Amazon Add-On Items (Products) Explained + 6 Ways to Keep Sales High
5 min

Amazon Add-On Items (Products) Explained + 6 Ways to Keep Sales High

Anna Buchmann, July 27, 2018

What are Amazon Add-on Items?

Amazon add-on items are complementary products, too small and cheap to be shipped on their own. They can only be purchased as part of orders over $25 shipped by Amazon to the same address (excluding gift cards). Add-on items are marked by the blue stamp on the product page.


Consequently, customers cannot purchase products such as hygiene, snacks and office supplies individually anymore. Whilst this might pose constraints on customers and sellers, it makes economic sense for Amazon.

For many customers, Amazon has become the go-to online platform for everything they need. Whilst the extensive product range is one of the Amazon's unique selling points, it also poses new challenges. One of them being the problem of selling low-cost, light-weight items at a profit.

  • For many items, the shipping costs Amazon payed were higher than the referral fee they received. As a result, Amazon made a loss on these items.

  • Many Amazon add-on items were previously only available in bulk, or not available at all. Keeping Amazon’s customer-centric approach in mind, the add-on program makes total sense, as it significantly increases the variety of products available on the platform.

To tackle this challenge, Amazon came up with the Add-on Items Program. And it has not been received favorably by the Amazon community.

Amazon Add-on Items: The Controversies

Since its introduction, the Amazon add-on Items program has caused controversy amongst customers as well as sellers:

1. Minimum Order Value of $25 for Amazon Add-on Items Infuriates Customers

Whilst customers have access to more products, it also means that ordering a pack of toothpaste from the comfort of your couch is no longer possible. Especially for Prime members this is a major draw back. Even though free shipping is extended to add-on items, finding products to get to $25 can be more cost and time-intensive than going to the store around the corner.


2. Sellers Worried about Crashing Sales Numbers for Add-On Items

Whilst some might argue that the minimum order value forces customers to select additional items and thereby increases overall sales, most Amazon sellers report crashing sales numbers instead.

Since many customers come to Amazon looking to order a specific item and cannot do so without having to spend more money to get to $25, they leave to buy the products somewhere else (Walmart, Ebay or brick-and-mortar store).

My Products Are Now Amazon Add-on Items – What Should I Do ?

Unfortunately, the algorithm used by Amazon to determine add-on items is not known.  Rumour has it that it has to do with price and weight, but the exact cut-offs remain a secret. Even if 2 products have the same specifications, one might be an add-on and the other one isn’t.

If your item have been turned into Amazon add-on items, there are 6 things you can do as a seller to avoid plummeting sales:

  1. Increase the price. Some sellers found that for them, the cut-off price was $9.99. Raising your product price to $10 might remove the add-on product label and you can continue selling your items as usual. The drawback of this strategy is that for many products (especially those classified as add-ons), this price would deter customers from buying them in the first place.

  2. Bundle Amazon add-on items with other products to raise the price. This is the usual business case of up-selling – you bundle two or more complementary products together to sell more, and in this case to raise the price above the mark of add-on items. Please note: whilst this is a viable option for sellers with a relatively small range of products, it will be very time-consuming for larger sellers and vendors.

  3. Offer multi-pack options of the same item. On the same product listing as the Amazon add-on item, add the option of buying a multi-pack. This increases the chances of you making the sale, as people might be more likely to purchase a larger quantity of the product they actually want and don’t go off looking for more products to buy from other sellers to reach the minimum order value.

  4. Switch to FBM (‘Fulfilled By Merchant'). This strategy takes care of your add-on items problem, but it also derives you of the benefits provided by FBA.

  5. Make use of Amazon’s Small and Light Program. This is a program for light-weight (15 ounces or less), low-cost (less than $15), small (16x9x4 inches or less) and fast-moving (25+ units per month) items offered by Amazon. Signing up your products for this options removes the minimum order value of $25 and includes free shipping.

  6. Extend your product range to more expensive products. More expensive products often offer a higher margin. With proper product research and niche analysis, you can uncover products that sell and not only avoid the problem of add-on products, but increase your profits on Amazon overall.

To get started or learn more about how Perpetua can help you scale your Amazon Advertising business