In order to boost its business in third-party marketplace, Amazon acknowledged to using ‘aggregated data’ from sellers listed on its platform. The reveal came out in response to an antitrust probe, which might raise concern with such sellers.
In an October 11 released document from the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee this Tuesday, the data that has been fetched from public sources and Amazon’s first-party sales, is available to company’s retail and private brand teams.
The panel looking into the potential breaches of antitrust law has also revealed the responses from Apple, Google and Facebook. Amazon has revealed that they do not use individual sellers data to boost their business or boost its private labels.
Amazon’s statement provides an overview on how the information from sellers involved in Amazon’s retail business, influence its decision. Big sellers on the platform have often shown concern that the company is utilizing their personal data to undercut their business. Private label products are created by Amazon or partners and are sold only on Amazon’s website under an exclusive brand name.
Amazon did not immediately respond to these allegations. In response to the queries from congress, the company responded that the use of public and aggregated sales data to predict the demand of products is a standard practice in retailing and there is nothing wrong with this.
Amazon also stated that it may ask the third party sellers to lower the prices on its website, if it sees that the seller has listed the product at a lesser price on a competitive website. Amazon has stated that all of this is decided as per product’s availability, price and frequency of purchase.
Asked how it ranks shopping results on its website, Amazon said its algorithm does not consider factors such as whether it has a competing private label brand, if a competing third-party seller has purchased ads, or if the seller is enrolled in Amazon’s logistics program.
These statements comes at a time, when the company is facing massive heat globally, specially in an important market like India, wherein there has been massive protests from both its own sellers and offline retailers. The allegations once again revolve around company’s preference to its own brands and predatory pricing around the same to help its own business. India’s commerce ministry has since issued orders, to aid offline retailers, by prohibiting ecommerce firms from selling products of the companies in which they have stakes.. Such has been the impact of these protests, that Jeff Bezos might reportedly fly down to India, to look in to the matter and possibly ease out the situation.
Amazon has not provided any specific information on the items requested by the committee. These information included how many labels were sold at or below cost, how much profit the company makes on private brands, and its pricing rationale for third party marketplaces.