Does modern technology confuse you? Astounded by the internet? Do you want to take part but don’t know where to start? Then the CareCo How To… Guide series is here to help! Continuing on from our previous posts focusing on eBay and PayPal comes a guide explaining the benefits of using Amazon and how to make the most of its services.
What Is Amazon?
Established in 1994, Amazon started out as an online book shop, expanding out into millions of other products over the following years. It is currently the largest internet-based retailer in the US, making $88 billion in 2014.
Similar in style to eBay, you have the choice between buying from private Marketplace sellers or Amazon itself. Amazon is similar in style to a department or catalogue-based store; you can navigate the site through the help of handy category tabs or you can choose to select your own products through the use of the search bar. Alongside the company’s huge selection of products Amazon also offers a variety of delivery options, with a service and price to suit everyone’s needs.
What Is The Marketplace?
As mentioned above, Amazon’s Marketplace is similar to eBay’s auction-style format, just without the bidding process. Private sellers list their own goods through the Marketplace at a price they feel is acceptable. These items may be brand new or secondhand, with the condition of the product stated in the listing. While some sellers are working from their own homes, others are established companies selling through Amazon, widening their own circle of customers.
There are several benefits to shopping through the Marketplace. You may find you’re offered a cheaper price through a private seller e.g. private book ‘shops’ often sell secondhand books from as little as 1p each (delivery charges applied in addition). You may also find that private sellers offer inexpensive delivery charges compared to Amazon, or that they offer a wider variety of products. On occasion you may also find that while Amazon doesn’t stock a certain item a private seller does, giving you the opportunity to try something a little different. However, one of the biggest disadvantages of buying through the Marketplace is the risk of something going wrong e.g. your item doesn’t arrive/isn’t in the condition described and you have to confront the seller. Although problems don’t arise very often, in cases like these Amazon offer a messaging/liaison service to solve any issues.
How To Shop With Amazon
Shopping with Amazon couldn’t be simpler. Create an account (it’s completely free – your debit/credit card details are needed to enable you to shop) and once you’ve chosen your product click Add To Basket, where your item will be stored until you complete the payment. Proceed to checkout where you’ll be asked to select your delivery address – this can either be your home address or a local Amazon Pickup Location (ideal for customers who may not be at home when their parcel is delivered).
You’ll then be asked to select your chosen delivery option (see below for explanation). Once this has been completed you can finish shopping by clicking Buy Now. This confirms you have purchased your product – Amazon will then send you an e-mail to confirm your order and payment details.
Amazon offer a variety of delivery options to suit everyone’s needs (prices stated here may not apply when buying through the Marketplace). FREE Super Saver Delivery is offered on orders including £10 or more spent on books or orders over £20. Selecting this option will mean your order arrives 3-5 working days after its dispatch. If you want your items to arrive sooner then the First Class Delivery option would be for you. Although the prices vary per item, your order should arrive 1-2 business days after its dispatch. This option is also great if you’re pre-ordering a product as it guarantees you’ll receive it on the day of release. Other options include One-Day Delivery, Express Delivery and Expedited Delivery.
If, however, you feel you’ll be making multiple and frequent purchases from Amazon, why not try the Amazon Prime service? For £79 a year you’ll receive a number of great benefits alongside unlimited free one-day delivery on millions of items!
This handy tool lets you keep track of your ‘wished for’ items. Unless made as a private list, your wishlists can be viewed by anyone (including your friends and family), helping to give them ideas of potential gifts for you! Likewise, you can search for people you may know to get a glimpse into items they’re currently wishing for, making birthdays and Christmas easier than ever before!
- When buying from the Marketplace aim to purchase from sellers with +90% positive percentage ratings – the more total ratings the better. Ratings are taken from reviews posted by previous customers, giving you an idea of the service the seller provides.
- Always review the product and delivery details of your purchase before you click Buy. Ensure that the delivery option selected is the one you want (delivery rates vary in price).
- If investing in Amazon Prime ensure you read and understand the terms and conditions beforehand.