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I was pondering why people love Amazon so much after another product recommendation came across my desk. Now, one of the greatest joys of writing for MyFavDeals.org is when my friends get all excited about a product and say, “Kath, I just got (this – that – or the other thing) from Amazon – it is awesome! You HAVE to feature it on your site! People will LOVE this!”
Such a thing happened this morning when one of my best friends emailed me that he had just picked up something that he had evidently been anticipating for a couple of months: Dunkin’ Donuts Bottled Iced Coffee. Yes. He got excited about iced coffee – but not just ANY iced coffee… it had to be Dunkin’ Donuts.
He’s loving this stuff and said, “You gotta write about this! It’s on Amazon! People are going to LOVE this!”
So, I got to thinking about it, and realized how many times I do something similar: I’ll find something I like and then write about it here on MyFavDeals.org for others to find too.
Yes, of course it’s our business here at the website to promote products because that’s how we earn our living: by reviewing, writing about, and posting products.
Face it… We Love Amazon!
But it’s the excitement from others who oftentimes stop by and give us ideas based on their own experiences that raises the “fun level” a lot for us!
What we have found fascinating is our collective love of buying on Amazon. So, this same friend who just told me about the Dunkin’ Donuts Bottled Ice Coffee said to me that his favorite online shopping store was Amazon.
Now, we both buy stuff from other vendors, and because of how remote my own life is when I’m home in northern NH, I buy a LOT of stuff online. And Amazon has really become a primary source for a lot of the stuff that I buy.
You may notice that here on the site there is a pretty wide variety of Amazon products and listings. Again, people buy it, then they tell me about it (for example, this kiddie Nerf bike). Or, I buy it, and I have to tell others about it (case in point: my favorite tooth gel, Livionex).
But WHY? Why do people love Amazon?
We began to think about all the reasons why people love Amazon, and this is what we determined – in no particular order of importance:
Amazon = Convenience and Ease:
My friend said, “a lot of people, like myself, just like the convenience of Amazon, rather than yet another sign up where you end up on yet another email list.”
This is key, I think. For example, yes, you can buy a certain item from a vendor’s site, but they often begin emailing you over and over again – and for people who don’t want their email in-boxes clogged with another newsletter, buying from Amazon helps you avoid this entirely.
Then there is the trust factor:
Amazon has your back if you don’t like something and don’t want to have a hassle with returns. For example, I have seen some merchants who don’t offer money-back returns; however, Amazon does. If you are going to buy on Amazon, the odds are that you may be protected.
Amazon has been around well over 20 years. They are totally beast, and they aren’t going anywhere but everywhere.
Amazon Prime ROCKS
“Kath, you buy so much on Amazon, and you always have to wait until you have a huge bundle of stuff to buy so you meet the minimum purchase amount for free shipping. That’s ridiculous because with Amazon Prime you are gonna get free shipping for most everything you buy…”
He was right. I love Prime! Now when I’m running low on one of my staples I just click it, and it’s on its way. Boom. Just like that. Of course not every single item qualifies for free shipping, but mostly everything I buy does.
Then, there are the great add-ons with Prime! For example – and this barely scratches the surface, because I just saw a whole lot more a minute ago:
- Video and music downloads,
- free restaurant delivery if you live in an area where they have launched it (it’s still pretty new as of this writing, and primarily found in urban areas, but you can expect this trend to grow!),
- lots of freebies for my Kindle,
- tons of specials with the Deal of the Day (e.g. I saw a deal for 28% off 5 pounds of Healthworks Organic Cacao Nibs Raw!! Normally, that runs $41.99, but on the day I wrote this post, it was on sale for only $30.28! That’s only $6.26/pound, and ANYONE that buys raw organic cacao knows that this is very rare low price.)
- Then, this – again from my friend, who just told me “Prime has tons of movies and shows included, literally 1000’s. and on top of that, Amazon has a massive video library. I watch shows and movies on there all the time :)”
Try Amazon Prime for FREE today: www.amazon.com/ try Prime for Free
There are a few other reasons why I think people love Amazon so much.
Very Helpful Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews
Recently Amazon began moving “Verified Purchase” reviews up, so that fake or scammy or spammy reviews wouldn’t be showing up so much, wasting customers’ valuable time. When I am looking to buy something on Amazon, I want to see what REAL customers have to say about an item.
I’m not necessarily looking only for glowing, 5-star reports since I’ve purchased plenty of items that don’t have a 100% 5-star rating. What I’m looking for is information to fill in the blanks about what I’m buying.
For example, I recently restocked some raw Brazil Nuts that I’m fond of, and use daily to get a natural dose of selenium into my diet. There were only 9 reviews of the brand I bought (2 pounds of SUNBEST Whole, Raw, Shelled Brazil Nuts).
The 2nd review was only a 3-star review, but the buyer’s complaint was a perceived lack of consistency in size and freshness. I did consider that – but because I’m only using 2 per day, I’m not really that concerned about the size.
All the other reviews stated that the nuts were all fresh. Freshness has been an issue with some of my Brazil nuts in the past – and my gut feeling is that this particular type of nut may just be prone to going “off” faster than some others. I refrigerate mine, and so I don’t really worry about this.
So, while that one review wasn’t 100% positive, I was able to weigh that one against the others, and made my decision. I bought the SUNBEST nuts, and am completely happy with it. Typically I review my product purchases here at MyFavDeals.org, but occasionally I will leave one on Amazon to add my 2-cents’ worth, because I do know that people value the Verified Purchase reviews there.
