Several sellers in the Amazon Forum are debating whether Amazon suppresses search results when a site visitor sorts by any category other than "relevance" or whether the organic search feature "Sort by" in the platform simply has a glitch.
"I don't pay good money to Amazon every month only to have my items suppressed when someone sorts by something other than relevance," one seller wrote in a post in the Sellers Forum.
David Grow, digital media director at Chacka Marketing, thinks it's interesting that sorting on Amazon is very inconsistent.
"I would expect sorting by 'relevance' would return the smallest number of results and sorting by price would include everything," Grow said. "Looking at sorting by pricing low to high is where you see a dramatic drop in query results. It's an interesting quirk."
Searching in Amazon on Google Chrome via a desktop for "igloo cooler," the first query returns 707 results. The second -- based on searching on price from high to low -- returns 186 results. Rather than sorting the 707 entries from high to low based on price, the query eliminates entries and reduces the number of results. It's not clear if the algorithms are removing duplicate prices for various items.
When the same exact search on Amazon occurs from a different browser, such as Firefox, the results are different, per the seller. "This problem is happening in the Amazon Shopping app as well," the seller wrote.
Another seller believes that searching by "price" has never worked properly and that poor search results are a result of sellers not knowing how to use keywords. "The search is thrown off because so many sellers use irrelevant keywords, title stuff with irrelevant words or phrases," wrote another seller in the forum.
On Google when searching for "igloo ice coolers" the engine returns about 605,000 results. Remove the word "igloo" and the keywords "ice coolers" return 23,300,000 results.
Some believe Amazon may be more focused on its paid search and sponsored ad formats rather than its organic listings. The feature may simply have a glitch. On the other hand, Amazon engineers may believe that when someone is searching by price they want to see fewer products.
The problem is not central to Chrome or desktop. Searching on an Android phone, the same search yields 1,124 results. When sorting by "price: low to high," the query results 118 results.
Sorting by "Relevance," "Price: low to high" or "Price: high to low" should at least have the same number of results returned with the query. But it doesn't. These queries are not the only ones producing these awkward results.
Evidently an Amazon technical support person told the seller that's how the search works. "They said when you sort by price or anything else, Amazon only shows you the best results based on sales contribution and rank," wrote the seller. "But on the chat session I had before the phone call, I was told this was a problem Amazon has known about for two days, and they anticipated the problem would be fixed sometime this weekend."
Amazon did not respond to queries for comment prior to the article posting.