I let my Amazon Prime lapse because I was rarely using it.
A few weeks ago I decided to do a bulk order. I ordered 18 items with a total of $110. They split my shipment into three packages of approximately $50, $50, and one item by itself in another box for $10. Since one of the boxes didn't have $35, they tried to charge me shipping.
I simply removed that item but instead of having two $50 boxes, the shopping cart removed an item from a box and put it into a box by itself to ensure that I had to pay shipping. I spent two hours adding and removing items to discover that there is no way to get free shipping for multiple items anymore.
Eventually I contacted customer service and they said they would take care of it and ship it in one box with no shipping cost.
Three weeks later and my order finally shipped, in 5 boxes, with 5 shipping fees charged to my card.
It's possible that even though they were eligible for free shipping, they weren't all in the same facility. If that was the case, I would understand why they were put into separate boxes.
What doesn't make sense is removing one item in a box by itself causing the shopping cart to reshuffle so a different item was placed in a box by itself.
I was irked enough that I want to find alternatives.
Oh and through some weird ability to rename time "next day" now means 2 days and "2 day" means 3 day delivery. Same day usually does mean same day -- which used to have a lot of items available for that but recently has seemed to have gone down. Still impressed that it can be done.
It's sort of like that bank transaction-ordering scandal from a few years ago, where banks ordered transactions unintuitively to maximize overdraft penalties.
"Hey, lets merge these two colors, what could possibly go wrong?" is an algorithmic decision made by Amazon that happens far too frequently after I've gone home or to bed. :p
And with Amazon's low prices and 5% cashback I'm pretty sure even if they started charging for shipping that it would be still cheaper than anywhere else ...
What amazon says on their main page is very disconnected from reality. What it says on checkout is what matters.
When I buy stuff from Amazon, they have a little checkbox on the side that says "only items that ship to Iceland". Never the less, when I get to the checkout 90% of the stuff they show won't ship to Iceland.
I suspect (because I have a similar challenge in our own ecommerce system) that the model underlying the representation of products has at least one additional layer of specificity, that's not directly revealed to the user. Consider that you're looking at Products, but what they're really manipulating are products as sourced from a particular supplier.
Each of those "supplier-items" has its own price (because with Amazon marketplace, the supplier gets to set their own), as well as its own potential shipping destinations.
When you project that into search results as a list of Products, what you wind up with is a list of "Products for which there's at least one supplier willing to ship to Iceland". And the sorting is something like "order by lowest price offered by all suppliers". When you click on that product to go to Product Details, and then just click "Add to Cart", they've lost the thread of "I need to select a supplier of this product that will ship to Iceland".
There's no doubt that's the case, but it also isn't that big a problem to solve (at least for amazon, your mileage may vary, possibly my commiserations depending on how good/bad your system is to work on).
I know this because of the "Does amazon ship to...?" plugin, which can iterate over every seller instance of a specific item and return it's eligibility for shipping to your country, along with an independent shipping price and item price. It can process two dozen instances in about a second or two via whatever API it uses.
Considering this is possible and frankly not all that difficult, I'm placing the blame for amazon not using a bit of JS-foo to run this form of processing server side (where it will be way faster) and deliver results to my browser asynchronously as they are finished squarely at the feet of amazons marketing department. This has the stink of "if we show it to them anyway, maybe they'll buy it and send it via a shipping service" all over it.
....man I love free shipping on Amazon... and also having a selection of product to choose from :)
I hope they don't up the UK limit as well, that would suck. I buy something from Amazon literally every week.
You're welcome to slowly turn this place into a dustbowl by bitching at people for having conversations if that's what you enjoy doing in a community, don't let me stop you, but let me remind you of this:
You weren't involved in the conversation, and your comment history is nothing but wandering around sticking your nose in robust discussion and whining that people aren't talking to each other via the predefined rules that you like, as if human conversation is based on your two favorite links. You're not contributing here, and there's not a single post in the last several pages of your comments that implies you care about, understand or have an opinion on anything posted here, so please shush and let the rest of us get on with our sharing.
Looks like you've been doing this for at least 16 months, congrats or something?
Please follow the rules from now on. That means posting civilly and substantively, or not at all.
Whereas if I'm in a brick-and-mortar store, I can at least evaluate the quality of something hands-on, and then have a better idea of if the cheapest is good enough. This is exacerbated by item descriptions that are frequently inaccurate, even showing the wrong photos. The third party sellers especially don't seem to be held accountable for much, and processing returns through them is often a disaster.
