But when they talk about lack of same-day delivery and make it sound like the lack of Amazon means we're missing out on a superior selection of wares, then I'm not following.
I mean, I wouldn't mind same-day delivery (is this, or next-day, available for every single product, or just a selection of products?), but having to wait a day or two on average is nothing I've personally felt any existential dread about.
Also, it's been years since I noticed that there were products available via Amazon which I couldn't get at a reasonable price from a local online retailer. This used to be the case, but it definitely seems things have improved.
> there’s one basic ingredient to living online that Sweden still lacks.
> They don’t have access to Amazon.
> while locals clamor
This whole thing reads like a paid-placement Amazon advertisement.
That's not because we don't find it useful, we just have local alternatives.
for living room furniture... Most of it is from IKEA
Amazon often does NOT tell you the shipping costs until just before you make the order. This while any other price comparison site allows you to compare prices including shipping (e.g. Tweakers.net pricewatch). I don't understand why people use Amazon. From my colleagues only foreigners use Amazon. Dutch colleagues often use sites which might be foreign, but at least appear more Dutch.
German Amazon uses machine translation for appearing to be Dutch. Original language is German. Another bit which makes the experience annoying.
Lastly, most Dutch sites offer really easy returns. Amazon is more of a hassle.
I always see in the product page an info saying "THIS SELLER DOES NOT DELIVER TO IRELAND"
That isn't to say you would want it over the alternatives if you had it. I personally almost never use amazon. I know people who get something delivered every few days. Different people are different.
If Amazon _did_ turn up, would it have an effect? Probably. Would it be game and/or life changing? Unlikely, since these capabilities are already available in here.
You are correct that we are not used to getting everything from the same vendor. But it is absolutely common for people to order stuff online. Our "high streets" are just as empty as those in the rest of the world.
And yet I have not found a convenient online store that has even close to as much as Amazon and is competitively priced. If I want to buy a monitor what is there? All the domestic dealers are beyond awful, and I can use overclockers (a UK site) but the shipping is high and soon I may have to pay tariffs too. I go to German, Spanish sites too now and then but even if they have what I want it's generally overpriced and shipping is quite expensive. I also need to go to 6 different places if I want 6 different things, so I can't combine shipping. If the EU wants greater union it might be worth making it as cheap to ship something from Dublin to Tallinn as from Boston to San Diego.
Though tbf I have been moving towards using more ebay, or dealextreme when I can (and am ok with waiting 6 weeks).
They already paid big chunks of the bills for Ireland's roads, ports and airports. Asking them to subsidise everyone's postal costs too is a bit much.
I also don't miss any products, or envy the prices when comparing smaller stores to Amazon.de or uk.
The us amazon seems like a place where you can get anything, quickly and cheaply. The uk/de stores seems like they have limited selection not as good prices (even accounting for tax and currency differences). I get the feeling that Amazon US is this vast logistical network that makes super cheap and super fast shopping available. And at the same time amazon.uk/de seem like regular online warehouses offering no real price or delivery time benefit over the next store. Does that sound right?
Swedish mail service is generally next day delivery for pretty much everything within Sweden. That's not so with the US postal service (expect 2-3 days for most things) so that right there is already a key difference.
So yeah, in some countries, the delivery speed is not a factor making Amazon more attractive.
When I know of someplace else to get something I'll go there instead and normally get a better price. Amazon might get it a day sooner, which is rarely worth it (if I want it sooner I'll pay extra for next day delivery which most places will offer.
And its a very rude awakening whenever you actually try ordering something from a non-Amazon place that isn't trying to compete with them.
Suddenly you're waiting 2-3 days for "processing", then another week for something to arrive, after having paid $20+ for shipping.
I've ordered stuff from Amazon to Sweden sometimes because their selection is so much bigger and I don't mind waiting several weeks for it to arrive.
Well you should know that we often order from China these days and with zero shipping cost it might take a month to arrive.
Doesn't matter, I'll wait.
But something tells me this attitude is far from the norm among people.
Same day delivery? Not a big deal. The fact that PostNord won’t deliver packages to my doorstep is though. Having to go to ICA to pick stuff up is a complete pain in the ass sometimes, especially if the package is bigger and I can’t carry it with me on my bike.
