Amazon in the US has rolled out its Shopper Panel App, designed to allow invited and opted-in Amazon consumers to share data on purchases they make outside of Amazon.
Shoppers have to be invited to take part and have to sign in, but once up and running with the app, they simply have to submit images of 10 receipts from any non-Amazon retailers to receive either $10 in Amazon credit or a donation of the same to a charity of their choice.
Participants earn more rewards for surveys that Amazon then sends them.
It says it will redact and delete any sensitive personal data from the receipts, such as prescription details, as well as expunge all personal information when the user deletes a receipt in the app.
While customer research panels are common practice in retail, the scope of Amazon’s – and its use of mobile – makes it fairly unique. So, how does it plan to use the data?
On its 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. Amazon is in the midst of investing heavily in its advertising business, which grew by 44% in Q1 2020 to reach $3.9 billion – a faster rate of growth than both Google (13%) and Facebook (17%), but still well shy of Google’s $28 billion and Facebook’s $17 billion ad revenues.
The move also comes as Amazon is currently under intense anti-trust investigations in both the US and the EU. Amazon came under fire in July from US regulators over the use of third-party merchants sales data to drive its own-label business, while in the EU it is facing anti-trust charges