Saturday, March 7, 2020

The cat and mouse game between Amazon and Covid19 profiteers

Amazon appears to be taking two different actions against sellers on its marketplace who are marking up prices. One action involves removing the so-called “Buy Box” for an item, meaning that Amazon does not display the normal “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons on the right side of the product page. In place of those buttons, Amazon displays a “See All Buying Options,” which requires customers to visit an extra page to view different prices for the product sold by various sellers.

This action often means that Amazon’s technology has determined that the price of the item is too high compared to prices elsewhere on the web or the manufacturer’s recommended retail price. It’s meant, in part, to signal to shoppers that the price might not be a good one, while still allowing the option to buy it anyway. Some of that is going on right now.


Sometimes, however, enterprising sellers are bundling together several units of a product into custom packs that aren’t sold anywhere else. In those cases, Amazon’s price-monitoring tech has nothing to compare the current price to.