I fear that Amazon is creating damage to their brand by not establishing some minimum floor for product quality. Right now they rank somewhere between a dollar store and a Walmart in my mind.
I'm almost inclined to go prefer local stores again, as Amazon's pricing advantages seem to have slipped, and if they raise the cost of Prime again, I'm definitely out. I've been a pretty loyal customer to Amazon, but honestly, they're slipping a bit.
They should probably spend just a little more time on their core products.
Look, Amazon, you have a real problem with sorting and filtering. What I really want is a way to order goods by the final, bottom-line price, including all taxes and shipping costs. If something costs $20 plus $10 in shipping, it should rank after a similar thing that is $25 plus $0 shipping.
The Prime filter is the only way I can even approach that problem from my end. It forces the cost of shipping to be included in the price of all items, at the expense of not seeing potentially cheaper items. But even then, Amazon can't even manage to sort correctly by price. Nor does it handle quantities in a package very well.
It would be hard if they let you search by say < 3 business days, < 5 business days in the same way they let you search prime only.
I really don't want Amazon to turn into eBay or Alibaba, but for many categories it already is if you scroll/paginate far enough.
Given that it happened several times with several vendors, I suspect there's a systematic problem due to incentives - higher power bulbs command higher prices, and most buyers don't have the test equipment needed to detect the fraud; and even when someone does detect the fraud you just have to refund them and claim it was an accident.
Needless to say, if the conditions of the market mean that fraudsters out-compete honest sellers, all the honest sellers have to quit or resort to fraud, and the market becomes useless to consumers.
100% of the reason I use Amazon is fast and consistent shipping. That is the entire value for me.
Then again, my in-laws got burned by Amazon's various dark patterns enough times that they've given up on it. Can't say I blame them.
For now. The thing about reputations in business is that they can deteriorate slowly over time and up to a point it won't matter because customers will favour convenience and the brands they know. Sometimes that point can be much further from where you started than most people would expect. However, if you ever pass that point and lose a critical mass of customers, you're in real trouble.
If Play/Rakuten/whoever they are these days had a decent web site and content management, they could make a fortune out of my household given our increasing frustration with Amazon cluttering up their own site. Unfortunately, they're actually much worse and not really a useful alternative at all.
Shitty experience yeah but I would expect them to fix it too.
They frequently seem to ship fragile items in nothing but a standard cardboard box with negligible padding so they're smashed to pieces by the time they arrive.
Recently I've seen several "new" and yet obviously not new items like books with bent spines or DVDs with fingerprints all over them.
They sometimes give wildy optimistic estimates of delivery dates particularly around holiday seasons when everyone is buying presents. Worse, they seem to have multi-week standard processes for deciding when something has really gone missing before they will try shipping another one, which is no use at all if say you're ordering Christmas presents in December.
Even if they are happy for a customer to return something for a refund, it's still a hassle for that customer to ship it back or arrange the collection every time something goes wrong. Even if they'll refund an order they found they couldn't ship when they said, the customer has still potentially lost several days in the process and might be too late to order it from somewhere else instead.
I suspect in some ways Amazon have been victims of their own success. I wonder whether anyone has ever tried to implement such personalised logistics at the scale Amazon does before, and given how often ordering from them does lead to a better experience than we used to have with bricks and mortar stores, I hesitate to criticise too much over things going wrong. There is definitely plenty of room for improvement in the customer service department, though, and at least part of it appears to be due to deliberate policies and perhaps cutting a few corners too many to try to shave off every last penny in running costs.
I'm curious about your use case, were they non amazon fullfiled items?
A related patience game to decrease the costs of your Prime subscription is to allow them to ship is slowly and give you a limited time, but several month, digital $1 credit, or if you to the pantry thing, I've seen discounts for it.
e.g. 25 dollar item and 15 dollar item might both be two days and would have to pay for one or same day even though total is 40 since one is FBA'd from a further location, so the same day can be misleading happens to be sitting at a facility that the seller shipped to, what happens after shipping into fba and how they disperse inventory if at all for lower latency in shipping I don't know but I am seeing more and more where they split orders to not pay same day even if total is over the same day rate. Hope this sheds a bit of light.
So while it is great for many items if Amazon keeps offloading items to others it becomes less useful to me.
As for the shopping cart games, I have never had that issue as I usually check ship it all together.
