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The Disappearance of “Featured Merchant” Status on Amazon
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Amazon sellers were in for quite a surprise recently after discovering that the Featured Merchant status had disappeared from product listing pages.
The consequences of this action are two-fold.
Firstly, it means that products on the “More Buying Choices” page are no longer sorted by those Sellers who have worked hard to attain the specific performance-based requirements needed to become a Featured Merchant, but instead, they are sorted by the cheapest landed price.
While Amazon claim that this change will enable customers to “comparison shop more easily”, Amazon seller forums were abuzz with Sellers denigrating the new move and condemning Amazon for unfairly awarding lower achieving candidates. As one incensed Seller put it, Amazon didn’t think clearly enough when they opted for this change on how much it will affect buyer confidence and satisfaction with the unproven and bad-ranked percentage sellers appearing at the top, for the world to see first, over the proven and loyal Amazon Featured Merchants.
In addition to ensuring that “higher-quality” sellers remain at the top of the list seen by potential buyers, the other advantage to having access to the list of Featured Merchants was that Sellers could see who was eligible for the Buy Box. Since only Featured Merchants can win the Buy Box, having this transparency meant that Buy Box competitors knew exactly who they were up against.
Although Sellers are still able to see if they themselves are a Featured Merchant and therefore qualified to win the Buy Box, they are no longer able to closely monitor their competition. (To check your own status, go to the Manage Inventory section in their Amazon Seller Central and click on the Preferences button. Then in the Column Display section, locate the field for Buy Box Eligible and select “Show when available” from the drop-down menu.)
How this has affected repricing software
Being able to closely monitor the competition is crucial for any Amazon repricer, since it needs to be able to determine which Sellers are worth competing with for the Buy Box and which are not. Since the information about Featured Merchants is no longer publicly available, repricers are being forced to consider the prices of each and every seller, including those who are not qualified to win the Buy Box.
This is detrimental and can seriously impinge on a Seller’s overall profits and success. This is because he would be competing against low quality Sellers with low prices, and therefore sacrificing his own profit margins.
Traditional rule-based solutions have felt the brunt of this change. Some repricers are suggesting that customers disable any rule that takes into account seller status. Instead, they should set a rule that reprices their items according to the Buy Box price only. These repricers are now trying to find a way to estimate who is a Featured Merchant and who is not.
The algorithmic advantage
Feedvisor customers, on the other hand, have no reason to worry. Since the Feedvisor algorithm is able to independently work out who is Feature Merchant and who is not, it means that customers are able to continue competing with Featured Merchants only. The algorithm takes into account complex and detailed information about every single variable that affects the Buy Box and therefore, it knows who else is in the running and who is not.
Feedvisor’s customers can therefore rest assured that their product offerings are in the best possible position when contending for the gold mine of online real estate.