Amazon Review

Now that you know a bit about what Amazon is and how it works, and you’ve learned about how safe the marketplace is to use in the previous tutorial, you may be ready to dive into some online shopping with Amazon. Hold your horses, there… you should know some of the website's strong and weak points before you take the plunge. But don't worry! We've got them all outlined below for you.

Pros

  • Buy anything, including the kitchen sink — Amazon has all kinds of merchandise available for purchase.  While they started out with just books, they now have food, clothing, appliances, jewellery, electronics… and the company even has its own line-up of high-tech gadgets!  In addition, some items (such as movies and music) can be downloaded right onto your computer… no delivery required!

  • I wish I had that! — If there are certain items that you have your eye on, or that you buy all the time, you can keep track of them with "Wish Lists".  You can even share Wish Lists with friends and family over social media or email, which can be really useful if you're looking for gift ideas for a birthday or holiday!

  • Is it here yet? — Want to know how close you are to getting your new stuff?  Amazon allows you to track your package, so you'll be able to know what stage it's at on its journey to your front door.

  • Clean house and cash in — Got some junk lying around that's just taking up space?  One person's trash is another person's treasure, so see if someone on Amazon wants it.  Ship it to Amazon, and they'll pass it on… and you'll get store credit to buy stuff that you actually want!

  • Here to serve you — Amazon has one of the highest-rated customer service departments among today's big Internet-based companies.  If you ever have a problem with one of your orders, the platform has a comprehensive guided customer service contact process that you can use to give Amazon as much information as possible about your problem in a short amount of time.  This means less time spent explaining and dealing with red tape, and more time spent making things right for you!

Cons

  • Waiting is the hardest part — Delivery times for merchandise can be a bit iffy, even if you pay extra money for higher-priority shipping.  This is especially true when buying from third-party sellers, since they sometimes make arrangements with a courier service on their own, and not through Amazon.  It also usually takes them about two days between you ordering the item and them shipping it.

  • Convenience comes at a cost — While there are some items that you'll be able to get deals on, the additional taxes, fees, and shipping costs applied to delivered goods can make them somewhat expensive.  But sometimes, the convenience can make this worth it.

The Bottom Line: 8.5/10

There are really only a few major flaws with Amazon. Merchandise can be a little expensive once you factor in fees, taxes, and shipping costs, and the speed at which you actually get your items can be a bit of a toss-up (though this is usually more of an issue with a courier service and/or a third-party seller, not Amazon itself).  But the trade-off is that you get to use one of the largest and most convenient general goods dealers on the Internet today. 

Amazon has a huge selection of items from several different product categories, including some things that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else.  And if they don't have it, someone else who's selling their wares on the platform might be able to get it for you.  You can organize your favourite products, or ones that you're looking to get soon, by using "Wish Lists", and you can also trade things you no longer want to other sellers in exchange for store credit.  Finally, Amazon's customer service is some of the best in the business, so if anything ever goes wrong with an order, you can bet that someone from Amazon will be doing everything they can to make it right!

 

After reading the review, if you’re ready to start using Amazon, be sure to check out some of the other tutorials in our Amazon course, including how to sign up, how to start making purchases, and how to get free shipping on your orders. We’re here to help you every step of the way!


Is Amazon Safe, Trustworthy, and Reliable?

We understand that there are some people who might be reluctant to trust Amazon.com, like they would be with other e-commerce websites such as eBay. Sometimes, it can be difficult to trust websites where you have to enter your credit card information and/or pay someone money. But we here at TechBoomers wouldn't be showing you how to use Amazon if it wasn't safe to begin with, and there are a few easy ways to keep yourself protected while using it.

How safe is Amazon?

Amazon is as safe to use as any other established e-commerce website. It protects your personal and financial information, and transmits all of it securely. Neither Amazon nor its users are ever allowed to use your personal or financial information outside of the Amazon online marketplace.

