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What Does it Mean When Amazon Says Add-On Items?

Has your product been labeled as an add-on item? Here's what you can do about it.

David Zaleski

October 22, 2021

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated when your FBA listing is marked as amazon add on items, here’s our helpful guide to understanding why add-ons happen and what to do about it. 

What Is an Amazon Add-On Product?

Amazon has one primary interest in mind when they are selling products: making money. When they deem that a product of certain price and size will not actually profit them, they label this item as an “add-on” item according to their add on program, to be sure that the shipping process doesn’t incur them more shipping costs than it does generate profit.

Items with add on product label are usually less than $5 in value and under a pound in weight. They display a blue “add-on item” badge, and can only be purchased with qualifying orders of over $25. Unfortunately, this program may be beneficial for Amazon, but it has caused a lot of concern for sellers and frustration for buyers alike.

Photo of the "add-on item" blue bladge with caption: "This is the blue add-on item badge. It will be displayed next to add-on products".

Why You Should Avoid Becoming an Add-On Item?

When Amazon introduced it’s add-on item feature, other sellers with lower priced items started to notice their sales plummet. Why? Because buyers don’t want to have to deal with a $25 minimum purchase requirement to buy the same item they know will cost only $3. Because the buyers want to receive prime shipping benefits. They inevitably take their business elsewhere or go to a physical store to find the product they are looking for.

Frequently the product ends up coming in separate shipping packaging anyways, so it seems that Amazon is up charging for no purpose since they aren’t even packaging items together to save on shipping hassles.

This causes buyers to be frustrated and avoid add-on items all together, even if they wouldn’t mind paying the extra $25. Buy an Add-on Item Add-on Items are available for purchase when you purchase a minimum of $25 of items shipped by Amazon to the same address, excluding gift cards. The buyers always try to avoid only add on items.

How To Get Rid of the Add-On Badge

The best way to proactively avoid getting the add-on badge is to select your product wisely. Don’t choose a product that is tiny and has an extremely low cost. Not only do you risk becoming an add-on item in this scenario, but you also have to sell many more products to profit off these low cost pieces. Go for something mid-range or high-value for maximum profits and to avoid the risk of becoming a dreaded add-on item.

If it’s too late for that decision, and you’ve already acquired the add-on badge, the good news is it can be removed. In most cases, getting rid of the add-on badge simply requires you to get creative with your listing.

  

Bundle Your Products

If you have small products that get flagged as add-on items on their own, you can always bundle them together and sell multiple. This way, you make a bigger sale and avoid the add-on badge at the same time.

This may be difficult depending on what product you are offering, but 90% of the time - this is the way to go. Don’t overcompensate and put so many items in your bundle that customers have to buy 15 of something when they only need 1 - but bundle just enough to get the price and shipping weight up a bit.

Screenshot of a listing for hand sanitizer wipes, showcasing how they are bundled as a 4 pack instead of sold individually.

Increase Your Prices or Change Products

If there’s no way for you to bundle your product, you can simply choose to increase your prices. There’s a chance your listing is only $1 away from avoiding the Add-On badge, and you won’t know until you test and tweak the listing to see what works.

If you’re noticing that the product you’ve chosen is too low in price to generate you profits, you always do have the option to liquidate that inventory and choose something of higher value where you won’t have to worry about this problem.

Ask Customers to Use Alexa

Who knows how long this feature will work - but currently, Alexa doesn’t seem to recognize add-on items. This means that if you encourage shoppers to ask Alexa to purchase your small item, they will be able to buy it individually via voice shopping where this would not be a possibility otherwise.

Encourage Pre-Order Shopping & Out of Stock Items

One way to help your customers get to their $25 threshold is by advertising pre-order items you have or items that are out of stock currently. This way, they get their smaller item now - but will automatically receive their pre-ordered item the day it launches and out-of-stock items when they become available.

A customer is more likely to choose this than looking for other products they might not even need across the entire Amazon store.

Don’t Use FBA

This is the least desirable option if you’re looking to avoid being labeled as an add-on item. FBA has many benefits that you don’t want to miss out on - including making it possible for you to win the Buy Box.

Additionally, you may have to charge shipping fees and you could lose your Prime shipping check mark, like the seller below. However, if you select FBM (fulfillment by merchant), you will be able to ship your own products however you like, and won’t have to worry about the add-on feature.

An example of a seller who has chosen to sell via FBM for theirr low priced item.

Conclusion

Amazon’s add-on feature is a pain for both sellers and buyers alike. The best way to avoid it? Don’t choose low value, small items to sell. If this is your only option and you’ve found yourself labeled as a dreaded add-on item - use the creative listing options we’ve outlined above to move out of the add-on category.

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David Zaleski

David Zaleski is an entrepreneur, Amazon seller, and the founder of EcomHub. He's been operating in the eCommerce space since the age of 14 years old. At the age of 18, he started his own Amazon business with just $4,800 in start-up capital.

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