 Includes some revenue earned from Amazon Prime memberships; excludes shipping revenue of third-party sellers not under the Fulfilled by Amazon program
Data is from page 26 of their 10-K, linked below
Shipping revenues will never cover shipping costs as long as they provide even one free shipment a year (and don't overcharge people paying for shipping). Shipping is one of those costs that you have to pay like having storefronts. The goods have to actually be purchasable by customers somehow. Retail shops sink costs in their stores. It's made up for by the margins on the items they sell.
I'm not saying that Amazon shouldn't try to minimize their losses on shipping just as stores should figure out whether having one retail presence in a city is more cost effective than having two. But I think a more interesting piece for me would be a comparison of Amazon's shipping costs to other retailers' storefront costs. If the $5B in shipping subsidies is way lower than what Walmart or BestBuy are paying in "storefront subsidies", it isn't necessarily something so outrageous. It's a cost of doing business.
$5B sounds like a lot of money (and indeed it is), but what is it compared to the storefront costs of competitors? How much does Amazon save by having highly-productive warehouse workers as opposed to lower-productive retail employees?* Maybe $5B is huge compared to what Walmart spends on its retail presence. Maybe Amazon warehouses aren't much more efficient than BestBuy stores. Or Maybe this is simply a move that Amazon is making because it thinks it has gained enough market power (and enough buy-in to Prime) to start making anti-consumer moves rather than a cost that's unsustainable compared to the costs of retail.
Walmart's revenue was $485.7 billion in 2015. Amazon's revenue was $107B last year. Spending less than 5% of revenue on getting the products to the customers doesn't sound outrageous. Does it seem likely that Walmart spends $24B on store-front costs that Amazon doesn't have to get their revenue?
You're not wrong that companies will try to cut costs. I guess my question is simply: is this really an onerous cost compared to revenue (as judged by what competing retail firms pay)? If it's par for the course (or less), it feels like Amazon flexing its market power against consumers. If it is an onerous cost compared to what Walmart or BestBuy have to spend, then life has crappy trade-offs that need to be made to make things reasonable.
*This isn't a dig at retail employees. It's just pointing out that when customer traffic is low at a retail venue, they're around with less to do. By contrast, warehouse workers can be utilized more efficiently.
For comparison, the lease amount of Target's Canadian (failed) expansion was for $1.3B USD for 220 stores.
Target USA stores as of May 2015: 1795
Amazon's $5B shipping loss now almost looks quaint, if one factors in absence of retail stores and presence of handful number of Warehouses.
Alternate idea: Amazon builds a central warehouse in each
major metro that contains the most-ordered items for that area, has trucks that run out to UPS Stores and drop off every hour, and the customer completes the last mile and goes to pick up his package at the designated UPS Store within 2-4 hours from the time he placed the order.
I'm sure they've already considered all this kind of navel-gazing, but if customers were able to pick up within 3-4 hours of placing an order under this type of system, it'd be awesome, and I think a big win for Amazon. One of the worst things about ordering on Amazon, even as a Prime member who lives in a place where free same-day is often available, is having to wait around with no control over when the product will arrive. This would beat free same-day, which for us rarely arrives before 8:30pm no matter how early you get the order in after midnight.
Really Wal-Mart and Amazon are not so different. The difference is that Wal-Mart keeps quantities of the product within driving distance of 90% of the population, so they can have the product a half-hour after deciding they need/want it. The ability to close this gap has got to be one of the most important milestones for online retail. Ad-hoc delivery networks like UberEats are kind of already doing this. Sure would be a crazy turn of events if someone started to knock down Amazon's retail business by leveraging the latent bandwidth in the city's existing retail and crowd-sourced driver networks.
They have these. Or at least, they are trying them out. In addition to the Lockers (which are scattered around at other stores), at least in Cincinnati, there is an honest to goodness Amazon pickup location. IN addition to normal shipping, you can get same-day pickups from anything that is at their local warehouse (maybe from their Indianapolis warehouse too?). I think this is more like an Amazon branded, dedicated locker site than a store front. But, at this point, that's all they need.
There are several Amazon lockers near me and I can't conceive of a reason that I'd personally choose to use one. (Single family residence, so drivers just drop the package on the porch. In a multi-unit building, I can see some security reason.)
Recently, I needed a new SSD as quickly as possible and placed my order around 23:30 local time. Before noon the next day, I got an e-mail letting me know that it was ready to be picked up. Minus the drive, picking up the package was basically a five minute deal (i.e. out of my vehicle, going in and getting the package, and back into my truck took less than five minutes).