You are never required to purchase anything from Amazon or any of its affiliated businesses.  Also, you can unsubscribe at any time from any emails that Amazon sends you, either on behalf of itself or its partner sellers. The company also protects you in dealings with third-party sellers on its website.  If you ever enter a dispute with someone other than Amazon over something that they sold you through Amazon, you can file an A-to-z Guarantee Claim. You can read more about that here.

Is Amazon Reliable?

Amazon is very reliable at delivering orders.  If you live in the U.S., you will typically receive your goods within 1 to 7 business days (depending on shipping speeds). Third party sellers can take between 1 to 21 days to deliver your order, depending on where they're located and what they're shipping.

Third party sellers will usually ship your merchandise within 2 business days of you placing your order. However, depending on where you live, the shipping speed you choose, and whether the seller ships through Amazon or another common courier service, delivery times can fluctuate greatly. If you live abroad, orders can take from 3 business days to 12 weeks to arrive (due to customs delays).

Again, this is why it's important to check a third-party seller's shipping policies, ratings and reviews to get an idea of if they're reliable or not.  Also, consider contacting them directly to discuss any concerns you have with getting your stuff in a timely fashion. And, if all else fails, you can file an A-to-Z Guarantee Claim.

Amazon also takes a more hands-on approach to customer service than its top competitor eBay.com. So if you ever have an issue with one of your orders, it is much more reliable at responding to your concerns and working with you to satisfactorily resolve your problem. To learn more, be sure to check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to contact customer service.

How to know if an Amazon seller is trustworthy

An Amazon seller is generally trustworthy if they have a high star rating while also having a substantial number of reviews. Amazon can also show you how many customer questions a seller has answered, as well as if they are a site-wide #1 best-seller. Click on the name of any seller to view this information.

Each seller has a profile, which you can access by clicking on their name. This is usually located at the top of the page of one of the products they are selling, highlighted in blue.

Amazon seller profile

However, a lot of the information you need to help determine a seller's trustworthiness is right in plain sight when you’re browsing a product. The number of stars filled in below the product's name is a rating out of 5 possible stars; in general, the more stars the better. You can even move your mouse cursor over the stars to see a detailed breakdown of how many reviewers have given the current product each star rating, better explaining how the average has been calculated. To jump quickly to the product's reviews page, click See All Verified Purchase Reviews.

Amazon seller ratings

When viewing the profile of a seller, be sure to browse through the customer reviews to help you determine if the seller is trustworthy and will be selling you a quality product. Click on any star to see all the reviews of that category, and be sure to read both positive and negative reviews. It’s also very important to always read recent reviews, as the quality can change over time. Reviews given in the past 3-6 months will be more accurate than reviews from five years ago.

You can also use the menus at the top of the reviews screen to sort and filter reviews. Click the drop-down menu labelled "Sort By" and choose to sort reviews by Top, meaning the best reviews, or Most Recent, from the last few reviews on completed orders. You can also click the drop-down menus beside "Filter By" to show reviews from verified purchases only (meaning only reviews written by people who bought the product from this seller through the online marketplace), or of a certain overall star rating.  Finally, you can click in the text box with the magnifying glass and type in a key word or phrase related to the seller's service (e.g. “speed,” “late,” “broken,” and so on).  Then click Search to find reviews that contain that key word or phrase.

Filter Amazon seller reviews

6 Amazon safety tips

1. Contact third-party sellers directly.

You can contact the seller of an item directly by viewing the product that you want, clicking on the seller's user name, and then clicking Contact the Seller under "Further Information”.  This will allow you to ask the seller any questions you have about their product, from its condition to its estimated delivery time.

2. Check a third-party seller's reviews and ratings prior to buying from them.

Customers on Amazon can rate and review third-party sellers, so have a look at what people say about that seller to determine whether they're trustworthy or not.

3. Don't make payments outside of the Amazon marketplace.

Some sellers may ask you to make a payment for their merchandise outside of Amazon.  They may also add that Amazon will guarantee the payment, refund your money if you're not satisfied, or will be paid what they are owed after the transaction is over.  However, it is generally not a good idea to go along with this, for at least two reasons.  First is that the seller may be trying to get out of having to pay Amazon any money for their sale. Second is that the seller might outright be running a scam.  When possible, pay for your merchandise bought on Amazon through Amazon to avoid complications.

