What do a bottle of shampoo made by Johnson & Johnson, a lamp from a Chinese seller and an Arc’Teryx jacket all have in common? Amazon has labeled them all as coming from American small businesses.
Amazon began adding a “Small Business” badge to items on its U.S. site about a year ago, pitching it as an effort to “help customers who want to support small businesses while also enjoying the convenience and security of shopping in Amazon’s store.” But the tag has lately popped up on items sold by large companies and overseas merchants. In addition, Amazon has categorized some products as coming from Black-owned small businesses that actually come from companies that are neither small nor Black-owned.
Amazon’s rollout of the Small Business badges coincided with an effort to enlist sellers in its battle against proposed antitrust legislation in the U.S. The company is arguing that regulating its marketplace would kill American small businesses. The rollout also came amid mounting pressure from e-commerce rivals, chief among them Shopify, that painted themselves as more merchant friendly.