From now on, I'll only order from NewEgg when I need items urgently and am willing to make the two-hour (roundtrip) trek to pick them up, having been burnt by their shipping policy once before.
(Since someone will inevitably ask, I paid out the ass for one-day shipping only to receive my package three days later. Apparently, "one-day" only applies to actual shipping time. The two days my order was being "processed" didn't count.)
Just today, though, I found myself wishing both NewEgg and Amazon (who has their own distribution center very near to NewEgg's) had a walk-in retail storefront nearby. There is a Fry's about 90 minutes away but sometimes I just want to go in and browse and find things I wasn't really looking for or expecting.
The recently rolled-out same-day delivery uses their shipping service without a handoff.
With prime getting more expensive (we don't was the video stuff), the new "add on items and the rubbish delivery service we have given up on Amazon and very rarely use it.
Do you necessarily believe they do this? Because I wouldn't be so quick to give benefit of the doubt...
Lots of (much smaller) companies do offset their free shipping in this way, even if they can't totally even it out.
Source: ran an online small business shipping small physical products.
Those explanations do not include what you're saying.
I have, just in the past year, ordered a huge variety of things from other vendors, because Amazon prices were far from competitive. And, with free two day shipping from merchants partnered with Shop Runner (which I get free when I pay with my American Express), the difference in experience, cost, and time to deliver is competitive. NewEgg got my server hardware purchases, saving me several hundred dollars on a ~$3000 order. An RV parts vendor sold me an RV air conditioner for ~$200 less than Amazon. I'm shopping for a tankless water heater right now, which is about $160 less from other vendors. And, on the lower end, when Amazon first started doing subscription groceries, they were competitively priced; now, not so much. I find I prefer just buying what I need when I need it from local grocery stores.
I still buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, but it's much less than it used to be. And, I don't know if Amazon knows what they're doing or not when choosing to lose these sales. Presumably the increased margins make up for the lower sales (or at least the loss of sales to me, which may not necessarily be the same as decreased sales overall). Surely they're doing the math.
This is the same thing. I bought from Amazon before Prime partly because of the free shipping. The further away the free shipping gets, the harder it would be to choose Amazon over getting it local or from another vendor, I think.
I've also noticed the increased gaming of the reviews system. If you read reviews of many of the highest rated products, you often find that most are shills who are given products for free in exchange for "fair and unbiased reviews." Funny how many of their unbiased reviews award five stars.
It's getting pretty bad.
One of the big reasons i shop with amazon is so i know that i don't need to deal with making another account, giving someone else my CC info, getting relentless spam email every week telling me to buy more.
But now sellers are using the "contact customer" system to beg for reviews, and it's starting to get annoying enough that i want to avoid amazon.
Just a few months ago i ordered about 20 separate things for a project i'm working on, and over the next 2 weeks proceeded to get 30+ emails asking for reviews of the products, reviews of the sellers, asking if i'm satisfied with their products, etc. All of these coming straight from the sellers themselves right above the warning from amazon that this system is only to resolve problems with the product/shipping...
If you go to http://www.amazon.com/feedback you can review the sellers instead of the product.
To be fair though, I believe people are much more likely to see a product rating than a seller rating. As evidenced by the number of "unbiased" 5 star reviews.
- Bought a ~$60 item to give as a gift, that didn't arrive on time and the tracking info hadn't updated since it left the Amazon facility. Contacted them the day it had been scheduled to arrive and they overnighted a replacement, no questions asked.
- Bought a pair of pants just before Christmas, ended up getting two pairs of pants for Christmas (go mom). Went to return the ones I purchased (hadn't been worn yet), and Amazon refunded me without even requiring a return (~$25 item).
- Bought a heater a few weeks ago that arrived with one of the dials on its control panel knocked out of place, and no way to re-seat it without disassembling the unit. Amazon paid for return shipping and UPS pickup, and had the replacement item at my door on the second day after I requested a replacement.
I'm not a fan of many of many aspects of Amazon... but in terms of customer service, I don't use any other site that comes close.
That said, two of your examples of great customer service are examples of poor quality in the shipping stage of your order. Amazon didn't deliver on time in one case, and Amazon didn't package the item properly in the third case. Amazon doesn't get an A+ from me for shipping me damaged goods or for losing something and then shipping a new one. (Though it happens to every vendor, and I'm sure Amazon is among the best at not screwing up the shipping process; the best customer service experience for me means I don't have to think about it...it just arrives, on time, complete, and functional.)