4. Watch out for fake emails.

Certain emails may look like they come from Amazon, but in reality do not.  Be careful of emails that:

  • come from an email address that doesn't end in "@amazon.com"
  • contain order confirmations (especially attachments) for items you know you didn't order (do not open or download the attachments!)
  • ask you to update your billing information
  • ask you for personal information, including your user name or password
  • contain links to websites that aren't part of Amazon or its international derivatives
  • contain spelling or grammar errors

When in doubt, log into your Amazon account and check your order history and account settings.  If nothing is out of place, then chances are that you're dealing with a fake email.  It's best to just delete it.

5. If you think something's up, try changing your account password.

If you think someone has figured out how to get into your account, or might know a way in, go to your account settings and change your password.  This may throw them off. If you need advice for changing or resetting your password, be sure to check out our step-by-step tutorials on how to change your password and how to reset your password.

6. When you're done using Amazon, log out.

Logging out of your account when you're done buying or selling on the website is especially important when using a computer that other people may use later (such as one at an Internet cafe, library, or other public facility). This keeps strangers from being able to automatically log into your Amazon account and mess with it. It's still a good general tip anyways, though.

 

That’s how you keep yourself while using Amazon! Be sure to always keep your account safe and secure by following the tips above!


What Amazon Is and How to Save Money Shopping

Shopping can be therapeutic for some people, but for others, it can be a real hassle. Sometimes, only certain stores will have the kinds or brands of products that you want. Those stores might be a fair distance from where you live, so you have to spend time and gas money to get there… and, of course, you can even get stuck in traffic. Even if you get to the store, they may not have the item that you want in stock. And let's not forget the conundrum of having to visit multiple stores if you want to shop around for the best price on an item.

With Amazon.com, you can avoid these pitfalls and keep your shopping experience simple by shopping online. If Amazon isn't selling what you want or need, a third-party seller on Amazon might be. You can also get your items delivered straight to your door through common postal services, so there's no commuting needed on your part. You can even become a seller yourself, and put some of your stuff around the house up for sale if you need more space, cash, or both.

So what exactly is Amazon?

Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces in the United States, if not the world. Users can buy items from Amazon or a third-party seller on Amazon, or sell their own items. Orders are then delivered using common worldwide courier services. The company also sells its own line of technology items.

How does Amazon work?

When you visit Amazon, you are entering one of the largest online marketplaces available in the world. There are millions of products available for sale, and most are ready to be shipped right to your door. Simply create an account, and then begin browsing the website. You can even search for an exact product you’re looking for, or something like it.

Amazon home page

If you find a product you like, simply click on it to learn more about it and see related products. Once you know you want something and are ready to make a purchase, add it to your virtual shopping cart. When you’re done, simply head to the virtual checkout, just like you would in a real store! Enter your billing and shipping information (or save it to your profile for quick checkouts in the future), and then complete your order. While you’re waiting for your new products, you can track your shipment on Amazon every step of the way. It’s that simple – and always will be.

What can I buy on Amazon?

There are more items than you can possibly imagine available on Amazon, just like there is on other online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon’s top competitor. Some of the most popular available options include:

  • books and e-readers
  • home and garden
  • sports and outdoor supplies
  • music
  • health and beauty
  • grocery
  • automotive and industrial
  • electronics
  • computers

Is Amazon safe and reliable?

Amazon is as safe and reliable as many other established online e-commerce websites, and has one of the best reputations for customer service. It secures and protects your personal and financial information, and it doesn't put you under any obligations to purchase items.

The ecommerce company also tends to be very reliable when it comes to shipping times, as they often meet their estimated time of arrival. Especially if you live in the United States, you’re likely to receive your items within a week, as most sellers ship the items within 2 business days. International shipments can sometimes take much longer due to customs issues, but you can always track your shipment and utilize customer service if you ever experience an issue.

