Skip to main content

Amazon is beginning to discount items listed by third-party sellers

amazon discounts third party seller items
Image used with permission by copyright holder
If you’re taking to Amazon to take care of all your holiday shopping needs, you may be greeted by a welcome surprise. The online retailer has begun lowering prices by up to 9 percent on products listed by third-party sellers. This marks the first time the Seattle-based ecommerce giant has manipulated prices of independent retailer goods, and certainly heralds the company’s continued attempts to compete more directly with brick and mortar stores.

While sellers might otherwise be concerned about their margins as a result of these discounts, Amazon is said to be eating the cost difference itself. That means that when you see a new “Discount provided by Amazon” tag, you’ll know that your percent off is all thanks to the digital giant. And already, these price differences have begun to result in increased sales. As the Wall Street Journal reported, a Boots No7 Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler sold by kn9ght was discounted 6 percent to $20, which means you can now buy the beauty product from Amazon for the same price as you could from Ulta Beauty. Similarly, Amazon marked down a Risk Legacy board game sold by VirVentures by the same margin, to $43.92, which makes it three cents cheaper than it is at Walmart.

The discounts are considered to be special offers, which means they don’t last for more than a few days, and they are valid on items that use Amazon’s in-house fulfillment option. Sellers have noted that they haven’t been notified when Amazon decides to discount their products, but as they still receive the same amount of money, it likely doesn’t really matter.

While this is obviously good news for customers, the Journal notes that Amazon’s decision might negatively affect Amazon’s already tenuous relationship with large brands and manufacturers. And while sellers may not be receiving a smaller check as a result of the discounts, they could end up with less inventory than expected. Plus, the Journal notes, lower prices might “inadvertently violate a merchant’s agreement with a brand to keep its products at or above a set minimum advertised price.”

An Amazon spokeswoman noted that sellers can actually opt out of the discount program, which could address some concerns. But still, it’s unclear how the larger seller community might react to the change. In the meantime, however, you can take advantage of lower prices.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Amazon planning June discount event to jump-start sales, report says
Amazon logo on the headquarters building.

The coronavirus crisis has hit some sellers hard, with many online shoppers in recent months focusing on essentials over other kinds of purchases while they wait and see how the pandemic pans out.

Hoping to provide a much-needed boost for its third-party sellers, Amazon is close to announcing a one-off “fashion summer sale event," according to CNBC News, which saw an internal document about the initiative.

Read more
Amazon sellers are price-gouging on essential stay-at-home tech
Amazon Prime Day packages

Amazon says it has been on alert for price gougers since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but a review by Digital Trends found sky-high prices for work-from-home essentials like webcams, routers, and Ethernet cables -- and prices for products to keep you occupied like video game consoles and treadmills are also far above normal.
The data blog ThinkNum counted spikes in the prices of routers and Ethernet cables in March and April.
Ethernet cable prices generally now match the suggested retail price, but we still found examples of cables that were suddenly twice their original cost.
Market research firm NPD Group found a 179% increase in sales for webcams over the first three weeks of March. Many webcams are sold out through Amazon directly, but third-party sellers have jacked up prices. The Logitech C920 is selling for roughly $240 -- more than triple its retail price.

Another example is Internet of Things home security cameras. ThinkNum recorded a price hike in mid-March that has more or less plateaued, as well as an increase in the number sold. Examples are easy to find: The Arlo Pro 2, which tops off at $429 on the Arlo website, is selling for between $670 and $770 on Amazon.
Logitech’s Brio 4K camera -- $199 on the Logitech site -- has listings for between $350 and $490.
Standing desks and monitors — two items that people may want for a hastily-assembled home office -- as well as home exercise equipment have seen spikes in prices, too. Amazon price tracker site CamelCamelCamel reported rises in monitor prices and standing desk prices from third-party sellers at the end of March. Home exercise equipment like treadmills saw some similar trends.
Digital Trends previously reported that Nintendo's popular Switch console was selling for around $500 from third-party sellers; the Switch’s list price on Nintendo’s website is $299.
An Amazon spokesperson said at the time the company was monitoring sellers for signs of price gouging, but the costs have remained high. According to ThinkNum, the price hovered above $500 over the weekend. As of Tuesday morning, the console could sell for anywhere from $476 and $570
In a blog post at the end of March, Amazon vowed to “aggressively remove bad actors and offers” and work with law enforcement to “hold price gougers accountable.”
Amazon said it had removed half a million bad offers from its stores “due to coronavirus-based price gouging.” Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on how many listings it had now taken down or whether it was monitoring certain market sectors.
As with all shopping, it pays to do some research and price comparison. Out of stock items, if available from third-party sellers, may need an even closer look.

Read more
New Amazon grocery delivery customers placed on wait list due to high demand
Amazon Go Grocery Store

With many cities passing shelter-in-place orders and most regions encouraging people to practice social distancing due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, grocery delivery services have exploded in popularity as people seek to avoid going to busy supermarkets. But services are struggling to keep up with demand. Now, even the massive Amazon delivery service is no longer accepting new customers for the time being.

As reported by Reuters, new customers who want to sign up for grocery deliveries from Amazon through its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now services will be placed on a wait list, starting today. Shoppers have reported problems getting delivery slots over the last few weeks, and now Amazon is formalizing its approach to the issue by limiting new customers. It says it is working on making more slots available by increasing its capacity, and it will also introduce a queue system to allow customers to reserve a delivery slot.

Read more