But, smaller companies are often much more difficult to work with, in general. I had to order some replacement parts for my motorhome from a small RV parts dealer because Amazon didn't carry them, and handling a cancellation (before shipping) and ordering a new item instead, required multiple phone calls and emails. It also took them several days to get it shipped out (I mean, it was literally several days before they put it in a box and handed it to UPS to be delivered to me).
It's hard to compete with Amazon on a small scale, is what I'm trying to say, but on big ticket items, I'm often willing to shop around. If a trustworthy vendor I've dealt with before has the item in stock for $100+ less, I'm buying from them and not buying from Amazon. It's just happening more and more often lately.
Amazon Prime is still pretty awesome but I've had 3 returns in 4 months for incorrect or broken items (on Fulfilled by Amazon), and the pricing is not competitive with local retail (which Google Shopping matches for the items it does carry).
For example, recently I tried to buy a toy etcher/engraver so I could carve initials on my kids toys. Only place I could find it was locally or through e-bay... Amazon did not have that.
I recently (during 4Q15) built myself a new server and ordered nearly everything from Amazon (with the exception of ordering half of the SSDs and HDDs from NewEgg, and picking up a spare one of each from a nearby Fry's).
I chose to order from Amazon both because of the free two-day (Prime) shipping and also because I had a new Discover card. In 4Q, Discover gives you 5% back on purchases on Amazon. In addition, at the end of the first year, they double all your cash back. Thus, in effect, I got an extra 10% discount off of all my Amazon purchases during 4Q (which added up to a few thousand dollars), although I won't "see" it until basically the end of 2016.
For the first time - ever - in using Amazon, I went back to the reviews to verify where the communication breakdown was. Indeed, every review was succeeded by "I was given this product at a small discount to review it with an honest opinion" -- which of course was a 99% discount. The process is technically legal by way of FTC, so long as the reviewers add the disclaimer.
Infuriated, I asked for a refund and was denied by the supplier. Escalated to Amazon and got the refund two weeks later.
I then opened several tickets, one after the other, trying to get Amazon to remove these fake reviews. Each one had the response of "We take your concern seriously. We cannot share any action taken by this ticket" -- and months later, nothing was done about the reviews.
So for the first time in years, I try to buy elsewhere before Amazon.
After purchasing fake makeup on Amazon TWICE, I checked on reddit and saw that they are notorious for selling knockoff fake makeup. So I've completely stopped shopping on there and gone back to going to Sephora. It's actually really sad that I can't trust amazon sellers to sell me a real product.
I don't think most people (outside of HN for sure and still a lot within HN) actually run NoScript or something that makes them aware of the number of scripts on a page. And frankly, 99.9% of the time, I don't care about that.
I cancelled my prime subscription at the start of the year. Some thoughts:
- I buy less stuff on impulse. Since the price limit is (or was) $35 for free shipping, I usually have to wait until there are enough things I really want/need before ordering.
- The pricing is often better other places. Normally Amazon's non prime price will be comparable, but then shipping fees will be like 7 or 8 bucks, while other places have cheaper, faster, or even free shipping.
- If you do have prime, not everything with prime has free shipping. For small things they have "add on items", which don't ship to you until you have $25 worth of stuff in your cart. It wasn't always like this, and it was a big negative for me. I had signed up for prime because I didn't want to pay for quick shipping. Now I had to wait until there were other things I needed to hit their arbitrary number.
I ran the numbers over my three year subscription period with them and it turned out I wasn't buying enough stuff to make the math work. Maybe when it was $79, but at the current price it's just not worth it.
It's like they're going out of their way to piss off customers.
All this stupid "add-on" shipping stuff is silly and was making my life a bigger hassle. I like Amazon because it was quick and efficient to buy, but that seemed to cause unnecessary friction.
And the real reason is that they made it very difficult to cancel Prime! 5 months into my membership, there was no way to cancel at the 1 year mark. They would only provide the option to cancel NOW, which is ridiclous. I actually had to put in a special request to customer service to do this. That was ridiculous and really changed my opinion of Amazon as a customer-focused company. It was like AOL tactics from the 90's.
From personal experience, if you cancel "now", it simply doesn't renew at the one year mark. You still get the prime benefits you already paid for until then.
Loyal customers that buy from the online shop since 1999, don't count anymore. If I as customer decide that I don't want your subscription service, better respect it!
The flip-side of that is they do run some programming that likely wouldn't find a home anywhere else (Transparent is excellent, and I highly recommend watching it if you'd like something to challenge your world-view).