One of the most important things to make sure you do when buying on Amazon is to ensure you are making purchases from a reliable seller. Always read product and seller ratings before confirming your purchases. This will eliminate many potential problems you may have after receiving your goods. To learn more about this, and get tips on how you can stay safe while using Amazon, be sure to check out our article on Amazon safety.

3 Ways to start using Amazon

1. Use it for all of your online shopping needs – especially for books or gifts.

Amazon's main function is as an Internet-based marketplace. Its basic process is pretty simple, and similar to what you'd encounter in a real-life retail store:

  1. Create an account, or log in if you already have one.
  2. Search for items that you'd like to purchase, and then add them to your virtual "shopping cart."
  3. When you have everything that you want, proceed to the virtual "checkout" counter.
  4. Enter your address and credit card information, so that they know where to send the merchandise and how you're going to be paying for it.
  5. If you've purchased physical merchandise, Amazon will send it to you via a common courier service such as UPS or FedEx.  OR, if you've bought digital merchandise, you can download it right from the website onto your computer!

2. Become a seller yourself and participate in Amazon’s third-party selling program — earn some money or expand your small business.

In addition to selling items itself, it also allows third parties to sell items on its website.  Whether you're only looking to sell a few items or are looking to fill bulk orders, Amazon can accommodate you.

  1. Choose what class of seller you want to be — Individual (less than 40 items/month) or Professional (40+ items/month) — and set up your account.
  2. List the items you're interested in selling.  Whether they're already being sold on the website or are new products, just enter how many you have of each item, their condition, and how much you're asking for them.
  3. When someone places an order for your stuff, you'll be notified.  You can then work out the delivery details through Amazon, or make arrangements with a courier service on your own.
  4. Based on what you've sold, you will receive regular direct deposits to your bank account.  Cha-ching!

3. Pick up one or more of Amazon's cutting-edge digital technology products.

The company has expanded beyond being an online marketplace to creating some of today's most cutting-edge digital devices and services.  These include:

Kindle

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle is probably their most well-known original product.  It's a specialized computer known as an "e-reader" that allows you to read all manner of printed material.  Whether it's a celebrity or politician's biography, the hottest fiction on the market, or even just your daily city newspaper, you won't need a bookshelf to store it all… Kindle will take care of that for you. And no paper cuts!

Fire Tablet

Amazon Fire Tablet

Like Apple's iPad, Amazon's Fire Tablet is a tablet computer.  It's designed with maximum portability in mind, and sports a unique, easy-to-use interface.  While it's geared towards entertainment (such as playing games, watching movies, taking photos, and even reading books like on the Kindle), it also has several common practical functions that you'd expect on a regular computer.  These include sending, receiving, and reading emails, as well as creating, editing, and sharing documents in Microsoft Office.  You can browse the Internet on it, too.

Fire Phone

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon's mobile "smart" phone, the Fire Phone contains many similar features to the Fire Tablet.  In addition to being able to send and receive phone calls (obviously), you can use it to play games, listen to music, watch movies, take photos, and browse the Internet.  You can even use it to stay organized with a calendar program, access to your email client, and support for creating and editing Microsoft Office documents.

Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

Fire TV is a little box that turns your television into a do-it-all entertainment hub. Watch the movies and TV shows that you want to watch, when you want to watch them through services like Netflix, YouTube, and HBO Go. Find and listen to your favourite music from a library of millions of songs, or even play games!

Amazon Alexa and Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Alexa is the new voice-activated personal assistant. It's analogous to other similar systems on the market that you may have heard of, such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Echo is the name of the compact household device that comes equipped with Alexa; it responds to many different commands or questions. Make your life easier with an Echo!

4 tips to saving money with Amazon

1. Compare prices of products you want with other sellers, or opt for something similar.

When you find something you really want, don’t just buy it right away. Remember, there are thousands of registered sellers on Amazon; look for someone who may be selling the same product for a lower price. If they aren't, you may still be able to find a very similar product for a lower price.  Then, you can decide if you want to settle for something slightly different, as long as you’re getting a better deal.