Article doesn’t really mention the new tax on stuff imported from China either - that basically killed the crap Chinese knockoff market for things like 10kr cords and the like. If Amazon didn’t find Sweden appealing before they find it even less appealing now.
For me that was actually a plus, since FedEx etc would always leave a "sorry you weren't home" notice even when I was home and waiting all day even afraid to go to the bathroom because they were too lazy to figure out the intercom. But I lived in a city where the Posten (at that time) pickup point was basically just right downstairs.
I somehow resent China-shopping getting popular or even mainstream amongst average Joe and Jane (using Wish and the likes). I can see how that prompted this initiative.
From the top of my head I've bought in Elgiganten, Webhallen, Caliroots and SNS with those.
Also, it's quite easy if you live in Stockholm to pay online and pick it up in person, I do that quite often with Webhallen as I have a store close to my office and also to my apartment.
Never felt the need for same-day on anything though, it's just a small convenience to quench my delivery anxiety for stuff I'd really like to have right now but waiting a day or two (I don't even recall any delivery taking longer than that) is completely ok.
Which is fairly possible these days with Best and whatnot, pretty sure Inet and Webhallen offers same-day delivery with them!
I did a lot more online shopping in the US, because delivery was better, the experience was better, sorry to say it but from a consumer point of view Amazon does an amazing job.
Today, I feel like there's many products I can't get hold off... Or it takes too long to order online, so I find a store :(
Same-day is available for a subset of products if you order early enough in the day. Next-day is available for almost everything (for a premium). Two day is the default and also available for almost everything.
I missed Amazon when I lived in Sweden. The issue is not the value Amazon brought us from their excessive competition. It is the relationship with government that should be illegal. Americans pay taxes and those tax dollars go to support Amazon's workers with food stamps, welfare, etc - this is not capitalism, but the socialistic policies that have been growing for nearly a century now. Also, if the government cannot defend the people against The Washington Post's propaganda, then it is not doing its job. It is treason to support other governments and foreign entities above one's own government - which the Post and others very often do. If the US was a free market for the people, then the government would have raided Bezos' home & business a long time ago... But I don't blame him - this is the type of behavior we are promoting without enforcing separation between government & private entities.
By the way, I highly support your previously downvoted comment, "The only science you're allowed to be skeptical of (on HN) is science other people are also skeptical of..."
I used to think the same thing but ever since I got used to amazon's overnight delivery its a completely different ballgame. Eg: Diswashing liquid almost over -> order it on amazon.
yea you can obviously save money by being organised, going to stores, cutting coupons ect.
Different people have priorties in life though.
That was actually a wake-up call for local web shops and the post office in Finland. The post office is now starting same-day deliveries so that local web stores would have an advantage over Amazon and other foreign web stores. Simply having a threat of Amazon is improving the situation here.
I cancelled because I started to realize Amazon is hardly ever the cheapest price anymore, and most other companies now offer 2-3 day shipping for free. I order direct and support the actual company making the product instead of giving money to a monopoly with terrible ethics.
It's not consumerism when when I pay US$119/year for the privilege. Then it becomes, "meet your SLA that I'm paying money for, assholes."
Amazon entering a market is a huge deal and a net good for the consumer. I live in a city and between Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh (I never have to go grocery shopping anymore), and Amazon Restaurants, Amazon is quickly becoming the only place I need to do all my shopping. All of this for a low price. They even have Wal-Mart looking at offering same to 2-day shipping.
It's ridiculous to say Amazon isn't some net good for a market.
It was night and day, the existing competition (Mainly Mercadolibre) started getting way better, but still Amazon is a superior shopping experience.
Prime shipping is way faster than anything else, piracy is not a problem, which is a huge issue with Mercadolibre (Although I've heard people in the US complain a lot about that)
To clear up how piracy was an issue, and how Mercadolibre is complicit in it I once ordered a LAN adapter for my Wii U. The pictures in the post were the official Nintendo ones, the adapter cost around what the official ones did. So I bought it, anyway I instead get a Chinese knockoff I saw on Aliexpress for somewhere around 1 dollar. I contacted Mercadolibre customer support, and they mentioned that even though the image was the Nintendo one I would not get a refund, because I didn't ask the seller if the product was original before I bought.