I didn't get a Raspberry Pi at launch because I had never heard of RS Components or Element 14, and I sure as hell wasn't given my card number to someone I didn't know. If it's not on Amazon, Newegg, Sparkfun, or Adafruit, I don't need it.
Farnell is significantly larger than Newegg or sparkfun or adafruit (even if you combine them). RPi distributes via Farnell or RS because many schools and colleges - the target audience for original RPi - will have accounts at RS or Farnell already.
I've always got a couple of running "projects" and it's really nice to have Prime if I find out I need to buy a 20 Mhz oscillator, or a magneto cover gasket, or a pink buggy whip mid-stream.
"There is more than loyalty at stake for Atlanta-based UPS. This year, its Amazon account exceeds $1 billion. ... The average cost to handle a parcel was about $8 last year." 
"Some analysts say the move could help position Amazon to offer shipping services to other companies, eventually competing with the likes of United Parcel Service and DHL Worldwide Express. ... Amazon rolled out thousands of its own trailers and launched an Uber-like delivery service last year to handle the so-called last mile of delivery, taking packages from distribution centers to customers' homes." 
Thats still Amazing low cost considering what has to be done to deliver a parcel. Though I'm more surprised Amazon hasn't set up an Argos style business in high density cities.
For those that dont know Argos it's in the UK and its basically a collection shopfront with catalogues infromt of the counter. You browse the catalogue, write down the numbers and staff go out the back and bring you what you asked for. They have a huge range and while strange at first shopping in person from a book catalogue it works amazingly well for a bunch of shopping needs. It would merge perfectly with a Amazon like business.
As a kid, it was great fun to watch, but I wouldn't put up with it these days. If I have to fight traffic and go to a shop, I like to get in and get out as fast as possible.
Best was best (ahem) known for its funky stores' architecture. The one in Sacramento, California, was especially interesting. A corner of the building was literally removed to open the showroom then put back at night to close up shop.
I saw a 'That's incredible' TV advert mentioning but not explaining the Sacramento shop front with the sliding wall. I never saw the program. It was the early 80s, I was under 10 years old, and I was left confused until literally just now. Thank you. That's a personal 30 year mystery explained.
I think the business model works better in Europe where floor-space is at a premium. Here in North America, they just build gigantic warehouse-styled stores with wide aisles and spartan decor and let the customers pick up their own crap. Presto, Wal-Mart and Costco.
Notably in general retail, dedicated shoe stores in the USA are quite often like this though discount shoe stores now often tend to simply have stacks of boxes below a display shoe and it's up to the consumer to find which sizes/styles are in stock. It's also the standard for compact high-value goods such as jewelry. There are probably still also shops (even grocers) in high-crime areas that simply work everything this way.
I can't find any numbers on Argos itself, but the group that owns them (as well as a few other large retailers in the UK) made profits of £93.8m on revenues of £5.7B last year:
Also, if you order before 6PM you can get same day delivery: http://www.argos.co.uk/static/ArgosPromo3/includeName/fast-t... and they cover much more of the country than Amazon PrimeNow service. It's service like this that makes me think Argos are seriously fighting back against Amazon now.
Second reaction: "It appears this does NOT apply to Amazon Prime."
I am assuming this is gamed to drive further conversion to Prime membership then.
Suddenly, buying a $10 Blu-ray requires you buy a $100 Prime subscription to go with it. And customers have found that usually, Target or Best Buy's websites offer the same products at the same price with free shipping... without Prime.
Here's a thread with 248 people complaining, and Amazon definitely not caring: http://www.amazon.com/forum/amazon/ref=cm_cd_pg_oldest?_enco...
Amazon is very quickly turning into the online version of Costco, and I think they've decided they're okay with that.
At least on most of the stuff I've checked on CamelCamelCamel, Amazon has the lowest price on something maybe one day out of ten. Which is another way they push you towards Prime; if you have Prime, setting a price alert and buying it the day the price is the cheapest on Amazon is simple (assuming you can wait). If you're trying to combine items to get non-Prime free shipping, though, one item might be cheapest but the rest almost certainly won't.
I gladly pay the Prime fee and in return can be very sure that products will arrive tomorrow. I value that certainty and immediate availability. And that's not even considering the video and music services which I don't use that much.
Prime is a very good service, but it isn't for everyone. Amazon is seemingly telling everyone who it isn't for to take a hike.
