What to Know Before Shopping Amazon

by Beth Montgomery on August 2, 2012

in Amazon Deals, Announcements, Entertainment & Fun, Online Shopping

Yesterday on Facebook, I was sharing some items I’d found on Amazon that were creatively priced, when I realized a lot of people simply trust Amazon.

It’s true Amazon is a great place to find some amazing prices on everything from diapers to toys, but it’s important to understand how Amazon works before shop, so you’re aware that not every deal is really a deal.

Who’s selling on Amazon?

There are many companies selling on Amazon, in addition to Amazon themselves.  Like on eBay, anyone can set up an account and start selling products.

Who is selling on Amazon?

  1. Amazon
  2. Manufacturers
  3. Retailers
  4. Individuals

Research Unknown Sellers

With that in mind, if you don’t know the seller, before you buy make sure to do a bit of research by looking over the seller’s:

  • Seller History
  • Star Rating
  • How Many Customers Rated
  • Customer Feedback

You can find all of this information by clicking on the seller to view the Seller’s Page.

Remember You Have Options

Don’t forget to glance at the list of “More Buying Choices” for more sellers. One may have a less expensive pricing or offer free shipping. It’s not always the best deal that comes up first.

Example: Notice in the image above, Crayola Classic Crayons are sold for $2.74 by Amazon, but are also available from Crystal Toy Palace for $2.72 plus free shipping.

Product Pricing on Amazon

Prices on Amazon are set by the seller. While many sellers are honest, because of how Amazon works, there’s still some crazy things that slip through the cracks.

Inflated Discounts

The words You Save: 80% or You Save 90% can be exciting, but is it true?

If I’m not sure of the typical retail value, I always check out other websites I trust to see what their pricing, because discounts are not always as they appear on Amazon.

For example, below is the Syma R/C Helicopter that’s been listed as around 80%-90% off it’s listed retail price of $129.95 since before Christmas. Even I fell for this one, since it’s been holding strong on Amazon’s Top Toy Bestsellers for over 579 days. It looks like one seriously impressive deal.

But, when you checkout Syma’s website, you’ll find they have the retail price listed as $59.99. While $16.49 is still a great price, since it’s over 72% off the retail value, the discount is still not as quite deep as it appears on Amazon.

Inflated Prices

Another thing you’ll find on Amazon is inflated prices, especially for products that are hard to find. When that one toy you want is sold out everywhere around Christmas time, I guarantee you can find it highly over-priced on Amazon.

Some companies use technology to slowly raise their prices over time. If they aren’t monitored by a human, you’ll find situations like below.

Seriously. We should at least get free shipping on this purchase!

Extremely Low Prices

You’ll also find prices shockingly low at times. There are tons of things on sale for only $0.01. Of course, those sellers usually hit you with the shipping costs and fees.

Sure, a LEGO Minifigure for only $0.01 is an amazing deal, but not if the shipping cost makes it equal to or more expensive than other sellers who offer FREE shipping.

How Amazon Protects You

In addition to guarantees on Amazon, Amazon does more to protect us while shopping.

While the seller sets the prices for products on Amazon, Amazon decides what you see and that typically keeps prices competitive and low-rated sellers out of sight.

Basically, 20 sellers may sell the same product on Amazon, but Amazon lists them all together, so you won’t have to wade through 20 different listings. Factoring in seller’s feedback and pricing, Amazon decides which seller is the default that comes up when you click an item, placing the other sellers in the “More Buying Choices” box.

This is how Amazon encourages Sellers to maintain higher values and customer services.

But, It Can be Entertaining!

While the price may shock you, the reviews on the $6,901 6-Pack of Cheerios had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes!

What’s the most ridiculous price you’ve seen on Amazon?

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