AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Thu Aug 5 2010 15:53:16

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Amazon.com wants its brand to be associated with low prices, and now it is soliciting shoppers to help it gather competitive pricing data. Amazon.com asks customers if they've seen products elsewhere at lower prices, and asks them to report exactly where they've seen them, online or offline.

On Amazon product pages, a question appears, "Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?" When shoppers click on "tell us about a lower price" hyperlink, a dialog box opens. Shoppers select either "Website (Online)" or "Store (Offline)" and then fill out a form with the price, date and location of the online or offline store that offers lower prices.

Amazon explains, "Although we can't match every price reported, we'll be using your input to ensure that our prices remain competitive." 

It's not clear exactly how Amazon uses this data, but it is unusual. Some third-party Amazon sellers may even be concerned about the practice, since Amazon.com requires them to adhere to its "General Pricing rule":

You must always ensure that the item price and total price of an item you list on Amazon.com are at or below the item price and total price at which you offer or sell the item via any other online sales channel.

However, Amazon is more concerned about price parity with brand name retailers, and it would be reasonable to assume Amazon.com would be more concerned about hard-to-find items than common items, where competition naturally lowers prices.

It raises an interesting issue: what is the best pricing strategy for multi-channel sellers? Do you offer lower prices on your own website and charge a premium when selling on all or some marketplaces? Does competition force you to lower your prices on marketplaces, or does it depend on what you're selling?

And should a marketplace be able to dictate that you not list at lower prices on your own website?




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Just a Seller

Thu Aug 5 17:22:58 2010

I sell my own products (not too many) on ebay, delcampe and my own website. I have no significant competition. Thus pricing is as follows: On my own website price is 100%, on delcampe: 110% and on ebay 120%.

This makes my life (commercialy) more relaxed. If any of my buyers prefers ebay they are more than welcome to purchase my products there. However - they pay the ridiculous ebay fees and not me.

As for Amazon pricing. I am not a big spender nor buyer. Still, whenever I find a book on ebay and on Amazon I have no problem paying a bit more and buy on Amazon. The warm feeling I get knowing that ebay is not making a profit on my activities as a buyer worth IMHO the few extra dollars I pay once in a while.

Long ago I concluded that the thought that ebay will pay the full price  for what they are doing to us sellers is not a good one for me. I believe they will never really pay that price.

So... the only thing I can do is deprive them from income when I buy, and let the buyers pay the fees when I sell (with hope they will choose not to and buy on my site).

I know it does not make much of a difference to let's say, JD, but it makes me feel a bit less helpless than it felt until a year or so ago when I was selling exclusively on ebay.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Troglodyte

Thu Aug 5 18:28:06 2010

When Amazon requires a seller to sell at or below their Amazon price in other sales channels. they're engaging in price fixing.

Price fixing is against the law.

Clearly, many sellers who read this blog are enchanted with Amazon, and if it were me, I'd be throwing away my blinders.

Amazon is just as bad ebay in its own way and getting worse.

The day will soon come that thanks to Amazon's 3P sellers Amazon will have a comprehensive catalog of SKUs, photos, standardized product descriptions, and perhaps even the names of your suppliers to begin competing against their many of their own sellers.

They will be every bit as cutthroat as ebay. Like ebay, they won't care.

Seller beware. Jeff Bezos is coming to get your business.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 5 19:40:44 2010

Generally, I sell for the prices I want on my website.  In the case of my needlework pattern books I always make sure sellers who buy them in bulk from me get a low enough price so they'll be able to make a good profit.  I try to not out price them since collectively they buy more from me and sell more of my items.  I do this voluntarily - I'd kick Amazon to the curb before I'd allow them to dictate the prices on my own site!

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: ole cheap me

Thu Aug 5 20:46:18 2010

I do a lot of buying on the internet, mostly craft supplies.

I hate to tell Amazon this but those supplies are 10 to 20 percent cheaper on Ebay. When Amazon allows someone to inflate shipping I go elsewhere.

Sorry Amazon, ya all ain't as great as ya all think ya are.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: RicRoe

Thu Aug 5 21:35:04 2010

So let's see where we are at....

JD desperately needs to increase sales or at least make sales appear higher, so he announced that eBay was "tweaking" search to surface higher priced goods.

Amazon continues to see tremendous growth in sales, and they are working the crowd to see how they can possible achieve lower prices.

Looks like Amazon is moving to keep the pressure on eBay.

This will be fun to watch.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: amazon seller

Thu Aug 5 23:01:37 2010

Ole cheap me, in the areas I sell, Amazon sets the shipping price, which is inflated, and then takes a big cut of that shipping price for itself, so I am more often than not shipping at a loss. Customers get the impression that sellers are making a pile on overpriced shipping charges, but actually sellers are losing money.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: eBuyer Feedback This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Aug 5 23:39:44 2010

That's what I never understood about S&H.  Buyers hate paying it and feel like you are cheating them out of their hard earned money if you charge them more than what the shipper charged you.  It doesn't seem to matter if your total price is still well below retail.  Yet Half.com (an eBay company) and Amazon both take a portion of the seller's shipping fee and they never even touch or ship the product.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: colorful one
Web Site

Fri Aug 6 03:27:20 2010

Amazon is another ebay.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Hardrock Rules

Fri Aug 6 07:25:16 2010

Sorry I despise eBay, but I am no fan of the River either. And I might add had no success on the River as of yet.

eBay had it all, and ruined it !