In the UK minimum shipping is £20:
I recently bought an item for £19.99 and had to buy a random tiny item for £0.10 so that I do not get charged £4 for shipping.
Both items arrived separately...
Additionally Amazon has added more and more hurdles to the buying process such as add-on items and items shipped from a merchant who has his own shipping charges which do not count towards the 'free shipping minimum'.
All of these things make the whole buying process for the customer ever more frustrating.
(I have no financial or other connection except as a past user.)
Can't believe I paid the extra 9p for a pill box instead :)
I'd be curious how many Amazon customers actually don't use Prime and will thus actually be impacted by this—seems like pretty much everyone I know has a subscription.
Free shipping was great. I don't care about the rest (and cannot play it on my devices anyway. I try to avoid Flash, I don't want non-generic-purpose hardware like a FireTV or something and you cannot access the Prime content from my Kodi/Pi2 in any reasonable fashion).
If you like that offer it might be a great deal. If you pay the full price and only use/get a tiny fraction though...
Amazon is a huge thing for us, getting ever-larger, and Prime is a large part of why that's possible.
I'd say a fair amount still don't use it.
* Add on items. Can't buy them on their own, can't buy more than five. What's going on with these? Just let me buy them in bulk.
* Recently, I had an item that was prime, but wouldn't ship to a PO box. I've never had this – amazon always chooses USPS/Canada Post for PO Box orders. The item was small. I had even ordered it to a PO Box before, successfully. I was able to complete the order to a pickup point, *at* the post office, just not in my PO Box.
Of course, on the flipside, amazon.ca has massively expanded its offerings. Which is great. However, many of them are not sold by amazon/shipped by prime, and it increases cognitive overload. I have to calculate shipping, deal with third party merchant shipping emails/review requests, sometimes they don't ship to PO Boxes, etc.
Also your discount increases the more items you add to the cart, so jet actually encourages you to make one big shopping cart with their system.
"Competition is for losers" - Thiel
My approach on it is somewhat different to many others here. I can order some stuff before 8pm and have it delivered next day. Things ordered earlier in the day (pre-noon) could be any courier, but the post-6pm orders are almost always delivered by DPD to my area (north Cornwall, EX23 postcode).
Talking with my regular courier, so take this as anecdotal rather than cited, there are apparently courier representatives (brokers) at some major depots that bid on the packages as they are being readied: presumably, lowest bidder wins the business.
I also use Prime for earning download credit. I can select a slow delivery option for my order  if I'm not in a hurry, and get 1GBP as a kickback. In November and December, this increases to 3GBP.
Over the year, I typically place 200+ orders (some for me, some for clients) and most are slow delivery. This effectively means I make money on the Prime subscription, and I can expand my Kindle library without spending real money. At any given time, I have about >5GBP in digital credit  - there are supposed to be expiry dates on it, but I've never fallen foul of it.
I order a couple of books today, for delivery to London. As Prime customer, I was offered several free options:
- same day delivery (6pm-10pm if I recall correctly)
- next day delivery
- timed delivery (day after tomorrow, within a 4 hour window)
Sometimes I really wonder how they make money when the items they ship are so heavy.
In my country, the shipping cost would easily be 2 to 3 times what Amazon would charge for their paid standard shipping. E.g. The box that I received recently would have cost USD $30-50 to ship from my country to USA. They either have a fantastic shipping deal or they really have deep wallets, the latter is probably true.
Both are true.
At this point I actively avoid Amazon, they lost their mojo and ruthless focus on customer experience.
I just checked and my free Prime shipping is still in effect.
What am I missing? Did Amazon once offer free shipping to people who didn't have Prime?
I'm pretty sure that they can't just change the benefits of Prime in the middle of my membership.
Yes. It wasn't next day delivery. You still get it, but there's a minimum spend requirement now.
> I'm pretty sure that they can't just change the benefits of Prime in the middle of my membership.
Don't they have a clause saying they can change the terms whenever they like?
Having free shipping on any order has certainly changed my online shopping habits over the years. Other than food, I pretty much don't even go to the store for anything. Even clothes, I just buy the brands I know fit me well off of ebay used (and been doing that for like that last 8 years now)
And it makes me feel non-abusive when I order something for 2nd day that's close to the line.
In general I find it a sane system, would be even more so if I didn't live behind a slow broadband connection and had made my household 100% Linux.
I miss when I lived in Denver and had a milk man. Every week he would deliver milk (obviously), eggs, bacon, bread, juice, etc...
