Look out, online shoppers. If you're looking for the lowest prices out there on a new online purchase, Amazon may no longer be your best bet.
According to news source Reuters, the retail giant has relaxed restrictions on third-party sellers featured on its site, which meant they couldn't sell their wares for a cheaper price on other rival websites.
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Amazon gave no immediate explanation for the decision, but the catalyst may have been increasing scrutiny of the online marketplace.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission back in December 2018, pointing to how Amazon could "stifle market competition". It's highly possible that the trade watchdog has leant on Amazon to ease up its restrictions to make for a fairer online market.
If there's one thing you can rely on Amazon for, it's the low prices. Due to its aggressive pricing strategies and massive distribution network, Amazon has managed to repeatedly undercut the price tags of items on its online retail rivals – while its scale allows it to offer a staggering range of gadgets, books, and lifestyle purchases.
Not to mention Amazon's highly profitable range of smart speakers – the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, and Amazon Echo Plus, to name but a few – or its Amazon Fire TV streaming top-box, all of which are solely available through Amazon's online site.
Even if third-party sellers are now allowed to sell their items for less on another site, it will be difficult for other retailers to gain the same foothold in our online shopping habits. For anyone hoping to curb Amazon's hold on the market, it may already be too late.