Anyway, I'm a happy Amazon user. As for the underdog narrative in the article: Screw that, underdogs mostly suck.
When a tech company is hegemonic it usually isn't a matter of pure supply, or location: It's because for the most part they do things right, or at least better than their competition.
Unfortunately I have no insights how Allegro managed to stay ahead of the global heavyweights. Probably combination of polish language UI and catering to specific needs of local market.
Currently while both eBay and Amazon have sizeable presence in Poland, the Allegro.pl is still the go-to place, and seems to be able to hold its own pretty well, up to and including expansion to neighboring CEC countries. Even the Amazon fulfillment center that opened in my city recently is mostly geared to handle the German market rather than polish.
Two sided market places have substantial first mover advantage, to the point where a global competitor has no way to break into the market. The same happened in NL with 'Marktplaats', which was eventually bought by Ebay after an unsuccessful attempt at dislodging the incumbent.
This is one possible reason why a local player can hold himself, That and a local UI of course.
Also, using parcel lockers can make a lot of the logistics much easier, and this might explain how allegro.pl could offer a Prime like service.
As for sellers, surprisingly not every one is providing this option yet.
edit: Notably some models of the parcel lockers welcome users with rather heartfelt messages - and count and show the short time it took to pick up the goods. Those trivial functionalities makes it so much more joyous to use.
 http://www.dlahandlu.pl/detal-hurt/wiadomosci/po-firmach-kur... "
Lockers are a great solution, the only thing better is having an employer that allows private packages to be shipped there.
I'm still not convinced that the Amazon logistics solution, leaving parcels at the door step of customers regardless, is such a good idea so.
It's almost like magic. :-P
From my own experience: extremely. It's the default option, everything else is considered only if the parcel doesn't fit the locker.
Honestly, it's bloody frustrating, and I'd love it if Amazon opened a significant local presence with prime delivery options. What I miss is the combination quick cheap delivery, and easy access to a wide enough range of items such that rarer things --often those related to hobbies, or rarer cooking products, for example-- are easily available.
The alternatives are frustrating, often-fruitless hunts through local shops; independent Swiss e-tailers with high prices and usually very high delivery costs; or international mail order with the attendant delays and customs issues this route brings.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not totally pro-Amazon, and I wish that they would improve their labour practises... but losing the sheer convenience it brings? In some ways, it's like going back in time.
But I agree with your point. It is really frustrating to find certain things in Swiss shops. And even if you do it is just crazy expensive.
But even then, you've got the added hassle of making the trip. And interestingly, amazon.de isn't always great value - it seems to vary more (with weirdly high prices for some things) than I remember from amazon.co.uk. (My impression is that maybe amazon has a smaller presence in Germany, leading them to rely more on 3rd-party, not-fulfilled-by-amazon sellers?)
One positive aspect is that losing my reliance on amazon has led me to discover a couple of quite good Chinese websites - for many small items, I now use either banggood.com or gearbest.com
That said, when I recently wanted to order something online to be sent to Sweden, I was surprised to find that Adlibris indeed only sold books, whereas Bol.com is really more similar to Amazon: it historically started with just books, now has a far wider selection, and does next-day and sometimes same-day delivery.
I guess the lesson is that this "glimpse" of a world without Amazon is really just a glimpse of one of many possible worlds without Amazon.
cdon used to be strictly a website for buying cds online. Now they sell movies, books, computers and even household appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators.
Webhallen used to sell only games and PC components. While they still maintain a primary focus of that, they now also have categories such as "household appliances", "baby products", "tools and gardening", ...
I've found the same thing here in Japan. I do have Amazon Prime, but kakaku.com is actually a better way to find products, and more often than not Amazon is not the cheapest vendor.
I hope the Swedes manage to keep them out.
Honestly I expect more competition from ali express than Amazon at this point.
Komplett is becoming more like Amazon and recently started listing products from other companies. But as in Sweden it's quite common to use Prisjakt to figure out what web store has the best price on a given product.
Also, I think UX on the Amazon site is terrible compared to Komplett.
Sure, things like Prime Music and Prime Video won't work due to licensing issues. But the traditional retail business? Now with Amazon Logistics taking over an increasing share of the last mile deliveries in established markets the legacy carriers like DHL could be leveraged for These markets. Maybe that will come one day.