Buying the brand of catfood I do is cheaper through Amazon. I'd buy seven 24 can cases (one of each flavor) every 6 months or so, qualifying for the 15% subscribe and save bonus, plus charge it to my Amazon store card, getting another 5% on top of that.
Local stores charge $25 a case, Amazon averages out to a little more than $22 or so a case (each flavor is slightly different) and then I I pay about $18 after those discounts.
Almost every case I get from them is crushed due to improper packing. One time they shoved all 7 cases into the same shipment. I have no clue how the outer box itself didn't self destruct.
Yes, they would replace them at no cost, and the replacements would also be crushed. Between the original and the replacement, I would have around 24 cans per case worth keeping.
The most recent shipment is what killed it for me, only about 12 cans salvageable out of 3 cases. They refunded me in full after arguing with them a bit, and I'm just going to pay extra to buy it locally. This bullshit isn't worth saving a few dollars given how much time I have to waste fixing their problem.
I decided to not be a fatass anymore. Along that epic journey, I decided to start lifting weights, and bought a barbell kit (two bars, two sets of four plates, a plastic box to store them in, etc), and I started needing more weight to continue.
I purchased four 10 pound plates, they had them on sale for less than a dollar per pound. The box clearly self destructed, and was taped up by the fearless team at UPS somewhere between the warehouse and my house. Only three plates were in the box.
Amazon shipped me the replacement, but clearly there is no training being done at Amazon on how to properly pack boxes or choose a proper box size based on the weight of items in it.
I bought a $400 food processor, and a few other items for my kitchen, including a new frying pan. The shipping label was attached to the frying pan's retail box, and that was shipped. Everything else in the shipment didn't arrive, but the frying pan did.
Amazon, again, fixed the problem, but what the hell. How does that even happen.
Back to the subscribe and save again. Items I keep subscribing to either change price (to make them more expensive than just buying them locally), or stop being offered for subscribe and save altogether.
Same with Amazon Prime Pantry: I'll add stuff to a Pantry box, try to fill it (since I have to still pay S&H on that, even though I have Prime), and items I try to add either do not exist in Pantry, are out of stock, and are never all in stock at the same time (so waiting on some times causes other items to go back out of stock).
And I can't subscribe to Pantry items, nor can I tell Amazon to ship me my box when everything is in stock.
I've gotten one Pantry box ever. That is the only one I could ever get filled with things I want. It ended up being a box full of toilet paper. My hall closet, for the past 8 months, has had more toilet paper in it than it ever has in it's existence.
Amazon Prime Day. Amazon decided they didn't want to participate in Black Friday anymore (and thus, give out garbage Black Friday deals), and are holding theirs on a completely different day.
However, all they give deals on are on stuff nobody wants, and Amazon wants it out of their warehouse, and it is painfully clear this is what is going on.
So yeah, between all of that, and the fact every few years they increase the cost of Prime to pay for things I don't want: Kindle lending library (I don't own a Kindle, and their Android software kind of sucks), Prime TV (I use Netflix, and Prime TV doesn't work on non-Kindle Fire Android devices or Chromecasts (only Fire TVs)), Prime Music (massively inferior experience to Google Music), Prime Photos (again, why when I already have Google Photos), and countless other things.
I just wanted the free two day shipping when it was $79/year, and when Amazon had legitimately good prices. Given what I "save" on Amazon, I doubt I'm actually making back $99/year. Having to deal with all this bullshit isn't worth it.
I feel like Jeff Bezos has no clue how to just stop. He needs to learn how to just sit back and enjoy that Amazon won. We have reached peak Amazon, and it is only going to go down hill from here.
Story 1 is because Amazon did not properly pack boxes (only a couple air pillows to prevent shifting in the box, no bubble wrap at all); 2 is not splitting the order between multiple boxes OR using higher weight boxes, and also not using ANY air pillows; 3 is failure to attach shipping label to the box instead of the product's box; 4 is failure of Amazon policy before I even get to make an order; 5 is failure of Amazon policy and outright insulting.
Yes, I think Amazon should get into shipping, but they also need to start PACKING THEIR SHIT RIGHT.
4 and 5 are the worst, I want to give them their money and they can't get their shit together enough for them to take it. I am already their customer, they already did the hardest part, now take my fucking money.
I let my prime membership lapse last year as I realized I was picking Amazon by default for a lot of things that were cheaper elsewhere.
I'll just buy more from AliExpress. Shipping is free, albeit long.
Having some random part break and be here the next day is a godsend.