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Amazon Pushes Sellers to Price Low

Amazon is pushing sellers to price low, at least during the holidays in Europe. Citing the poor shopping experience that higher prices can cause, Amazon sent the following letter to a European seller in the Toy category this month:

“You are receiving this email because you are listing one or more ASINs in the Toys category. We have noticed in the past that certain popular Toy ASINs have been sold above the recommended retail price during the holiday season, creating a poor shopping experience for customers.

“At Amazon, we give the utmost importance to ensuring a great shopping experience for customers. Hence, we reserve the buybox award for eligible ASINs that are listed at competitive prices and the buybox will not be awarded to offers with a price above the recommended retail price.

“You can review your prices for your listings using the new “Pricing dashboard” on Seller Central. Please help us to offer the best shopping experience to customers by ensuring that your listings are competitively priced.”

Notice Amazon uses the threat of the Buy Box to influence seller behavior. Sellers are already factoring in price as part of their strategy to get exposure in the Buy Box, but apparently not to Amazon’s satisfaction.

In a discussion this spring about Amazon pressuring sellers to price low, one seller wrote, “While I understand that Mr. Bezos would like me to price my inventory at the lowest price that’s not gonna happen until I, too, am a billionaire. In other words, not anytime soon.”

They added, “I would kill for a repricer that would allow me to filter out international sellers, drop shippers and certain competitors in addition to dealing with conditions,” a reference to the complexity of pricing goods to suit conditions on Amazon.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.