Until then this absence of a considerable part of Europe presents a huge window of opportunity for Amazon-competitors. And even the same-day deliveries can be provided at least for metropolitan areas using third-party partners like DHL which have a tremendous amount experience in that field by now.
I assume that this window of opportunity will be closing in the near future, Amazon is pretty good in still being faster in closing opportunities than the competition is in exploiting them.
Regarding the geographical issues of Sweden in particular, some remoter parts of Germany, read islands, have the same issue. But right of the bat, next-day for the southern part of Sweden including Denmark should be doable. Same-day for cities like Stockholm largely depends on whether some one is Setting up a dedicated warehouse for that. And for the remainder of Sweden 2-day delivery shouldn't be too difficult to achieve.
https://music.video.com/ (several dozen countries, including Finland, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria)
As for retail, Amazon Germany (https://www.amazon.de/) offers English language and free shipping to ~10 European countries, including Sweden and Finland. Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg get Prime shipping benefits.
The implementation still leaves a lot to be desired, though - e.g. there is a lot of untranslated content (German reviews, for example).
People don't speak English
I've always been flabbergasted every time I've been forced to use amazon. It feels like a site from the 90s, and not in the fast and to the point good way. But in the messy, why on earth do anyone use this site kind of way. How on earth do you find stuff on that site anyway.
Amazon has been talking about opening shop here for at least a decade, I think they've realized that they just won't be able to compete.
I think the reason the design persists is because Amazon is basically the granddaddy of ecommerce and like Ebay, their old-school look is part of their brand identity. Sure, they'll introduce more and more ads as time goes on, but probably nothing truly dramatic as FB's news feed.
it's same with Reddit and other american websites, Americans think sites popular in US must be popular everywhere, but for instance Reddit it's pretty much unknown website in Europe and it hardly make it into top 50 or even top 100 sites in most if European countries
google maps are also many times if not almost always worse than OSM by my experience in Asia and Europe
I can get next day shipping on most things pretty cheap, and I can buy most stuff I want to buy that way (including a legally mandated return and warranty policy). The difference I think is that most European cities do not need same-day delivery, since they are not built to have the car-heavy suburban sprawl that US cities have. I'd be surprised if you live in any urban area and don't have a walking distance to a store with the sort of things that same-day amazon delivery usually delivers in the US.
And that's before even talking about that same-day is pretty limited in the US.
So what if someone, somewhere sells the same thing cheaper? Is it cheaper after delivery? What about warranty? What about import taxes (the main reason I'm not buying from the US)?
Their historic price graph is comprised of only the lowest price, which is often a price that is not accessible, because they gather price from foreign sites and sites and non-partner sites (which is almost synonymous with incorrectly price gathering on price runner)
Any good alternatives?
So often I order from Amazon and import the product myself.
I knew FAANG (+Netflix) but maybe the scope is different, or Netflix is the odd one out for whatever reasons...
Here is one of my favorite qoutes: "In terms of competition, GAFAM has the power to buy up all up-and-coming innovative companies and thus prevent competition from being dethroned (as competition becomes a subsidiary). This situation is often denounced by the European Union , notably by its Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager."
It even coined the term NATU for Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla, and Uber.
That being said, it's up to Europe to compete and offer meaningful alternatives to these companies.
So whats left for Amazon besides the big brand name? Slash prices.
If your package gets picked, there is a ~$20 administrative fee charged ontop of the 25% VAT. Most people are pretty ok paying VAT, but the implementation in this case is ridiculous.
Anyway, the penalty used to be much more. I've payed over 300dkk on a 100dkk item years ago.
Amazon.com offers to take care of import taxes for you, and many of the dodgy Chinese sites offers tax-insurance.
They have to hold the package in storage, check the invoice and declare the goods, wait for the approval and then take it out of storage for final shipping. The storage bit requires a paper trail (soon to be electronic in Sweden).
If you do the declaration yourself, they still have to hold it in storage and write it off with the customs ID you provide, which is likely more work in the end.
So in any case, a non-trivial amount of labor is involved. And since it's not covered by the Universal Postal Union, they're not obliged to do it at a loss.
Unfortunately, the Danish postal service sucks and hence we now have crappy service.
So we have.. competition! And book prices are not regulated like in Germany either.