Amazon is launching an invite only ordering experience for high-demand low-availability products. The new option is designed to limit inventory shortages and price gouging caused by robot traffic.
Amazon made this move to ensure that authentic customers can access products without problems. The new program launches in the United States. Items associated with the program include PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game consoles.
“We work hard everyday to provide customers with low prices, vast selection and fast delivery,” stated Amazon’s vice president of consumer engagement, Llew Mason. “This includes developing a shopping experience where customers can purchase items they’re interested in without having to worry about bad actors buying and reselling them at a much higher price.”
Amazon’s invite only ordering
The ordering option will enable consumers to request an invitation to purchase high-demand items. The information for this can be found on the product detail page. The invite only program does not require any additional purchases or costs.
Any consumer with an Amazon account can request an invitation to purchase a given item. Prime accounts are not requirements.
“Available by invitation” label
According to Amazon, items that are part of the program will have a label indicating that they’re “available by invitation.” The product pages for such items will also explain that items are in high demand, with limited quantities available and that the company may not be able to grant all requests.
To ensure that only genuine consumers obtain invitations to purchase products, Amazon will filter out bot-like submissions. Invitations will be sent to remaining customers.
Bots vs. humans
To separate the bots from the humans, Amazon plans to leverage a number of different data points. These include an account’s prior purchase history and the longevity of the account itself.
When invitations to purchase are granted, consumers will receive an email with instructions about exactly how to purchase the item. The email will explain the time-frame in which the item must be purchased and provide a link to the item’s webpage. On the webpage, users will be able to add the item to a cart or select the ‘Buy Now’ option.
An icon will depict how many hours or minutes a user has before the invitation expires. Amazon aims to grant more invitations to purchase if inventory availability increases.
Cyber criminals and Amazon
Amazon notes that bad actors make up only a small percentage of buyers on its marketplace. However, it’s committed to stopping them from negatively affecting the shopping experience for customers.
The new ordering experience is designed to provide customers with access to products at reasonable prices. Otherwise, bad actors may buy up products and resell them at exceptionally high mark-ups, leaving customers frustrated and disappointed.
The reselling issue has largely pertained to gaming consoles. Nonetheless, other high-demand, low-availability tech products also suffer from this effect every now and then.
Program’s first phase
The new ordering option starts today in the United States. At this time, it only affects gaming consoles. Amazon intends to expand the program to other countries and products in the future.