Amazon Piloting Video Verification Process for Third-Party Sellers

Lisa Johnston
Editor-in-Chief, CGT
Lisa Johnston CGT

Amazon is piloting a program that validates prospective sellers’ identification via video conferencing.

It began testing the program in-person early this year, but switched to video conferencing as the spread COVID-19 accelerated. The process is part of the retailer’s efforts to cut down on fraudulent selling.

During the call, an Amazon associate checks that the individual’s ID matches and aligns with the documents submitted with their application. It does not use facial recognition technology, a company spokesperson confirmed to RIS.

The call also serves to answer merchants' questions about the registration process or their application.

“Amazon is always innovating to improve the seller experience so honest entrepreneurs can seamlessly open a selling account and start a business, while also proactively blocking bad actors,” the spokesperson said. “As we practice social distancing, we are testing a process that allows us to validate prospective sellers’ identification via video conferencing. This pilot allows us to connect one-on-one with prospective sellers while making it even more difficult for fraudsters to hide.”

Merchants who wish to sell on Amazon undergo a series of vetting and verification steps, including a proprietary machine learning system that analyzes data points to identify potential risk. This includes verifying whether the account is related to another account that was previously removed from selling on its marketplace.

Applications are also reviewed by trained investigators before being approved, the company said.

The program is being piloted in the U.S, U.K., China and Japan, and over 1,000 prospective sellers have attempted to register an account through it.

Amazon has long been criticized for not doing enough to cut down on the amount of fraudulent business engaged by third-party sellers, which make up a significant component of its sales. CEO Jeff Bezos revealed in his letter to shareholders last year that third-party sales had grown to represent 58% of total sales.

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