Large scale hacks and data privacy breaches seem to be almost daily headlines.
As might be expected from the world’s largest retailer, Amazon is taking steps to secure its customer data – sometimes even from its own sellers.
It’s called Personally Identifiable Information (PII). And Amazon is making it clear: Amazon owns it. Amazon wants to protect it. And Amazon wants brands and other sellers only to use it to fulfill orders.
PII as defined by Amazon includes any information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify or contact an Amazon customer or authorized user. That includes:
IP addresses and other digital identifiers
Amazon’s PII policy states that the information may only be stored for as long as needed to fulfill the order. And there is a 30-day limit on PII storage unless the information is needed for tax or other regulatory purposes. In these cases, PII needs to be stored “cold” – in a way that isn’t available for immediate use or in an offline encrypted back up.
While having PII information would be valuable for brand marketers, restricting PII access makes sense from Amazon’s point of view. While brands and other third parties may sell on Amazon, Amazon still considers these shoppers to be Amazon’s customers. Amazon wants to protect its customers from unwanted marketing pitches and from more serious issues such as identity theft or seller-side data breaches.
Controlling PII also helps secure Amazon’s marketplace leadership. Every customer interaction with Amazon produces a wealth of customer data that Amazon uses to optimize its platform and shopping experience. Not sharing this information gives Amazon an edge in designing a better customer experience. Controlling PII information also prevents brands and other sellers from marketing directly to the consumers they gain through Amazon sales – and potentially cutting Amazon out of future transactions.
Amazon is sending a clear message to sellers: These customers are Amazon customers and their information is to be used only for order fulfillment. Failure to comply with Amazon’s PII directive could result in account suspension or termination.
In selecting an ecommerce operations platform, you’ll want to make sure it supports PII (along with all other Amazon policies). While the ideas behind PII are straightforward, the technology to pull it off is complex and something not all platforms support. Etail has had a long, positive partnership with Amazon and often works with them in developing new products and programs for large-scale sellers.
The Etail platform fully supports Amazon’s PII directives. Etail anonymizes PII information on all Amazon order 30 days after the order is fulfilled. PII includes names, email address and street address. City, state and zip code information remains to help in analyzing fulfillment, shipping and other logistics trends. If you need PII data for a transaction after 30 days, you can download the data from Amazon Seller Central.
Want to know more about Amazon PII or how Etail can help you comply with other Amazon policies? Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help