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Amazon may show higher priced offers [with faster delivery] for Prime than for non-subscribers

By Chris Dawson October 23, 2018 - 9:00 am

Amazon shows consumers one price in search results and then hikes the price by the time they get to purchase. Typically this appears to take place when the consumer has subscribed to Amazon Prime, they may see one price in search results but click to buy and Amazon will divert them to an offer that qualifies for Prime Delivery even if this means paying higher prices.

As shown in the image above, an £8.99 price displayed in search results looks attractive, but viewing the single product detail page the price jumps to £9.49. The lower price is still available, but it’s not the default.

This will be no surprise to those familiar with Amazon, but seeing a low price in search results could hoodwink consumers into buying without even noticing the higher prices they actually pay. It’s most likely to happen if a search takes place before the consumer signs in and as soon as Amazon discovers that they are Prime members they show them Prime eligible items.

In this case it’s particularly interesting because Amazon applied the tag ‘Amazon’s Choice’ to both offers, originally in search results for the lower priced item but they have no shame in applying the same tag to offers with higher prices to Prime members on the single product detail page.

This is an important lesson for merchants selling on Amazon to remember – consumers not only don’t often check prices but, even if you have the best offer, if your product is not eligible for Amazon Prime a product with higher prices will be switched in in preference. Recent research revealed that 45% of consumers won’t consult another online store if all the information they need is provided in the first shop they visit and almost half of consumers visit Amazon first.

Of course not everyone is an Amazon Prime member but there are over 100 million of them and Prime members they are Amazon’s most loyal customers. Not only are they paying higher prices but these products are being promoted as Amazon’s Choice implying that they’re one of the best deals available.

[Article title edited at Amazon’s request to clarify Prime members can still access the same offers and prices as non-Prime subscribers]

“All customers, regardless of Prime membership, have access to the same offers and prices. The featured offer for a product may vary based on shipping speed but all offers are always available on the Offer Listings Page.”
– An Amazon spokesperson

  • Grieg
    2 months ago

    “that 41% of consumers won’t consult another online store if all ”

    Link not working, I would like to read this research, please.

    • 2 months ago

      Should be working now

    • Ian
      2 months ago

      Uh?? One is delivered by amazon next day and can be returned FOC with the option of being immediately credited when the item is received.

      For 50p less you can wait 3-5 days for it, delivered via an unspecified delivery company, return at your own expense if you don’t like it, and wait maybe 2 weeks for a refund.

      Ask 100 Amazon Prime members which option they prefer, THEN ask if Amazon showed them the their preferred choice by default.

  • Steve
    2 months ago

    Amazon actively encourage sellers to apply a higher price to F.B.A listings, they say you should cover the extra cost of F.B.A which inherently means that the customer will pay more and the merchant can do less for the money. Its a win win situation for Amazon and the merchant while the buyer/consumer looses out.

  • P King
    2 months ago

    so your scoop is that the seller with the buy box isn’t always the cheapest ?

    Searching for that item from a prime account shows the prime price in search results and on the item page first, with the non prime price shown as well.

    Exactly as you would expect.

  • 2 months ago

    On being invited to join Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime I think it was said that sales would increase by some 40%.

    But as also has been said above, buyers will be paying more for the privilege as my postal costs need to increase.

    I am thinking of giving it a try.

  • 2 months ago

    This is how they cheat the customer.
    I am right now canceling my prime membership.
    Thanks for this article

  • Jay
    2 months ago

    Surely if you’re advertising a price of £8.89 with the text “Eligible for FREE UK Delivery” shown directly beneath that price, then one would naturally assume that both the “price” and “delivery offer” are tied however as you’ve explained this is NOT the case.

    Just another way for Amazon to get in trouble with the ASA eventually but they’ll milk it until their caught out (basically until enough people complain about it). For a BIG company they don’t half bend the rules.

    Considering mortgage companies for years have had to state EVERYWHERE in BOLD letters that “YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSESSED IF YOU DO NOT…. etc.”, you’d be pretty miffed if you were selling mortgages following rules whilst watching Amazon get away this nonsense. I mean, what’s the difference? I don’t see Amazon having to state any large off-putting disclaimers is big bold writing on their product pages.

    Imagine this right there underneath the price…. “PRICE MAY CHANGE AFTER YOU SIGN IN”

    … yeah I don’t think so somehow.

    • james
      2 months ago

      it IS eligible for Free UK Delivery at the lower price.
      it’s not eligible for PRIME delivery at the lower price.
      no false advertising.

      if you have a Tesco clubcard, but the item you want is cheaper in Asda, does that mean Tesco have cheated you? or does it just mean two different sellers can possibly have two different prices? and those two different sellers might also have different delivery options?

      it may look a bit shady at first glance, but anyone commenting on this site should be savvy enough regarding how amazon works to recognise what’s actually happening here, and realise it’s not shady at all.

      Prime customers have already demonstrated they’re willing to pay more for a better delivery experience. it’s no robbery to pay more for something you consider better.
      and it’s only expected that amazon will float the prime results to the top of the page, even if it’s not the cheapest priced option, they assign value to the improved delivery which Prime members apparently share.

  • 2 months ago

    Amazon blatantly flout ASA rules and the ASA do nothing about it, apart from write an article in their magazine or on their website.

  • Jose
    2 months ago

    The article correctly says the lower price is still available for prime but is not the default choice. And let’s be fair, having it delivered next day has to have a price difference when compared with the normal 5 day delivery.

  • 2 months ago

    No shit sherlock, you’re paying for service and delivery….