Amazon Customer Questions and Answers:
I’m the first to admit that sometimes I need advice. Recently, I purchased a replacement water filter for my Clearly Filtered water pitcher. It turns out that the more generic Seychelle water filter replacement fits the Clearly Filtered pitcher perfectly. Now, in order to prime the filter prior to use, you’re supposed to fit the nozzle of the priming piece over your faucet, and let water slowly run through the filter for about 7-8 minutes.
Last year this wasn’t a problem because our rental unit had a faucet that worked for this perfectly. This year we’re in a different unit, and none of the faucets fit – not even the shower nozzle when we removed the shower head.
So, off I went to Amazon to ask others if they had any suggestions. Within 24 hours, there were 3 responses. The best one for my purposes was someone saying to use a garden hose. Boom! The condo DOES have a water spigot outside that we hadn’t even thought of. Problem solved.
So, other Amazon customers are some of the best allies you’ll have when it comes to finding answers to questions you might have about products. No one else anywhere does this. Amazon has this wired.
Then, there is the SHEER CONVENIENCE
I mentioned earlier that I live in a fairly remote area for half the year. I also am hooked on Trader Joe’s Super Red Drink Powder. The problem is that the closest Trader Joe’s up north is a solid 2-3 hours away in areas I seldom visit.
And in Florida where I spend the other 6 months, the closest Trader Joe’s is in Orlando, which is a solid 1.5 hours on a very busy highway. I have zero reason to visit Orlando most of the time, and no matter where I live, I cannot justify driving that far just to visit a cool store.
So, I buy my Super Red Drink Powder on Amazon. Now, I must tell you: Amazon prices are not always the lowest, and this product is one of those examples where it’s more expensive on line than at the store. At a Trader Joe’s store, this powder is only about $20 or so. On Amazon it’s about $30 or so (with free delivery since I’m an Amazon Prime member).
More expensive in this case, yes. But convenience and super-fast delivery wins out. It would cost me hundreds of dollars’ worth of my time, plus gas and mileage to drive to Orlando, FL or Portland, ME (not to mention that I’d just have to dine out at one of the jillion amazing restaurants in either of those places to make the trip complete).
I should say, however, that 95% of the time, I pay less for my purchases on Amazon than I would buying elsewhere.
Almost everyone loves gift cards. They are the quintessential answer to the question of what to get for the person who has everything. I challenge someone who can’t find SOMETHING that they want on Amazon.
Of course they don’t have everything – as I discuss below – but they pretty much have something for everyone.
Amazon Gift Cards start at $25 and from there the sky’s the limit.
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Amazon “Subscribe & Save” Option
While a lot of companies offer the option to subscribe for automatic, timed delivery of products that you are likely to use on a continual basis (think supplements and other consumables), Amazon jumped on this as well. It’s a great idea, and you are clearly given what your savings will be in such cases.
Let’s weigh some “Cons” against the “Pros”
There are so many things to love about Amazon. But, no “review” type of article would be complete without putting something on the “Cons” side of the “Pros & Cons” seesaw.
So, with that in mind, here goes:
What do you mean I can’t pay with PayPal???
Arghgh! I can’t use PayPal to pay on Amazon! I felt that surely there had to be a mistake. My husband & I also buy tons on Ebay, and use PayPal all the time. I also buy stuff on other websites, and almost every single one offers PayPal as a payment option.
But not Amazon. So I looked it up to find out why. In an article at CNBC.com they mention that their own “Amazon Payments” platform is “a direct competitor with PayPal and credit card companies like Visa which has its own online payment solution…” (Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/04/amazon-expands-payments-to-take-on-paypal.html)
Ok. Fair enough. That makes sense from a corporate and shareholder point of view. I can live with that. I still wish they took PayPal. J
Why is that? Simply put, it really is a merchant’s decision whether or not they want to sell their wares on Amazon. Amazon, like Ebay, charges merchants to sell on their platform. That’s how they make money.
I would be willing to bet that on items where profit margins are very slim, it may not be worth a manufacturer’s time and effort to offer their goods on a third party platform.
Because I’m in this business, I happen to know a number of people who sell on Amazon; and, of course my own husband has been an Ebay seller since 2000 – so I know all about seller’s fees, and the fees that merchant accounts (e.g. PayPal, Visa, MC, Amex, etc) charge. All these fees come out of the seller’s profits.
Potential Difficulties for Sellers
Also, remember what I said above about how Amazon has your back if you want to return something? That’s great for customers; however, from personal experience as the wife of a long-time Ebay seller, that very same “buyer protection” can become a seller’s nightmare.
This is just conjecture on my part, but I can base it in what I have seen in my own home.
I have watched my husband struggle with practically being forced to accept a return when a buyer simply changed his or her mind about what they bought. From our perspective, Ebay took on the Amazon strategy of pretty much always taking the buyer’s side, regardless of how hard the seller worked to ensure that the sale would succeed.
Because of the trend of sellers feeling as though they are being pressured (at least in our case on Ebay) to take returns, no matter what, it is easy to see that some sellers are not interested in feeling this pressure.
Playing by the Rules
But, we need to remember that platforms such as Amazon and Ebay don’t belong to the seller – even though, without sellers, neither platform would exist. But, at the end of the day, it’s their sandbox, and if sellers want to play in it, they need to play by the rules of the house.
Again, this last part about why not everything may be available on Amazon is simply my own gut feeling.
So, for that, and other reasons I no doubt am not yet aware, it makes sense that not everyone thinks selling on Amazon is in their best interests.
Regardless of how many pros and cons there are, Amazon is – and will likely continue to be – one of my first go-to places to shop.