Updated: Oct 23, 2020
US e-commerce giant Amazon has launched a new program that directly pays consumers for information about what they’re purchasing outside of Amazon.com and for responding to short surveys. The program, Amazon Shopper Panel, asks users to send in 10 receipts per month for any purchases made at non-Amazon retailers, including grocery stores, department stores, drug stores and entertainment outlets (if open), like movie theaters, theme parks and restaurants.
Amazon’s own stores, like Whole Foods, Amazon Go, Amazon Four Star and Amazon Books do not qualify.
Program participants will take advantage of the newly launched Amazon Shopper Panel mobile app on iOS and Android to take pictures of paper receipts that qualify or they can opt to forward emailed receipts to email@example.com to earn a $10 reward that can then be applied to their Amazon Balance or used as a charitable donation. Amazon says users can then earn additional rewards each month for every survey they complete. The optional surveys will ask about brands and products that may interest the participant and how likely they are to purchase a product. Other surveys may ask what the shopper thinks of an ad. These rewards may vary, depending on the survey.
Consumer research panels are common operations, but in Amazon’s case, it plans to use the data in several different ways.
On the website, Amazon explains it “may use” customer data to improve product selection at Amazon.com and Whole Food Market, as well as to improve the content selection offered through Amazon services, like Prime Video.
Amazon also says the collected data will help advertisers better understand the relationship between their ads and product purchases at an aggregate level and will help Amazon build models about which groups of customers are likely to be interested in certain products. Amazon may choose to offer data to brands to help them gain feedback on existing products, the website notes. The program’s launch follows increased scrutiny over Amazon’s anti-competitive business practices in the U.S. and abroad when it comes to using consumers’ purchase data. Amazon came under fire from U.S. regulators over how it had leveraged third-party merchants’ sales data to benefit its own private label business. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testified before Congress in July, he said the company had a policy against doing this, but couldn’t confirm that policy hadn’t been violated. The retailer may also be facing antitrust charges over the practice in the EU.
At the same time, Amazon has been increasing its investment in its advertising business, which grew by 44% year over year in Q1 to reach $3.91 billion. That was a faster growth rate than both Google (13%) and Facebook (17%), even if tiny by compar