Done Deal: Amazon is Eliminating List Prices


Avert your eyes if you don’t like change – another time-honored tradition may be going away. Markdowns are old news – online retailers are getting rid of list prices.

When salespeople become salespeople, the first thing they learn is cost, margins and list price. The notion of ‘you don’t own the final retail price, but you must make very good suggestions about what price to sell at’ is ingrained.

All that may be about to change as Amazon is quietly removing list prices and leaving a single price. No longer will sellers have to wonder whether or not they’re getting a good deal, but rather they’ll have to KNOW they’re getting a good deal. As for consumers, they will no longer see a suggested price followed by a discount, but simply the single price that Amazon is selling for.

In this day and age, online shoppers are very savvy about the value of an item. Very rarely are they immediately swayed by the sticker price. Many apps will help a shopper find the best price while they shop – Google Shop and Price Grabber are very popular for finding the “true” retail price of an item.

In this context, the list price is the price that is normally seen crossed out on an Amazon listing. Shoppers are accustomed to seeing this price, followed by a discounted price they can purchase at. This automatically generates some satisfaction, a feeling that they’ve saved some money, but have they?

List price has always been contentious. The suggested value of an item is different than the true market value of an item, and the digital shelf has done nothing but shed a light on that fact. “If you’re selling $15 pens for $7.50, but just about everybody else is also selling the pens for $7.50, then saying the list price is $15 is a lie,” says David C. Vladeck, the former director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “And if you’re doing this frequently, it’s a serious problem.”

Is Amazon changing their strategy by removing the proverbial timeworn sticker of a suggested price, or are they simply trying something different? Perhaps they want consumers to start regarding theirs as the only “true” price for an item? Maybe the only way to get a better deal on Amazon is to be a Prime Member? It seems only time will tell.



As the Retail Industry Manager at Hubba, Phil is responsible for uncovering both emerging trends and insights that may impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Phil helps brands and retailers adapt to the the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. Phil is a frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the US, across multiple verticals, and is a featured writer in trade publications such Retail TouchPoints, Pet Product News, BikeBiz, and more.