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri Aug 6 07:32:17 2010

If Amazon tells you what you have to charge are you still ''running your own business?''

Don't know about you folks but I am very tired of policing auctions, submitting prices and reporting policy violations.

WHERE'S MY PAYCHECK?

Amazon and eBay ought to do their own work.

Put that old fraud Uncle Grift to work,  he's not spending time writing eBay Bibles, advise columns, creating quality radio or ''advocating.''

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Fri Aug 6 10:20:21 2010

Yes, I add a premium on ebay and anywhere else I sell that charges me an FVF.

My website is always the best deal for buyers, because it's the best deal for me. My website is where I make the most profit, and where I prefer my customers buy from and return to.

That's simply business, and Amazon or Ebay has no business involving themselves in "other" websites.

Oh...and "price fixing" has to do with multiple vendors, not the same vendor. So it's not illegal "price fixing". Amazon isn't saying all ipod sellers sell at a certain price - only that the same ipod vendor can't have a lower price on a different site than amazon. I don't believe that's illegal since it's just a TOS that no one has to agree to - you don't have to sell there. I don't.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Digby
Web Site

Fri Aug 6 14:18:43 2010

I have my own product.
I have my own website.
I also lit son ebay (occasionally) and a few alt sites.
I looked at Amazon a year ago and decided that I did not want to risk being dictated to by a big corporation.
This just confirms my decision was correct.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Bob@eBay10K

Fri Aug 6 15:56:22 2010

What eBay and Amazon too fail to realize, is that every time they place their corporate boot on the neck of their sellers, and allow buyers to 'dictate' the justification for market manipulation in accordance to eBay and Amazon's 'analysis - for "a buyer's own good", instead of letting the free market processes themselves dictate price points, then prices will HAVE to rise as more sellers need to recoup the costs of doing business via these uncaring leviathans.

Every eBay 'enhancement' that allows a buyer to make and be rewarded by an unfounded claim raises seller costs.  Every Amazon 'service add on' done to 'placate and control the buyer's reactions' raises the seller's cost.  Every 'buyer report' made in subservience to eBay and Pay Pal enabled policy 'advertised' to 'enhance the buyer experience' raises seller's cost.  

And every seller who leaves either venue as a result of these heavy handed 'only-a-venue-good-stewardship-oversights' so to sell on their own controlled channels, decreases overall supply on the respective venue, and raises prices there.

And in the end, know what you get when you try to sell or buy a diamond ring for only $10?  You get a site full of'diamond' rings only WORTH $9, and a bunch of dissapointed buyers.  

Get out of our pockets.  Let the market dictate the prices - as it has for thousands of years just fine.  Good sellers will serve it - for their OWN best interests.  Those who don't will attrite by their own dictates. And in the end, succeed elsewhere selling at naturally dictated market prices and bring all those buyers with them.

Didn't they teach that in MBA 101?  

Dimwits.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: egun

Fri Aug 6 16:56:16 2010

Amazon.com is already stealing my business...they took about 10 of my best sellers and have taken the business away from me, who can compete with Amazon.com's buying power? No one. Anyone selling on Amazon.com need to realize that they're using your sales data to figure out if they should sell what you sell...and if they do, you can guarantee that they'll have a lower price and the Buy Box even if they don't.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: fat frog

Fri Aug 6 19:38:54 2010

Where are all the Amazon RAH RAH'ers. Usually this place is full of them knocking Ebay.

Maybe the worm has turned and people are beginning to realize that Amazon isn't any better or any worst than Ebay.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Rich

Sat Aug 7 17:08:50 2010

Amazon has lower prices on books, cds, videos, games and other products that are found on both Ebay and Amazon.  Overall; Amazon is very competively priced.  Ebay also is but not quite as good...in my opinion...

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Joe
Web Site

Sat Aug 7 18:51:27 2010

None of my stuff has SKUs, which makes it more difficult to sell on Amz.  It can be done with a fair amount of work, but their photo policy was the deal breaker for me.  I did not want to reshoot photos just to sell there.  And this recent pricing thing just pushes me a little farther away.  I don't need extra sales on Amazon unless I can figure in the cost of selling there into the product.  My website will always be the cheapest place to buy my unique stuff.

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Troglodyte

Mon Aug 9 16:50:07 2010

When John Donahoe's statement about "tweaking" Best Match to show higher priced items, it could be that he finally understands that many higher priced items are BETTER QUALITY items.

It's also possible that ebay makes more FVF money when one high priced but outstanding quality item is purchased than they make more when 10 cheap Chinese widgets are sold.

Duh!

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: andy

Wed Aug 11 01:57:18 2010

what if I use one ID for my amazon account and another ID for my own website? that way, i don't have to adhere to the general pricing rule right?

Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?   Amazon Asks Shoppers, Who Has the Lowest Prices?

by: Guest

Wed Aug 11 11:38:54 2010

Regarding AZ's Price Guidelines

That is Blatant PRICE FIXING the same a Connecticutt is challenging AZ on

If another Venue has a lower Seller Fee why shouldn't I charge less?

Ethics dictates I do so for the Customer

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.