They are terrible for everything else. Eg I bought a reading light.
Which was a 10 minute sorting excersise trying to figure out which of a dozen nearly identical products was the least likely to burn down my house. Then trying to uncover which had real reviews and not switched etc. I hit the roulette wheel and ultimately got a unit that arrived DOA.
My trust in the last two years has deteriorated massively in their platform, as a consumer I am absolutely suseptable to a “quality first” disruptor.
And amazon is obviously jam packed with smart people, so what am I missing about their apparent lack of focus or execution on this commonly lamented problem?
In theory, with the right tools competition could sort that out.
But this theory doesn't work, not in Amazon, and not in many other online marketplaces.
So the solution is: exclusive brands, controlled by Amazon.
Amazon works hard on scaling that strategy.
And once Amazon is deeply invested in that strategy, a low-quality marketplace seems like a good thing.
I can't find anything to confirm or deny if this is still the case, but I haven't had any issues personally when sticking with products where Amazon is the seller of record. Although I have noticed the pricing and shipping time tend to be less competitive (I presumed because they don't access co-mingled inventory that's at a closer fulfillment center).
We found that the majority of online shopping today consisted of 1) buying basics (read: cheap mass products) on Amazon or 2) getting advertised brands to you on Instagram/Fb/Google and hoping the one you like finds you. We hope that Indieshops provides an alternative where you can discover high quality brands.
And how big is too big to be called 'indie'? If you take it quite literally it disallows having two shop fronts, but then to disallow that and allow online-only international-shipping... Just curious how you draw a line.
We too are wrestling with that question, what should be the threshold for an "indie" company? We don't want to limit it so much that it's not useful for day-to-day shopping (ie too niche/etsy-ish), but haven't been too prescriptive yet about how big is too big. Hopefully users like you could help us define it!
I wonder this too. How does this problem track with other problems they're trying to solve, though? Is it commonly lamented just on Hacker News, or are they getting direct feedback from customers? Are their returns skyrocketing? I suspect it's more subtle and longtime power purchasers are starting to buy less and less, like me.
More and more people will start drawing lines like you just did, and I have done. Poop bags for my dog? Definitely Amazon -- it took me 15 seconds end to end on their website, on my phone [!] and were here the next day. No way for electronics, vitamins, or anything that will actually go into my or my family's body (or my dog's body, for that matter).
Does anyone know what happened generally to Amazon's relationship with brands over the past six years? Presumably over this time, Amazon has only gained in bargaining power over brands at the expense of physical locations, in accordance with Ben Thompson's Aggregation Theory. As an outsider, it seemed like Amazon and brand buyers have done well at the expense of brands and retail stores.
How many of them work on the (loss-making) shop app though?
I'm honestly curious, because presumably it's supposed to eventually come out insanely profitable and awesome, but the UX sucks, has done for years, and rarely changes.
I assume (but may well be completely wrong) that most engineers at Amazon work on keeping AWS's managed offerings up with the hype train (only one needs to be lasting mega usage to make it all worthwhile), and a whole load of SRE and performance work (I wouldn't like to guess how small a fractional optimisation to EC2 would result in an $X saving across the whole fleet!).
Until it affects Amazon's stock price, it's not a problem.
I'd guess it is not that they don't know or they can't fix it, it is that they just don't care. Considering the resources at their disposal, they can fix this problem easily. It is probably not (yet) a problem big enough to hurt them financially, so they don't put any effort into it. Every decision is probably purely driven by financial motive.
Amazon continues to struggle with counterfeits in their inventory. They continue to struggle with market vendors who give shoddy service. They continue to struggle with customer perception when something is "sold by amazon" and then ships from Malaysia by boat. They continue to have failures in even their 2 day "prime" when the two days only starts when the item ships, and it can take a week for an item to go from "ordered" to "shipped". And as they crack down on both buyer and seller fraud, it gets harder for legitimate customers to make a return claim.
All in all I am pretty bearish on them.
Who will "kill" them ? What will the e-commerce market look like in 10 years - and could that be without Amazon as a major competitor ?
For example, if your chance of getting something counterfeit on Amazon was 50% and to return it would take several days. Then a new company that focused on only legitimate merchandise and easy returns would start eating away at Amazon's volume. Now that is just an example, not saying it is going to happen, but another closer to home experience was Fry's Electronics where more and more often they would take customer returns, shrink wrap them and stick them back on the shelf. I once bought a DVD drive there open the box to find it contained a CDROM that clearly someone had taken out of their computer and replaced with a DVD drive (same thing I was doing). When I went to take it back the store said "How do we know you aren't the one who swapped it?" It took about 40 minutes but we found the serial number on the box had been previously returned the week before. From that point on I made a point of opening the package at the store to insure I wasn't getting the odd second hand "re-gifted" product.
I am already unwilling to go to Amazon for products that are easily copied.
Maybe this already exists to some extent, and I'm sure there's a lot I'm not considering, but I think it's exceedingly realistic to build a competitor to Amazon that focuses on addressing some core complaints of both sides of the marketplace: product quality, counterfeiting, and producer control.
Should caveat that I'm ignoring AWS entirely and am aware of the irony that there's a substantial chance an Amazon competitor would be built on top of Amazon's infra.
Those all come from a single reason: commingling - mixing the same product but from different sellers, when fulling an order.
I could see shopify setting up a system of letting sellers buy a certain original product from a manufacturer - and sending it to some warehouse and selling it on their aggregated store.
Let's say this solves co-mingling.
Than it would a be a great time for Amazon to copy that.
And it would e quite easy for them.
