Amazon solicits customer receipts in data collection program

Courtesy of Amazon

AUTHOR Tatiana Walk-Morris PUBLISHED Oct. 22, 2020 retail dive

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon is inviting customers to participate in an Amazon Shopper Panel, a program where they can earn rewards by sharing receipts from purchases they've made outside of Amazon and responding to survey questions, according to the company's website

  • The company will save receipts customers submit for 12 months, but consumers can delete them without impacting their rewards from previous months. The surveys will ask participants their opinions on brands and products, but the number of surveys per month and the earnings per survey will vary.

  • In exchange for uploading 10 eligible receipts per month, consumers can receive $10 toward their Amazon Balance or a $10 charitable donation. According to the site, the company will use supervised machine learning to process the receipts, using human reviewers for "a small sample of submissions" to help train the system.

Dive Insight: At its core, the Amazon Shopper Panel is an attempt at gathering consumer information from outside Amazon's direct ecosystem to inform products and advertisements on its own platform.

This comes after, in July, CEO Jeff Bezos was grilled by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee about its marketplace practices, and accused in October by the House of Representatives' subcommittee on antitrust of holding monopoly power. In the October report, Amazon was said to refer to its sellers as "internal competitors" and the subcommittee added that its role as marketplace operator and seller "incentivizes Amazon to exploit its access to competing sellers' data and information." The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that Amazon used seller data to develop its own private labels.

Amazon noted on its website that gathering consumers' information through the Amazon Shopper Panel would allow brands to improve product offerings and help Amazon improve ad relevance on its platform. The company will use the data collected to improve its product and content selection across the business, research consumers' responses to ads and guide its ad models. The retailer added that it would delete "any information we can determine to be sensitive to panelists' privacy," including prescription information on drugstore receipts.

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