Of course there is almost no resistance to their dominance because we live in a time where legislators favor large businesses (because Citizens United). Examples of a broken regulatory environment... FCC turns a blind eye to deceptive practices like Amazon’s false advertising (BuyNow button for ebooks that you don’t really buy). The patent office gives patents for trivial improvements like the OneClick purchase button, which obviously helps large businesses with big legal expense accounts. And the grand daddy of anti-competition is the ability of technology giants to spy on other businesses, Amazon, Google, Apple etc snoop via their platforms and analytics services to choke out competitive threats. How do they choke them out? They control the search engines and browsing platforms as biased referees, so they decide what we see via recommendation tweaking (which is also why the Advanced Search features in these platforms, appstores, market places, search engines, are quietly disappearing, they make it harder to skew the playing field).
That unfairly harms the consumer, which is the basis for this Anti-Trust argument.
Effectively, Amazon has built the world's largest Marketplace by losing billions and billions for years and years, turned said Marketplace into an almost necessity to sell on, decided it will also sell on said Marketplace often at unfair prices below manufacturing cost of the goods, and now has made their own Logistics Network an effective requirement for selling on the very same Marketplace.
In my case, this wasn't a problem. I chose to get into the market specifically to sell FBA. As such, I knew cheap items were not viable for FBA, so I didn't sell cheap items on it.
That minimum commission fee is the reason you don't see anything on Amazon for below $6 (unless there's some weird accounting going on for the seller). Above $6, the fee turns into a percentage and is easier to manage.
That fee is also the reason you'll often see packs of 3 or some item when you only want 1... it's just not profitable to sell the 1 at a reasonable price anymore.
As an aside, the SNL program doesn't get all the same benefits as FBA. In some cases you don't get the Prime badge, and in other cases you're an "Add-on Item" to get free shipping for the buyer.
Amazon is good for the occasional sales, stuff that’s hard to find locally, or stuff I need quickly. That’s about it.
Yeah, and their website isn't even that good to boot (search sucks, for instance). I think they're coasting based on customer inertia and market dominance.
The reason they were so aggressive about forcing Prime onto people was to engineer the behavior into people of buying from Amazon by default. Rather than ask questions about where's the best place to buy.
For something I can get at Best Buy, for example, I wouldn't buy online and wait for shipping, I use their price match (if I need to) and get it same day. And often when I look up the same item at different online retailers, the price is the same or one site undercuts the other by a penny. Not a coincidence, they all have to stay competitive.
No. They've been driving cost to rock-bottom - not price. It's margin they're after.
Their 'dynamic pricing' is the biggest issue. It's completely opaque to everyone except Amazon's algorithms that want to maximize margins/profit.
E.g. frequently items will be at some discount level one moment, but then based on some trigger (e.g. increased views) it leaps up. I've have many cases where I found an item on sale - sent the link a friend and by the time they go look (sometimes just minutes later) the price has jumped.
Look at camelcamelcamel and see the wild price graphs - and then understand that Amazon doesn't even share many of the intraday price changes with 3rd party services.
All they will say is that buyers prefer amazon logistics and will pull out some user surveys and delivery rate statistics to prove it.