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Started off as a small American company selling books, but now it's the world's biggest online mail order company. They've expanded from selling books, to music, videos and DVD's, to electronics, toys, to software and computer bits, as well as offering DVD rental services and much more. Needless to say, their selection of products is huge for each category!
The website looks very professional but it can be a bit 'busy' for some people who don't use the Internet much. Items are sorted into a range of categories, which can be accessed via the category titled tabs at the top. There's a lot of information and graphics on each page but the navigation links are easy to find. After you've created an account and logged in for the first time, they greet you with your first name and it'll remember you name the next time you visit. This is a nice touch as it makes the site feel more personal. Down the middle, they usually tell you about promotions or special deals. Further down, they give you recommendations based on your past purchases.
Their prices are very competitive but not always the cheapest. When searching for a particular item, I sometimes get more than one result for an item identical item but with varying prices. This is because of the Amazon Marketplace, which is the other side of Amazon, which allows individuals and companies to list items for sale on Amazon. This is good as you have more choice on the prices but Marketplace items do not qualify for free delivery and the delivery charge is often quite high (compared to free, it is anyway) and new items in the Marketplace usually end up more expensive than the ones directly from Amazon after postage is added. It's also not possible to use Amazon vouchers to purchase Marketplace items so I'm not always keen on Marketplace results being mixed with normal results. I would prefer to have a filter to omit Marketplace items in results. Marketplace transactions may be hit and miss since you could be buying from an individual so delivery time and packaging may not be as well done. However, Amazon have implemented a feedback system much like eBay's feedback system and Marketplace sellers are given ratings much like on eBay.
NAVIGATION and SEARCH
Navigating the site quite easy but some functions are a bit trickier to find because of how busy the pages are but they are laid out in appropriate sections so I do get there in the end or when I got used to the site. Their search facility works great and always brings up what I'm after (assuming they have it listed). There's a 'Quick Search' facility on every page allowing you to enter a search term and narrow down the search by selecting a category from a drop-down box. This is pretty much all I use to navigate the site when searching for items and it works great. You can also choose to browse the different categories by selecting a category from another drop-down box and clicking on the 'go' button right next to it.
Ordering is very easy just like any other website with a shopping cart facility. When you have something in your basket, Amazon suggests other items that you may be interested such as items that other people, who've purchased what you've just added to your basket, have bought. Something quite nifty is how they tell you at the top of the page, how much more you need to spend before you qualify for the free Super Saver Delivery. The site stores your address and card details so that you do not have to keep typing it in each time you wish to order something from Amazon. Not just that, they let you store more than one address so you can add a work address as well as your home address, which is quite handy.
They accept all major credit and debit card, as well as cheque, and even postal orders, which is good as many other online retailers only accept card payments. Additionally, you can even pay using Amazon vouchers.
Whenever I order something, I'm always kept up to date with the status of my order via email so I receive an order confirmation when I place an order, despatch notification when my item has been posted. Something else I like about is how Amazon do not charge you until your item is ready for despatch, so if an item is out of stock, then Amazon will charge you when the item is in stock and ready to be sent. Much better than being charged and not receiving something till a month after.
Delivery of orders is usually amazingly quick. Delivery is free with the exception of some Marketplace items. On the up side, Amazon packs the items more securely. All items I've ordered have been packed securely, using cardboard. You will also find the invoice with your order, with a return form and instructions on the back. So far, they have not made any mistakes with my orders thus showing their efficiency. There are items which take longer to be despatched (several weeks) but they tell you on the item description. If you order more than one item, you can choose to have them despatched in one order or as they become available, which is at cost.
I've ordered quite a few items from them and have had no problems at all. That's why I keep going back. I find the site very easy to use and can often find what I want at a good price. If I find something cheaper elsewhere then I do go elsewhere but I do find bargains on Amazon. I've also had occasions when I chose to return items and the process was straight forward and I was refunded in a timely fashion. Ordering is always easy and they do store card and address details to make ordering quicker. Items have always arrived promptly and safely, except for items that have a longer delivery time stated or items that are out of stock. As for customer service, Amazon is quick to get back to you with answers and same when you want to return an item.
- Huge selection of various items. - User friendly site - Bargains. - Feature rich site - Very customisable site - Efficiency in shipping (speed and good packaging) - Amazon vouchers - Free delivery
- Collect Nectar Points on purchases
- Delivery costs for Marketplace items - Amazon Marketplace search results mixed with Amazon results and no filter to separate them
Not everything is the cheapest but their selection is so big that you can sometimes find things you can't find elsewhere. Some prices are pretty good but it depends on what you're after. Also, you can find things second hand on there in the Marketplace. Overall, I don't really see any reason why not to shop at Amazon(.co.uk). I can highly recommend the site to anyone thinking of shopping there. They are trustworthy, fast and efficient, and have lots to offer. Also, it's an even better place to shop if you have Amazon vouchers. Not just that, you can also collect Nectar points if you go through the Nectar.com website.
Good Review, i always use amazon as i can get really odd books on their for my course other suppliers just cant get. Well Done. :)
KateHurst 21.05.2009 22:25
Excellent summary - you've provided a bit of background on the company, the ordering process and how easy it is, how soon you can expect to get your parcel.
Also, good choice to include a mention of the Marketplace section - it can be really useful if you're trying to get an out-of-print book.