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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What is Amazon? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amazon.co.uk is a website where you purchase literally anything. Amazon.co.uk has been around in the UK since 1998 and it started off a website mainly for selling PC & Video Games, Books, DVD's and similar items, now it still stocks all those items but now have expanded its items to Health & Beauty, Clothes, Shoes, Electrical Equipment, you name it, Amazon probably has it. If I'm looking to purchase something I usually always check out Amazon, as they're prices are always competitive and I know I can rely on them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What is Amazon Marketplace? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amazon.co.uk Marketplace is a section of Amazon.co.uk which provides a venue for you to buy and sell new, used, collectable and refurbished items, it is displayed in the same place where Amazon sell their item, there is just a little section next to it offering you the item (if it is available) in the Marketplace, for a cheaper option, usually. Amazon Marketplace is not an auction like Ebay, sellers set the price of each item they list and you pay that much for the item, so in a way it is quite similar to Ebay Buy It Now, if you have ever used Ebay to know what I mean. I will go into further detail about how everything works later on in the review.
I have used Amazon Marketplace as both a seller and a buyer. For the first half of this review, I will talk about Amazon Marketplace from the opinion of a buyer and the second half as a seller.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How to locate the Marketplace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Marketplace is easy to locate, if you are looking for a certain item, lets say for arguments sake, you are looking for a PC Game, you would search Amazon.co.uk as usual for the item, it would then come up with a list of items available, you would select the one you wanted, and next to Amazon.co.uk's price, there is a section where you can choose to purchase in the Marketplace rather than from Amazon.
~~~~~~~~~~ Registration ~~~~~~~~~~
To either buy or sell on Amazon Marketplace you need to register, if you are already registered with Amazon.co.uk you will already be registered with Amazon Marketplace and there is no need to re-register. To register you need a UK based credit card or bank account, a UK phone number, and the invoice address. Once this is complete, you will receive a confirmation email from Amazon, and then you are ready to sell and buy to your hearts content. The registration process is very simple, easy and quick to do.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Community Rules ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amazon.co.uk has some strict rules for both buyers and sellers: Honour your commitment to buy or sell; Maintain current account information; Limit your selling and auctions bidding activity to a single account. If you ever find you can't log in, seek password assistance; Suspended customers will not be allowed to establish new accounts; Leave thoughtful feedback about your transaction partners; Do not misrepresent yourself; Participants must be at least 18 years old.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Buying at Amazon Marketplace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are many benefits for buyers on Amazon.co.uk Marketplace: You can buy new, used, refurbished and collectable products at great prices from third parties, usually for a cheaper price than Amazon is selling; It's easy and simple to use and works the same as purchasing an item from Amazon direct, the process is the same; It's secure - you needn't worry about sending payment to someone you've never met before, payment is via Amazon Payments, a safe and secure payment system managed by them, so any discrepancies and problems still go through them; Sellers have agreed to post your item within 2 days of receiving the order - if they don't Amazon can punish them, meaning you will get your item very quickly; Amazon calculate the postage price, so you don't experience ridiculous postage costs, like sometimes on sites such as Ebay.
If you order an item from Amazon Marketplace rather than Amazon themselves, you go through the order just as you would purchasing your item from Amazon themselves, it is quick and simple, and you pay via Amazon payments too. Amazon then inform the seller that you have purchased the item along with details like your address to send it to, but do not send the seller your payment information, that stays safe and secure with Amazon only. Amazon accept Visa, Delta, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Eurocard, American Express, Maestro, Solo, cheques or postal orders (denominated in Pounds Sterling) and Amazon.co.uk gift certificates as payment, so there's a good selection of payment methods available. The seller will then post you the item, within 2 days of the order. If you have any problems you can contact Amazon, and they will deal with it for you, or you can contact the seller yourself if you want.
Ok, so say you want to order an item from Amazon Marketplace, how do you do this? Well, it's simple. You go onto www.Amazon.co.uk, search for the item you are looking for, you will be given a selection of choices, pick the one you want, then it will open a webpage with that item, stating its price, description and postage options etc. To the right of this there is a small section under more buying choices and it will state how many new and used products there are of your choice of item, you click on this, and it will display a list of options available to you. With each item it lists, it will state the condition whether it be new, used like new, used and acceptable, used and good condition etc - Amazon insists that you state exactly what condition the item is in. It also displays the sellers username, feedback rating, whether they are able to dispatch straight away, and the price the seller wants for it. If you find one you want in there, you click to add to basket and go through the checkout as you usually would on Amazon.co.uk. One bad point is that there is no photo available of the item you are going to purchase, Amazon provides a photo of the item but in new condition, when buying a second hand item it is always reassuring to see exactly what that item looks like and what condition it is in, rather than trusting what someone you don't says it is.