Isn't this just dropshipping (already an extremely popular behavior on Shopify). The aggregator I'm describing is one where the aggregator is just solving product discovery, but limited to non-Amazon storefronts, ideally limited to the product's owner, even if white labeled (doesn't entirely solve the quality issue, but would help with explicit counterfeiting at least). A core part of the value prop would be that it gives you direct access to the seller (some of whom may explicitly not list on Amazon) without Amazon as an intermediary.
Google kind of does this, but one of the reasons people go to Amazon is they know the entire SERP will be products, so if they're ready to buy, it's often the fastest way to get to place where they can click "Buy". The aggregator I'm thinking of is really a more aggressively curated, non-Amazon version of this.
Also, their Prime branded delivery trucks are driven by gig workers, essentially making Prime the Uber of the delivery world.
I just wonder how sustainable it all is. What level of convenience will be demanded next and what cost will that pose to the environment and to the part-time or gig workers who keep it moving.
I don't remember when I last drove to a store to get a single item. (I do occasionally walk or cycle down to the high street for an individual item such as milk, though it's more usually a handful of things.)
This argument you make reminds me of that. Most people taking advantage of Amazon One-Day delivery are in urban centres, and most of them are likely doing OK, and most of them can likely walk or take public transit to get what they need
I think the question of whether same-day delivery is good or bad boils down to whether the goods are able to be trucked across the country in an efficient manner. If the company has switched to many more smaller trucks, which may be less than completely full, then it's a negative.
I recently starting making an effort to purchase things like paper towels, Advil, toothpaste, etc from Target (in person) instead of buying from Amazon to reduce the amount of packaging I have to recycle and throw away.
I still feel like it's a net benefit, but that's purely a _feeling_.
The decision to favor their own products over others seems like a short-sighted goal to help an exec get a bonus rather than help their customers
I am wondering how they can handle short-sighted, highly-motivated individuals self-dealing rather than looking out for the company and its stated culture.
We might not see revenue increase for years, and revenue is going to become more expensive.
However, if AMZ continue to invest in difficult logistical challenges, the small marginal gains in shipping time might suddenly add up to a leap: i'm imagining going from next day to a few hours.
edit: syntax, grammar
And those of us from the Triassic period even remember the days before Amazon, where you went to a bookstore, and you hoped they had a book that you needed, and if not, oh well, we can get it in 4-6 weeks. And then Amazon popped up, and you could just order online, and it felt like a luxury to have things in a week, and then we paid for it. We didn't need those books within a week, mind. It was the Triassic,
we moved slowly, and 4-6 weeks for a rare book seemed just fine. (Because, amongst other things, it gave you an excuse to spend the next 4-6 weeks browsing what other books the store had ;)
I'm fairly certain the same will happen to 1-day. It'll feel like a luxury. It'll turn out to be convenient. It'll take a year or so, and then we'll all happily pay for it.
And that's if you knew it existed. If you were looking for an esoteric subject it was not trivial to discover what books on the topic were in print.
I'm a happy non-Prime Amazon customer. I buy plenty of things from them, and I basically never need anything faster than their free shipping (which I'm pretty sure they deliberately slow down, holding back dispatching in order to incentivize customers to get Prime). I could easily afford a Prime subscription, but I don't see how it's more worth the money than a hundred other things I could drop ~£100/year on.
Are there really so few other people who feel that way?
As far as the deliberate slow down is concerned, I'm positive that they are doing that because they tell me. About half my orders from them come 1 or 2 day shipping after a 5 day delay from the time I submit the order. I get an email telling me that the item has shipped and will arrive tomorrow or the next day. Then the transaction hits my credit card. It's super annoying and I'm sure they want it that way.
Or order something at night, and have it waiting for you when you wake up.
Is this luxury ? sure.
But they also give you a certain feeling of power.people crave power.
And less uncertainty, on those 2 days of waiting. And people dislike uncertainty.
And with delivery robots on the way - the price difference between 1-day and 2-day might be pretty small.
1 day seems unnecessary sometimes, but more often it is fighting back trips to local retail for me. I.e. Terro Ant Bait with the recent change in weather in Portland.
That being said, in many ways the point of business is to end up a day 2 company. VCs invest so they can cash out in the IPO, IPO investors buy so they can sell to other investors, those investors sell to others, and so on. It sounds like the last guy is left holding the bag, but in fact, the people at the end can make a fortune, even as the company is fading away, if the company is distributing profits through dividends and buybacks. If a company dies before it gets to that end phase though, the whole thing will have just been a wealth transfer from later investors to the early ones.
To be fair, the reality could be closer to "we decided not to do this at high velocity numerous times over the years"
Saying that as I lived in a ~reasonably remote part Cornwall at the time Amazon launched 1-day shipping in the UK. Bought stuff from them literally every day for a few months.
At first stuff really would turn up in 1 day, and it was awesome. However, after a while I guess they figured out it was costing them a fortune in delivery costs. So the 1-day thing silently became "2 day".
As in, when not logged in it, items would be shown as "Receive it by (say) Wed xx" on a Tuesday. After logging in and purchasing, the expected date would then become Thursday. Yes, even with Prime 1-day. ;)
For me it's a moot point anyway, as after some bad customer service experiences - dishonesty on Amazons part - I don't really buy anything through Amazon any more.
1 day/same day shipping can be very useful a sometimes, but having it by default seems wastful.
Now, we just have to see how far his lack of integrity will go in his business operation.
Marriages are complicated. What we see in public is very limited and far from the truth. Being the richest dude in the world means everything goes through a PR filter. Suggesting you know anything at all about their marriage is idiotic.
I say this as someone with no love for Bezos or Amazon. The assumption that you know something because you've read tabloids is a big reason the world is fucked right now
If I'm wrong and he didn't cheat on his wife, then I stand corrected.
I disagree with your last statement. The problems with the world are because fewer people have integrity than because more people are believing tabloids.