Amazon is launching a new invite-based ordering experience for high-demand, low-supply products. The company told TechCrunch that the purpose of the new option is to help prevent inventory shortages and price gouging caused by robot traffic for high-demand items with limited quantities. Amazon says its goal is to ensure that genuine customers are able to purchase these sorts of products. The new program is launching in the United States today, starting with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game consoles sold and fulfilled by Amazon.
“We work hard every day to provide customers with low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery,” said Llew Mason, the vice president of consumer engagement at Amazon, in a statement to TechCrunch. “This includes developing a shopping experience where customers can purchase the items they’re interested in without having to worry about bad actors buying and reselling them at a much higher price.”
The new ordering option will allow customers to request an invitation to buy high-demand items from the product detail page, at no additional cost. Any customer with an Amazon account can request an invitation to purchase the item, which means that you don’t need a Prime account to send in a request.
An image provided by Amazon shows that items that are part of the program will have a notice indicating that they’re “available by invitation.” The product page will also note that it’s a “high-demand item with limited quantities” and that Amazon “won’t be able to grant all requests.”
In order to ensure that genuine customers receive invitations to purchase, Amazon will remove bot-like submissions and send invitations to remaining customers. The company will verify genuine customers by looking at a number of factors, including the account’s prior purchase history and when the account was created. If the customer’s invitation to purchase is granted, they will receive an email with instructions on how to purchase the item.
The email will detail how long you have to complete the purchase. It will also include a link to the item so you can place the order. Once you’re taken to the product page, you can add the item to your cart or select “Buy now.” The product page will also show you how many hours and minutes you have before your invitation expires. Amazon will grant more invitations to purchase as it receives more units of that item in stock.
Amazon says that although bad actors make up a small percentage of activity on its marketplace, it’s committed to preventing them from negatively impacting the shopping experience for users. The new ordering experience should give Amazon customers a better chance at getting their hands on high-demand products with limited quantities because it aims to eliminate bad actors who buy products and then resell them at higher prices, which has been happening with gaming consoles over the past years.
At launch, the new ordering option will be available for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in the United States. Amazon plans to expand the program to other countries and products in the future.