When new games come out, I tend to buy them through Amazon Marketplace, people sell them new for less than Amazon charge you, and as new games are so expensive, every little penny off counts. You can also buy used versions too, but I don't like doing this with items such as new games, I only tend to do this with older games. Sometimes it doesn't always work out cheaper though as on some items Amazon offer free postage on items, so the added postage on the item in Marketplace can make it more expensive, so just take note of both item prices before and after postage to ensure you're getting the best deal.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How to return an Amazon Marketplace item ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you receive an item that is different to what was described, or that is clearly in worse condition than indicated, Amazon recommend contacting the seller directly to report the defect or damage within 7 days of receiving the item. If necessary, you can return your item to the seller for a refund. Although you are dealing with the seller, Amazon oversees this and if you really can't come to an agreement with the seller you can contact Amazon to deal with it for you. Refunds are processed by Amazon Payments within one week of the seller's request. The funds will be deposited back in your debit/credit card account and Amazon.co.uk will send you confirmation of the refund via e-mail.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Selling at Amazon Marketplace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The benefits of selling items on Amazon Marketplace are: It's a great way to sell your un-needed items and earn some extra money; Access to millions of customers through Amazon.co.uk; Secure payments system through Amazon Payments which enables you to exchange payments with your buyer while keeping your credit or debit and bank account details private; Your item will be listed for 60 days, if it does not sell in that time, you will pay nothing, you will only pay for what you sell, which I think is great, because if you sell something on Ebay, you pay regardless of whether you sell the item or not; Amazon Marketplace is not an auction - you set the price of every item you list, but note the more competitive the price the easier and quicker your item will sell, even if putting it a penny cheaper it makes a difference, so check out your competition when listing the item.
Here's how it works:
You decide you want to sell, lets say a book, you search for that item, as if you were looking to buy it, under the section which displays the used and new items of it in the Marketplace there is a section saying ' Have one to sell? Sell yours here'. You select that option, and then it displays a webpage, already stating all the information about the book, all you have to do is select from a drop down menu the condition of the item, ranging from new to collectable acceptable and type a small sentence describing the condition of the item, whether it has any marks or whether it was an unwanted gift and it is unopened, this really helps your buyer out with a decision. You then enter the price you would like for the item, and Amazon displays in this section the lowest price someone else is selling that item for and also their price, helping you come to a suitable price decision. You then select whether you would like to only ship to the UK or worldwide, and then you will just need to confirm your listing and you are done, this takes a maximum of a few minutes and is very simple. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Your item is then listed for 60 days; Amazon will send you an email confirming this and all the terms and conditions etc. You will be notified by email when your item sells and if it doesn't after 60 days, you can choose to relist or to leave it, and maybe try another method of selling it. Items offered by Pro-merchant sellers remain until they are sold or until you remove the listing. When you receive an email confirming the item has been sold, you must dispatch them item within 2 days of receiving this. The buyer will have paid immediately when the email comes through and will be in your Amazon account, along with the postage. The buyer pays for postage, which Amazon calculates for each item, this is one problem I have found with selling on Amazon Marketplace, the postage they calculate doesn't always cover what it actually costs, as I don't think they have taken into consideration they get a discount and they haven't taken into account to postage price rises. So sometimes, you end up having to pay out of your earnings for it, as you cannot override Amazons calculations. So, if you have quite a large item to sell, that will cost quite a bit to post, then it is sometimes worth popping to the post office before hand to get a quote of how much it will cost to post, so then you can see what Amazon calculate and make sure you don't end up losing out too much. Amazon also take an administration fee out of your postage allowance for calculating it for you - very cheeky I think, especially as you are not given the option to do it yourself.
Amazon deposit your earnings into your Amazon Payments account and funds are transferred to your bank account within 14 days, I have usually found they take more or less around 7 days rather than the full 14 days to do this, but at busy times such as Christmas it may take this long.
I have sold many things on Amazon Marketplace, mostly videos, DVD's, books and games. Some have been new and some have been used, and have usually been advertised and sold in good condition. I have a 100% positive feedback rating, so I'm obviously doing something right. I have made quite alot of money through selling on Amazon Marketplace and got rid of stuff I'm never going to use! I also regularly sell on Ebay too, and depending on what the item is, I will choose where I list it. If it is items such as clothes I will sell it on Ebay but if it's books, DVD's and such like I will sell it on Amazon. Sometimes if I list an item on Ebay and it doesn't sell I will then try on Amazon. I have even sold things on Amazon Marketplace for as much as Amazon themselves charge for an item, I sold a duplicate Ipod Shuffle I had. I have never had any problems on Amazon Marketplace like I have experienced on Ebay as both a buyer and seller, and I think it is a much safer and more reliable method of selling than on Ebay. From personal experience I have found that selling my old school and college books have been the best things to sell, they are so expensive to buy, that people will buy them for cheaper, as it doesn't really matter that they are second hand. As they are originally expensive and my books have always been in pretty good condition, I have made myself quite a lot through doing this.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Pro Merchant Seller ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Pro-merchant subscription provides volume sellers and retailers with unlimited listings, bulk inventory upload tools, discounted fees and seller support. A Pro-merchant subscription is generally most suitable if you are selling 30 or more units per month. To have this account you are required to pay the applicable commission on the items you sell and a monthly subscription of £28.75.
