A product with an “Amazon’s Choice” label on it automatically gets some cachet with shoppers. But exactly how a product earns that distinction has never been clear. Now two U.S. Senators are asking the tech giant to explain its process.
Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have given Amazon until Sept. 16 to explain how it chooses “Choice” products. At issue is whether its done through algorithms, if the choices are decided by human employees of the site and if companies can apply for or pay to receive the badge.
“Your customers reasonably rely on the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge to guide their final purchasing decisions,” the pair wrote in a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos. “In the minds of some consumers, the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge is a material representation of Amazon’s recommendations. (…) Yet, the badge may be misleading consumers into thinking the products that receive this distinction are the best available products.”
The “Choice” label can result in sales that are as much as 300% higher, according to a study by OC&C Strategy Consultants, as quoted by the Senators. Losing the label results in a 30% drop in sales.
“Amazon bears the responsibility of providing its customers with accurate information to ensure they can make informed purchasing decisions,” said the Senators. “Unfortunately, Amazon has failed to fulfill this responsibility with its use of the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge. We are concerned the badge is assigned in an arbitrary manner, or worse, based on fraudulent product reviews.”
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