Counterfeiting is a bane for retail markets, whether brick-and-mortar or online. To combat illegal selling practices, Amazon heightened security on its seller verification process and has hired an all-star team of FBI agents and federal prosecutors to help protect brands on the platform.
In its Brand Protection Report released last week, the company revealed these new practices and other key statistics, including:
- The company grew its Brand Registry program by 40% to include over 700k brands.
- Amazon nixed over 2.5 million accounts before they could post something on the marketplace — down from 6 million last year.
- Expanded their in-person verification program.
- Raised the benchmark to a 100% requirement for seller verification in multiple key markets.
The report states, “Our robust seller vetting and our efforts to hold bad actors accountable are deterring bad actors from attempting to enter our store.”
As for its Counterfeit Crimes Unit, Amazon stated that the team works regularly with law enforcement and customs agencies. They’ve brought civil suits and collaborated on seizure operations across the globe. Targeted groups include:
- Logistics providers
- Fake invoice providers
- Social media influencers
Using its three-pillar system — controls, tools, and accountability — the company stated it will continue to ramp up its counterfeit security efforts.
Crypto presence widens on PayPal
Last year, PayPal began allowing users to complete purchases using cryptocurrency. This year, the company is expanding the use of crypto on the platform. Rolling out over the next few weeks, PayPal will support “the native transfer of cryptocurrencies between PayPal and other wallets and exchanges.”
The news comes after the company received its ‘Bitlicense’ from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The governing body approved a provisional Bitlicense in 2020 that allowed users to use select cryptocurrencies and later make purchases on the platform. But now customers can:
- Make coin transfers into PayPal for supported coins
- Move cryptocurrency from your PayPal account to external crypto wallets and exchanges
- Send cryptocurrency directly to friends and family on the PayPal network fee-free
As an early adopter and believer in cryptocurrency, PayPal announced it would continue expanding its role on the platform. Expect to see more services, products, and features around crypto in the coming months.
Walmart raises Flipkart IPO valuation target
The battle for the Indian eCommerce market rages on. Walmart, Amazon, and the Indian government (ONDC platform) all continue to make moves to increase their piece of the pie chart.
This week, Reuters reported Walmart plans to increase its IPO valuation target of Flipkart from $50 to $60-$70 billion. The company will also list the company on the US stock market in 2023 instead of 2022.
With Walmart’s 77% stake in the company, it has a lot riding on this IPO. Flipkart is the company’s Amazon competitor in India and has been key to expanding services throughout the nation.
Stalling the IPO may seem worrisome. But Flipkart is focusing on increasing the valuation over the coming year through its new travel booking and healthcare services branches. And last year, the company had a funding round that raised $3.6 billion and increased its value to $37.6 billion. Even with
The Indian government continues to churn out more eCommerce regulations in the country. But we can expect Walmart to double down on Flipkart in the coming years.
USPS changing Ground Services
eCommerce retailers must be in the know regarding logistics in their markets.
Back in March, USPS submitted an intention to change its practices. And last week, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the changes, even after stating they could potentially lead to higher costs and delivery disruptions.
This approval affects both the Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground ‘competitive’ products, which will consolidate their volume as they did with their First-Class Package Service on May 1st.
The USPS stated it will increase the speed of the delivery. But the Postal Regulatory Commission stated the changes could cause “disruptions in processing and transportation operations and cost increases.”
All the while, sellers seem to be stuck in the middle of this back and forth between the two agencies. Regardless, the Postal Regulatory Commission is a nonbinding group that can only make recommendations, so the USPS can do whatever it wants.
European shipping regulations may affect sellers
Last week, Etsy notified its sellers about the new consumer protection directive from the European Union that could have implications for multiple eCommerce platforms. The announcement outlined the new regulation that requires sellers who ship to the EU to identify themselves as ‘traders’ to their buyers.
Because of this ‘trader’ tag, sellers must comply with EU laws that require adherence to a ‘right to withdrawal’ provision. The provision states that sellers must offer a 14-day return policy along with contact information.
eBay has already followed suit with an announcement of their own regarding the policy change. We can expect more platforms to release information soon.
Academy Sports and Outdoors eCommerce sales grow by 375% in three years
If you’re not American, you may not be familiar with Academy, but it’s one of the largest retail sporting goods chains in the world. And over the past three years, the company has seen its eCommerce sales grow by leaps and bounds.
Since Q1 of 2019, Academy increased its eCommerce sales by 375% — including a 19% increase in the first quarter of this year. And the company will invest more in its online platform to keep that trend going.
According to Chief Financial Officer Michael Mullican “Ecommerce growth should continue as we make further enhancements to academy.com.” If you want to know how to steer your eCommerce business through a pandemic, this could be a company to look into.