There are 3 different categories in which you can get a Pro Merchant account:
Restricted Categories - Health & Beauty, Jewellery, Watches, Baby & Shoes. You must call Amazon to register for this account.
Books, Music & Movies - Books, Music, DVDs & Videos. You can sign up online.
Other Authorised Categories - Electronics and photos, Software, PC & Video Games, Toys & Games, Baby, Home & Garden, Sports and Leisure. You can sign up online.
To sign up for the Pro Merchant account you are required to sign in, if you do not already have an Amazon account you must create one. It is very simple to set up, you just have to select sign up, then sign in, then you're done, simple as that.
I sell quite alot of items on Amazon Marketplace and I do not have this account, I don't think it is worth it, as the monthly subscription is nearly £30 a month, and if you do not sell any items one month, you are still paying that. You don't get that much money off when listing and you still have to pay commission on what you sell, you are better off having a normal account and paying a small listing fee and the commission when you sell an item each time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Items not authorised to be sold on Amazon Marketplace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are prohibited from selling the following products: Cell Phones including Service, Magazines and Newspapers, Grocery Items, Tobacco and Alcohol, Adult Toys, Gift Cards and Gift Certificates, Prescription Medication, Guns and Ammunition, Photo Processing.
~~~~~~~~~~ Ease of use ~~~~~~~~~~
Amazon Marketplace as both a buyer and a seller is easy to use. It is easy to find an item to buy, same as it is to list an item, both processes are quick and simple and Amazon have made their website easy to navigate around and items are easy to locate.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Feedback System ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whether you are a buyer or seller on Amazon Marketplace, you will have a feedback rating, similar to Ebay. When you sell an item you are required to leave feedback about the buyer, and the same when you buy an item, you are required to leave it about the seller. If you don't do this within 30 days, Amazon will send you a reminder email to do so, as they rely on this for their customers. If someone has a very good or bad feedback rating it is displayed when you look to buy an item, this helps a customer with a buying decision, if they have a good one, it makes you more confident in your purchase and it is very likely the item will be as described, but if someone has a bad feedback rating, you know to be cautious of that seller as other customers may have had problems. You can click on that feedback rating for further details, exactly what has been said about that person and when it was said etc. The feedback system is very useful and really helps with buying decisions. If your feedback rating falls too low, Amazon will investigate and if necessary will take action against you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How quickly do Amazon pay you? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When a buyer purchases an item, they have to pay for immediately unlike on Ebay, where immediate payment is not necessary. This is good because then you do not have to worry about when you are going to and if you are going to get paid. Once the buyer has paid, the money goes immediately into your Amazon account and when you withdraw that, Amazon say it can take up to 14 days, but usually I have found it to be about 7 days, so you're not waiting a huge amount of time before you're paid. It will be paid straight into your bank account and seller fees will have already been taken out of your final amount.
When you list an item on Amazon Marketplace you have to pay seller fees. Individuals selling on Amazon Marketplace have to pay 86p per item completion fee, plus a closing fee of 17.25% of the sales price (11.5% for Electronics & Photo items) for each item sold. Although this seems quite alot, you only pay this if you sell the item. When listing an item make sure that you do not sell it for too little, as you need to take into account the fees you will have to pay on top. Pro-merchant subscribers pay a monthly fee of £28.75 plus the closing fee of 17.25% of the sales price (8.05% for Electronics & Photo items). All the fees are inclusive on VAT, from 2003 Amazon were required to charge VAT on seller fees. VAT-registered sellers may be eligible to be charged VAT-exclusive seller fees but you need to contact Amazon for further information on this. All fees you incur from selling via Marketplace, as well as any applicable Pro-merchant subscription fees, are displayed in Your Seller Account under the View your Amazon Payments account and billing history link.
~~~~~~~ Delivery ~~~~~~~
All sellers have to agree to post an item within 2 days of receiving the order, if they do not then you can report them and Amazon will take action, if they see necessary. You must however give reasonable allowances to how long it takes to come in the post, so allow up to a week for your item to arrive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Is it safe to use? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes it is safe. You only pay through Amazon Payments so the seller does not get your details, only Amazon do. Always make sure that you check your sellers feedback, if they have a bad rating do not use them.
~~~~~~~~~ My Account ~~~~~~~~~
To buy or sell through Amazon Marketplace you must have an Amazon account, this is easy to set up. You can locate My Account in the top right hand corner of the webpage. In My Account, you can track an item, cancel an order, change any personal information or bank information, and leave seller feedback. This is where you go to see how much you have been paid and for any information on orders you have purchased or sold. In My Account is a section called 'My Seller Account', this is where all your information about items you have sold is kept.
~~~~~~~~~ Conclusion ~~~~~~~~~
I would definitely recommend using Amazon Marketplace, as both a seller and buyer, but just bare in mind some of the points I have stated. I think it is better and safer to use than Ebay, especially as you only pay for what you sell not what you list, and it is a fantastic way to earn some extra money for stuff you no longer want or need and is just lying around, I say it's better to have a few pennies for an item than it just lying around and never being used again!