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Each week we’ll be reporting on the top three stories in eCommerce. For more content like this delivered straight to your Inbox, subscribe to the SUMO Heavy Weekly Newsletter.

Amazon Cracks Down on Counterfeiting 

Amazon has been under pressure from shoppers, brands, your first grade teacher, grandma, and lawmakers (pretty much everyone) to crack down on counterfeits on its site.In response, the company has announced that it blocked more than 10 billion (with a B) suspected phony listings by the end of last year before any of their offerings could be sold.That’s an alarming number of scammers, and those are just the sellers who have been caught. The numbers were released in Amazon’s first report on its anti-counterfeiting efforts since it announced new tools and tech back in 2019. The number of blocked fake listings last year was up about 67 percent from the year prior.The number of scammers rose rapidly during the pandemic as sellers tried to take advantage of the rising number of bored Amazon shoppers. Counterfeiters attempt to get their products on Amazon through its third-party marketplace, where sellers can list their items directly on the site. The company also destroyed 2 million counterfeit products sent to its warehouses last year before they could be sold. It said less than 0.01 percent of all items bought on the site received counterfeit complaints from shoppers. But the fakes are becoming notoriously hard to detect — which is an entirely different can of worms. Democratic senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Dick Durbin of Illinois, re-introduced a bill this year known as the INFORM Consumers Act. It would require third-party sellers to be verified and to disclose their name and address to shoppers. The bill has yet to be voted on. 

Instagram Launches New Drop Section

It seems as though Instagram is making substantial updates to their app every single day. Some changes are effective and others…are making users bee-line in the opposite direction. But, for now, the company is adding a new feature to help connect online shoppers to product drops through its app.Drops, which are a newer e-commerce trend that leverages exclusivity, help sellers create buzz for forthcoming products in the time leading up to their launch. Think of the brand Supreme. The products themselves are often only available in limited supplies or for a short period of time, increasing demand and catalyzing the hype. On Instagram, Drops will now have their own destination inside the app at the top of the Shop tab, where users can discover and shop all the latest product launches as well as launches on the horizon. Shoppers also can sign up to receive reminders about products they’re interested in, and look through products and collections from other recent drops.This isn’t exactly new. Brands on Instagram had already been running drops after Instagram released a product reminders feature back in 2019. The feature allows users to get notified when an item in which they were interested becomes available for purchase. To date, brands across fashion, beauty, streetwear and others have leveraged the feature, the company says, including Hill House HomeDragun BeautyAdidas and others.The new Drop location essentially just organizes those launches. Some of the most recent drops include the Drake x NOCTA “Cardinal Stock” collection and upcoming drops like Wren + Glory hand-painted summer collection and Charlotte Tilbury Exclusive Pillow Talk Lips & Dreams Lashes Kit.

H&M Develops Pride Scanner App

As part of its Pride campaign, H&M has developed a web-based scanner app that detects rainbow patterns. The company claims that the image-recognition technology is the first of its kind to recognize color.When users scan rainbow-decorated objects in their surroundings, including Pride flags, food or clothing, the app opens a “Beyond the Rainbow” landing page spotlighting stories from a variety of LGBTQ people, including influencers and H&M employees. The brand is encouraging consumers to post about their own experiences on social media as part of the push.This is a noticeable pushback towards a lot of brands’ MO of just slapping a rainbow on their logo and calling it a day. In fact, H&M partnered with actor and singer Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, influencer Héctor Trejo, DJ, model and actor Sus Wilkins and actor and activist Chella Man to support the effort.It will also match donations to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ suicide prevention and crisis intervention, for the June campaign. This more candid approach to Pride marketing could resonate with consumers who have been side-eyeing brands taking advantage of Pride. More companies have been accused of “rainbow-washing” the occasion in recent years, co-opting a profound movement to shill rainbow-decorated products and then ignoring LGBTQ consumers the rest of the year.But, more authentic strides have been made. Procter & Gamble recently partnered with LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD on an initiative that seeks to help advertisers and agencies at large develop more authentic messaging strategies. The Visibility Project provides industry best practices and thought leadership around LGBTQ representation.