This month, Amazon announced that beginning September 1st, they will display a seller’s business name and address on their Amazon.com Seller Profile page. For individuals, Amazon will display the individual’s name and address. Across the US, Amazon sellers' opinions of this news varied: Many welcomed increased transparency, while others disliked the additional exposure of personal information. What does this change mean for sellers going forward? Read on for some considerations and key actions for those using Amazon Marketplace.
Another step to combat counterfeiting
On April 11, 2019, Amazon published a blog on Day One, in the form of a letter from Jeff Bezos to shareholders. It detailed the rise of third-party sellers in recent years, specifically, that third-party sales had grown from 3% in 1999 to 58% in 2019. These numbers represent the share of the third-party side as compared to Amazon’s own business. Since then, Amazon has been escalating its effort to combat counterfeiting and IP infringement at a steady pace. A January 2020 report from the Department of Homeland Security even stated: “To increase transparency on this issue, platforms should significantly improve their pre-sale identification of third-party sellers so that buyers can make informed decisions, potentially factoring in the likelihood of being sold a counterfeit or IPR infringing merchandise.”
Amazon’s July 8 announcement on expanding information is sure to impact sellers. However, this change is consistent with Seller Profile pages across Amazon stores in Europe, Japan, and Mexico, where this information has been available to buyers for quite some time, due to different legal requirements.
What does this change mean?
Amazon’s update requires sellers to adapt to the continually changing landscape of selling on Amazon. On the plus side, this is another potential barrier to unauthorised sellers, grey market sellers, or those involved in retail arbitrage. This change makes it easier for brands, authorised sellers, and distributors to track down rogue issues and deal with them quickly. On the flip side, very small businesses (such as those run out of homes) may have more information exposed than they wish. This may force some businesses to adapt, even if it’s just getting a PO box, or being more careful about their business practices.
"As always I see the pros and cons,” said eCommerce Nurse founder and CEO Carina McLeod. “On a positive note, it exposes those sellers looking to hide that may be hijacking listings, adopting bad practice or that are unauthorised. On the other hand for those legit small sellers that may be using their home address may not want that level of privacy exposed. I definitely see a surge in businesses looking to buy an address on its way!"
Additionally, many Amazon customers may not always realize when they are purchasing from a third-party seller, especially when sold with FBA fulfillment. This could potentially change that and impact buying decisions. From a buyer and customer perspective, transparency is almost certainly a good thing. For those customers who want to dig into who and where they are buying from, it makes things a little easier.
How to update your information in Seller Central
Amazon is giving sellers a long lead time to make the change. Remember to make updates to your Seller Central account before September 1st.
You can view and update your contact information by following the steps below:
- Login to your Amazon seller account.
- In the Settings menu at the top right corner of Seller Central, click Account Info to view the Seller Account Information page.
- In the Business Information section, click the links for the information that you want to view.
- To change your business name, click Display Name and to change the address, click Business Address. Enter the new information or edit the current information.
- Once completed, click Submit to save.
Protecting your brand on Amazon
As Amazon continues to work on counterfeit and IP infringement issues, we suggest your business do the same. This most recent Amazon update makes it easier to reactively track down the occasional bad-apple seller. But you should already be taking proactive steps to protect your brand, minimising these issues from the start. Amazon has many programs and policies to help tackle this, such as Project Zero, Amazon Transparency and Brand Registry. Creating a frontline defense with these initiatives, as well as controlling distribution, pricing, and not devaluing your brand, is the best way to ensure your business thrives on Amazon.