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Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?
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Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 32

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

I have noticed that some of my competitors are able to undercut me, almost immediately, at all hours of the day or night.

I had assumed it was some sort of automated system within Amazon offered to its store subscribers only (which I am not)...however, I just read an article indicating that this is often performed by a THIRD PARTY application, much like automated sniping is done on ebay.

Does anyone have some suggestions on a provider of such a service? Thanks!

P.S.: Here is the article: Amazon
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Joined: 05 Jun 2009
Posts: 173

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

Sorry don't know of a robot pricing provider at Amazon - but they are definitely there. Like you, I've seen my prices undercut almost immediately by other sellers. They set the amount that they want to undercut - like a penny or a dollar etc.

Personally, I'm pretty tired of it. My last month listing there. I'll just sell off what I have. It's a shame, because sellers can get good prices there. Fees are OUTRAGEOUS at Amazon though.

One way I've dealt with some of the bots is to lower my prices way down which automatically drives the bots to lower the other sellers price. It doesn't always work, but sometimes I raise my price back up and the bot leaves the other seller's price low. Some buyers won't buy the cheapest item, they'll go for the more expensive one. And, even, if the other seller's item sells at the lower price that the bot picked - well, that's what the bot was told to do.
Nobody seems to know how some sellers can sell a $20 or $30 book for a penny. Especially since Amazon's "allotment" for shipping rarely covers the cost of shipping (after Amazon takes their cut of the standard shipping fee it charges all buyers)

My last straw though is not so much the bots. That's irritating but I've gotten used to it. I'm leaving Amazon because their cataloging department is so bad. I'm tired of taking the time to scan images, write nice descriptions etc to have them trashed either by Amazon cataloging or by other sellers. My pictures OFTEN come up missing or my nice scanned image is replaced by some carpy half-lit junky pic. Other sellers replace it because their book or item is different or has a different cover. I've complained several times and it just seems to get worse.

Imagine you list something on ebay and have a great picture and another seller (or cataloging dept) come in and delete your nice photo and replace it with the photo of a different item!! Welcome to Amazon. Of course those sellers (or Amazon) don't care. The listing has been hijacked. And, if you don't notice the changes made to your listing, the item can sell and then you may have to set things right with the buyer (and you did nothing wrong) Technically, the listing doesn't belong to any seller once its uploaded to Amazon, but it is discouraging and eventually leads to worse listings. Why bother with pics and writing a good description to have it changed and/or have your item undercut.
Just a pitfall when selling at Amazon.
This is especially bad since Amazon hounds the sellers for good descriptions and photos. The sellers are constantly reminded that their listings are incomplete without them.

Some Amazon sellers think that this is malicious sellers messing with other sellers. I'm beginning to believe that. It usually takes a month or so for my listings to be hijacked or changed. I recently listed a nice book, had a nice photo and description. Within 2 days my photo of the nice cover was gone - replaced with a horrible photo of the title page of a book (not the same edition as mine) The image was of a dirty, moisture stained and wrinkled page of the book. If someone really had the book to sell, you would think that they would want the best image. But, they had a different edition (very important to some buyers) and did not have a dust jacket (also very important to some)

Anyway, I've had it with Amazon and their robots. By the way Amazon has rolling blackouts just like ebay and you'll soon notice that all your items go to certain parts of the country, and strangely, you'll notice states and locations where you never sell anything. That's because the items apparently aren't shown to all potential buyers in all areas. Amazon sellers are also kept under the "speed limit" that Amazon puts on the amount of items they sell. It supposedly is for the "customers" buyers protection, so that the seller isn't overwhelmed with business!! But, In my humbug opinion, I think it has a lot to do with getting the most fees out of the seller.

For those of you considering it, if you think the new rules at ebay are bad, consider their source - Amazon.

Oh yeah, while I'm at it. Many sellers on Amazon's forums think that their sales have dropped (by a lot in my case and others) Many think that it's Amazon's "cloud" and Amazon's crash last week that took so many other web-sites with it. Something seems fishy with sales since.

And I don't have an agenda (belive it or not) Just sharing my experiences and information.
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Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 32

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

i hear ya, but most of the issues you mention don't apply to me because I am an individual seller at Amazon, so i have to list existing catalog items only (I don't create my own listings). However, I know sellers are VERY annoyed that their listings get hijacked by other sellers...that is one of the reasons I don't want to pay any subscription there. Therefore, the rolling blackouts probably HELP me in my competition with more established/subscribing sellers.

Besides that, you get virtually nothing for DVDs/Blu-Rays at ebay these days...I do MUCH better with these types of items than I ever did at ebay. The Amazon fees are about as high as ebay's for media items, however as I said I get higher prices and NO PAYPAL fees! Woo hoo!

Furthermore, I seem to get MUCH better response from Amazon customer service than I did at ebay my last few months there.

On the other hand, I don't really have a choice because ebay suspended me for 'abuse of the Discussion Boards'....if you don't agree with everyone over there, they ban together and report even the most benign posts which get pulled by bots and when that happens enough, you're suspended forever...Amazon gets my money now and I obviously no longer can SPEND money at ebay either...this is surely affecting some of the sellers I bought from regularly there in the past. I spent so much money over there on things like Frontline Plus, vacuum bags/belts, collectibles of all kinds, movie projector belts, 16mm / 8mm films, DVDs, personal/health items, etc. etc. etc. That cashflow is gone...imagine the aggregate effect of all sellers who have been suspended and therefore are no longer BUYING there either. For me, most of the stuff I bought at ebay can be found elsewhere but I always supported ebay first as I was a seller there.

Ebay is committing suicide--I didn't even LOOK at Amazon before this--had I known earlier that much of my inventory would sell BETTER at Amazon, I would have made the move a long time ago.

But we are off-track....hopefully someone will come along with a good Amazon re-pricer that isn't $50/month AND ALSO requires an Amazon seller subscription.
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Joined: 31 Dec 2008
Posts: 215

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject:  

Hmm... would it be possible to manipulate the prices enough that you put the one up as a lost litre just to get the automatics to lower it to a price you want to BUY it at to resell?? :P
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Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 32

Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

heh...of course that has crossed my mind! :) However, my competitors seem to specify a minimum price so the bot doesn't underprice their items too severely.
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Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 5176

Posted: Thu May 05, 2011 1:08 am    Post subject: Re: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

high level sellers, above "pro merchant" have that system you imply built in. you can really do number on them, especially on the weekend if you play your pricing right. most don't know how to use it correctly and you can drive them down to ridiculous levels and bring you price back up an hour later and leave them loosing all kinds of money. great fun.
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Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 32

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: Amazon 'robot pricing' of items--suggestions?  

Well, I discovered i had more sales than I realized, just making it worth it to go for the pro-merchant account.

Then I signed up for RepriceIT.

RepriceIT sucks.

First off, you have to have a Pro Merchant account to have it reprice while you're not there (automated).

It won't take shipping into account in the overall repricing equation, which is a fatal flaw for those item categories where your competitors can customize shipping charges. They claim that there is no way to account for shipping costs, so if that is true then ALL repricers are useless if you sell in those categories that allow variable shipping costs for your competitors.

Frequency of repricing is uselessly low--5 or 6 automated reprices per day. I see seller listings that change prices in response to me within minutes. RepriceIT is useless against these competitors.

You can TRY it for free for 30 days, but I am going to cut the connection to my PayPal account so it doesn't renew after the trial period.
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Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 32

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:27 am    Post subject:  

been using Seller Engine Plus with great success since posting here (until my suspension this month)...fyi.
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