A new trade association has been established to give retailers and suppliers more clout when using Amazon as a sales platform.
The Responsible Online Commerce Coalition (ROCC) aims to ensure a “level playing field” for businesses relying on Amazon and other online commerce platforms, so that consumers can find the best products for their needs more easily.
The group will aim to promote key principles for fair and non-discriminatory treatment by the large platforms, including competitive pricing for seller commissions and fees, brand integrity and protection from counterfeiting, freedom to offer discounts and lower prices in different channels, control over sensitive data and the provision of objective search results.
ROCC has been set up by Amanda Lewis, Damien Geradin and Tom Smith – three anti-trust lawyers with a background in competition law in digital markets, including work at the US Federal Trade Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The team will focus primarily on the US, UK and EU and aims to “work constructively with policymakers, legislators, competition authorities and courts to make balanced and evidence-based proposals at a time when multiple jurisdictions are working to establish the rules of the road for digital markets.”
Amanda Lewis, who is a partner at Cuneo Gilbert & LaDucca LLP in Washington DC, said: “Amazon is a vital gateway for both large and small businesses to reach their customers. It is critical that Amazon plays by fair competition rules, rather than rig the game in its favour.
“Consumers and the economy both win if Amazon is forced to take its heavy thumb off the scale so that businesses can freely compete for customers on the true merits of their products.”
The group is not yet publicly announcing names or numbers of members, but organisers say several companies have already committed to joining, ranging from a large publicly traded company to small third-party sellers.