It seems that the list of those who bought something on Amazon in their first year is a fairly small list, even if I can say I bought my first online product (CD’s) there in 1997. Even in that year, Amazon was still a small place that seemed like the equivalent of a cramped home-based business compared to the corporate behemoth it is now. While the distribution warehouses where all of Amazon’s shipping happens might still be considered similar to the overflow of a home-based business, Amazon’s website has new and old features that have been alternately very useful and a burden.
Which features have they added over the last two decades that are still useful for the average consumer? Some people might have a few carps over the long-standing practice of super saver shipping.
This may be the best feature Amazon ever created for their website, even if some people may be too lazy to sign in to active it while shopping. Far too many other online retailers have stolen the idea that Amazon created first. It’s also one of the greatest psychological ploys ever devised for shopping online. When integrated with Amazon’s Fire Phone, people can go to retail stores, find a better bargain on Amazon and buy it in a second. The only problem is that mobile shopping could make the One-Click Shopping feature a little dangerous if the button gets accidentally pressed twice or multiple times.
Therein lies a problem in the sloppiness we may have while shopping on our smartphones. The only thing that should be added to One-Click Shopping is a consolidated option to add super saver shipping to your order without having to go into your account first to make the choice.
Remember when we used to create long wish lists on Amazon with the hope someone would notice them and buy one of those items for us? Yes, the chances of someone actually receiving one of those items from someone who called up a wish list were probably slim to none. Over time, we bought all those items ourselves and didn’t bother to update the wish list after about five years of stagnation. My own wish list became another one of those cyber ghost towns that I thought still existed.
It turns out Amazon deleted all wish lists going back more than a decade ago if you hadn’t updated. The current search feature to locate wish list names is fairly clunky and generic, which shows Amazon considers it unimportant when matched with all their other irons in the fire (and Fire). Most average wish lists only contain a few items in comparison to hundreds of items you’d see there a decade or more ago. Perhaps with better visibility and a social media presence, wish lists could have a bit of a renaissance again, no matter how greedy they ultimately make us all look.
Super Saver Shipping
Those who realize that shopping on Amazon means hefty shipping and handling fees have long taken advantage of the super saver shipping option. Despite only being able to have it if you order $35 worth of things (previously $25), you might occasionally find problems in how much savings you really have if you’re not a Prime member. For those who remember when Amazon used to bundle all of your orders into one large package, it’s seldom done like that any more. Perhaps more environmentally conscious, some of the items you order in one sitting are going to be broken up into separate orders. And when that happens, you’re going to get smacked with shipping charges for at least a quarter of your large order.
It’s a method Amazon does every holiday season when I’m doing a marathon 20-minute shopping session. Amazon still gives you an option to bundle things, though they have a reluctance to do it for more than three things at a time. That means you’ll still enjoy super saver shipping on perhaps half of your bundled order, which still has good odds on saving money.
The above philosophy is the only way to work around something you can’t really control. But Amazon sometimes uses certain discount tactics to give the feeling you’re saving more than you really are. Shoppers likely know this, yet tuck it away due to Amazon being so convenient.
Overall, you’ll still save money on a large order compared to shopping elsewhere online where shipping is much steeper on individual items.
Amazon has always done a good job of letting people say what they want to say in the customer reviews without too much editing. The only thing they edit is when people promote a competing website or use profanity. When Amazon added a comment section for the online reviews, you had a chance to see some hilarious exchanges, especially in the remarks about some of the bizarre reviews published over the last 20 years.
The only thing that should be tweaked here is in the control of the consumers who write reviews that go on far too long to even be useful. While those of us in the writing profession can understand being verbose, a 10-paragraph review of an ordinary product is perhaps proof some people felt compelled to make their mark online before brevity became more of a practice in the Twitter era.