiring third-party sellers to make their enterprise names and addresses public in September, Amazon is now ensuring their addresses are genuine and correct. To do that, the corporate started mailing postcards to third-party retailers who promote on its U.S. market to confirm their addresses, based on an e mail reviewed by CNBC.
“As a part of our dedication to supply a secure and reliable procuring expertise for our prospects and promoting companions, we have to confirm the enterprise deal with displayed in your Amazon.com vendor profile web page,” the e-mail says, including that retailers will not be prevented from promoting on the platform whereas their deal with is being verified.
Here is what the postcards appear like:
Amazon is mailing postcards like this one to third-party sellers to confirm the deal with listed on their profile.
On the postcard is a verification code that sellers are instructed to enter on an inside portal. Right here, the recipient’s deal with and verification code have been obscured to guard their id.
Amazon confirmed to CNBC that it started testing the initiative with new sellers final 12 months, then began together with some present sellers initially of this 12 months. The corporate mentioned it now plans to broaden the initiative additional. Three third-party sellers advised CNBC that Amazon knowledgeable them this week that they might quickly obtain a postcard searching for to confirm their deal with.
“We leverage a mix of superior machine studying capabilities, strong vetting, and professional human investigators to guard our prospects and promoting companions from unhealthy actors and unhealthy merchandise,” an Amazon spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “As soon as a vendor is allowed to promote in our retailer, we proceed to watch their account and its behaviors for brand spanking new dangers.
“We’re consistently innovating on this house to remain forward of unhealthy actors and their makes an attempt to bypass our controls,” the spokesperson added.
How the verification course of works
First, Amazon will contact a vendor informing them that the corporate must confirm their enterprise deal with. Retailers then evaluate and make sure their enterprise deal with on an inside vendor portal, known as Vendor Central. As soon as that is full, Amazon sends out a postcard to sellers that arrives in just a few days.
On the postcard is a verification code that sellers are instructed to enter on Vendor Central, based on a duplicate of the postcard reviewed by CNBC. Sellers have 60 days to confirm their deal with. In the event that they fail to take action, Amazon mentioned, it will probably withhold funds from sellers’ accounts.
Amazon will block any accounts that show to have an illegitimate deal with. And if a vendor’s postcard will get misplaced within the mail, Amazon will permit them to request a brand new one to be despatched to their deal with.
Final fall, the corporate began requiring retailers on its U.S. market to publicly disclose their enterprise title and deal with to be able to make it simpler for customers to vet these sellers and their merchandise prior to buy.
Amazon operates on-line marketplaces in additional than a dozen areas, however its largest is within the U.S. As of late March, Amazon had greater than 6 million third-party sellers worldwide, with greater than half of them promoting on Amazon in North America, based on Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research firm.
Before the new policy went into effect in September, consumers could click through to a seller’s profile to review buyer feedback and view their satisfaction rating, as well as contact the seller with questions.
But there was no easy way to see where the seller is based or which legal entity is offering the product, unless consumers were shopping on Amazon marketplaces in Europe, Mexico and Japan, where sellers have long been required to display their business name and address, due to local laws.
As Amazon has grown to become one of the largest e-commerce players worldwide, it has built up a huge third-party marketplace made up of millions of businesses that hawk their wares. Third-party sales make up more than half of Amazon’s revenue. However, the marketplace’s sprawling scale has opened up the company to a host of issues, including the proliferation of counterfeit, unsafe and expired goods.
Listing seller information in the U.S., as well as verifying that it’s accurate via the postcards, could be effective measures to help Amazon push more bad actors off the platform. Google also sends out postcards to verify addresses of businesses on Google Maps and other properties.
For example, it’s become a common tactic for merchants to create multiple accounts in order to continue selling on the platform after they’ve been suspended by Amazon, which is in violation of Amazon’s seller policies. If a seller operates dozens of accounts, they’d have to display a unique business address for each one and verify that the address is real.
“It’s perhaps the only way to answer the question: ‘Is the address you told us an address you have access to?'” said Juozas Kaziukenas, CEO and founder of Marketplace Pulse. “Otherwise a seller can enter any address, and there isn’t a way to answer the same question, especially for international sellers. Amazon does require bank statements and other documents for new sellers with an address that matches what you submitted, but this is taking it further, and for old sellers.”