The European Commission accuses the retail company Amazon of using the data of independent sellers for its own benefit. The news channel CNBC recently reported that Amazon is making admissions and seeking changes in the dispute with the EU Commission as part of the “Antitrust Investigations”. According to the report, the company has made a number of specific commitments in this context to counter the allegations. If found guilty, the company could have faced a fine of up to 10 percent of annual global sales. For Amazon, that penalty could have been as high as $47 billion.

One concession from the online marketplace is of particular interest to Amazon sellers: the company agreed to display a second Buy Box when there is a second offer that differs from the first related price or delivery. With the introduction of this, Prime sellers will also be able to choose any carrier for their logistics or delivery services. The second Amazon Buy Box is scheduled to be launched across Europe in June 2023. The Company explained:

The company also agreed to display a second buy box when there is a second offer that is different from the first on price or delivery, and to let Prime sellers choose any carrier for their logistics or delivery services.

Amazon’s Buy Box has been under scrutiny since November 2020

On November 10, 2020, the European Commission opened an investigation into the criteria Amazon uses to select the Buy Box winners. The Buy Box allows sellers to offer products as part of the Prime program. The commission accuses the company that previous practices leading to preferential treatment of Amazon’s retail business or of sellers who use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services. Against this background, the company is now planning to introduce a second buy box, also in order to avoid the billion-dollar fine.

The second, competing buy box offer is said to be better presented. Furthermore, a new review mechanism is to be introduced – in the event that the presentation does not attract the appropriate attention from the customers. Ronny Marx, Managing Director at the Amazon agency into markets GmbH, calls Amazon’s second buy box a game changer on LinkedIn.

Second Amazon Buy Box on Amazon, © Ronny Marx

The second Buy Box is to come in June 2023

For Amazon sellers, the second Buy Box on Amazon should be an exciting opportunity – which criteria and options, such as conditions and win rate, apply to ads it is still unclear. The changes only apply to the European Economic Area. In Italy, Amazon has agreed on separate remedies with the country’s competition authority in relation to Buy Box and Prime. 

The Company has until June 2023 to implement the changes, which are expected to remain in effect for five to seven years. Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, said in a recent speech:

With these new rules, competing independent retailers, carriers and European customers will have more options and choices.


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