This week, Amazon announced a change that affects every one of the almost half-million third-party sellers on its U.S. marketplace platform. That's a big deal because those third-party sellers, along with the 1.7 million more worldwide, account for roughly half of Amazon's sales, according to the company.
Beginning in September, Amazon will require U.S. sellers to include their business name and address on their seller profile. It seems like such a simple move, and to be honest, it's actually a bit odd that it wasn't already policy that sellers had to identify themselves. That seems like a no-brainer, but it's just another way Amazon had previously taken a hands-off approach.
Now, that seems to be changing. In addition to verifying their identity with Amazon, sellers will also have to make clear where they are located. It certainly makes it harder to get away with selling fake goods when everyone can easily see who you are and where you're located.
So it will be easier for companies like Nike to track down sellers pawning knock off Air Jordans, and it's definitely better for customers to know who they are buying from.
And I think that this is even better for some of the small businesses that sell on Amazon because the extra information will help them build customer trust. In the past, a customer might have scrolled past a product sold by a name they don't recognize. I've done it hundreds of times when I find something I want, but I don't know how much to trust "Frank's Electronic Depot."
I mean no offense if there's really a Frank's Electronic Depot selling on Amazon--I just made that up. But it's actually the perfect illustration if there is. I've never heard of you, so it's unlikely I'm going to spend very much money on anything from your store.
Now, I suspect, customers will be more willing to purchase from names that may be less familiar. It's amazing, really, what a name and address can do for a customer's confidence. It tells a customer that you're a real business that actually exists somewhere in the real world, even if you mostly do business in the digital world.
As a seller, there's no reason you shouldn't want transparency here, unless you're up to no good. If that's the case, well, I can't help you.
For everyone else, consider the minor inconvenience of having to add some new information to your profile a valuable opportunity to build trust with millions of potential customers. In the long run, that not only changes the relationship you have with customers, it means you actually get to build a relationship with ones you never would have before.