2. Utilize coupons and promotions, both on site and from other websites.

There are many websites out there that could offer discounts on your order. Try a cursory search for “Amazon coupons” before completing your order to see what’s available for you. You can also check the Amazon website, as site-wide promotions are often advertised on their homepage.

3. Buy products that are eligible for Free Shipping.

Amazon offers free shipping on many items on the website.  If your order is made up of these eligible items, you can save plenty on shipping costs, which are often what drive up the price of your order. Nothing is more frustrating than finding something at an unbelievably low price, and then realizing the shipping costs more than the item! As you’re shopping, check if the items you're looking at are eligible for free shipping.  This will usually be indicated underneath a product’s star rating.

Get Amazon free shipping

If you want some more information, check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to get free shipping.

4. Join the Amazon trade-in program to earn credit.

Amazon offers a trade-in program that lets you send in items you may have from around the house that you no longer want or need.  If they are items that Amazon or its sellers want or can sell, you will get credit on your account that can be put towards future orders. This is a great way to earn some quick cash while de-cluttering your home.

5. Buy in bulk when prices are low.

If you find a great deal on a product you buy all the time (or have bought before and know you will buy again), be sure to buy a few of them. Prices can fluctuate so much, but a great deal never goes out of style.

How to become a seller

Signing up and registering to become an Amazon seller is quite simple. And we’ve outlined the steps below:

  1. Visit www.amazon.com and scroll to the bottom.
  2. Click Sell on Amazon under the “Make Money with Us” heading.
  3. Click the Start Selling button.
  4. Sign into your account, or create a new one.
  5. Choose to be an individual or professional seller.
  6. Follow further instructions based on your product/business.

Setting up a Seller Account on Amazon

The history of Amazon, and why it’s so popular

Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos in Seattle, Washington. It began as an online bookstore, offering “everything from A to Z.” As it grew, it expanded its offerings to DVDs, video cassettes, and music CDs.  Over time, it began selling more and more products, and eventually allowed its users to sell their own wares. Recently, the company has launched its own line of cutting-edge technology products, including the Kindle e-reader, Fire TV media player, and Echo voice-activated assistant. All of these have been generally well-received by the public.

Amazon is so popular because it was one of the pioneers of the online marketplace. It also charged reasonable fees to its sellers, which allowed its product offerings to expand exponentially. They also conquered world of book sales by eliminating the middle man, allowing it to offer some of the lowest prices.

4 advantages of using Amazon for online shopping

Most people use Amazon for a beyond-convenient shopping experience, right on the website.  Here are 4 of the many advantages that they enjoy by doing so.

1. Find more items in stock with tons of sellers, including with Amazon itself.

Worried that your local store might be out of something you want?  Someone on Amazon might have it and would be willing to sell it to you, or Amazon itself might have one.  The website shows you prices and stock levels for different versions of a wide variety of items.

Amazon product offerings

2. Enjoy the convenience of straight-to-door courier delivery of orders.

Can't make it out to the store, or don't want to spend the time and gas money to do so?  Orders are delivered straight to your door with common courier services such as U.P.S. and FedEx, which you can easily track.  Some of its content can even be put straight onto your computer!

Amazon delivery

3. Trade in your used items for store credit.

If you have stuff lying around the house that you don't want anymore, send it to Amazon!  They'll give you store credit so that you can buy what you really want or need.

Amazon trade-in program

4. Wish Lists keep track of your must-have or want-to-have items, so you can always monitor prices and availability.

Got your eye on an item, but can't afford it right now?  Or is there an item that you buy all the time and don't want to have to keep searching for it every time you want to buy it?  Add an item to a Wish List and keep track of it!

Amazon Wish List

Best ecommerce websites like Amazon

There are many competitors to Amazon out there, all with their own unique spin on the online marketplace. One of the largest is eBay.com, the online auction website where buyers can bid on the items offered to purchase at prices often well below retail. Overstock.com is another popular alternative, which began as a marketplace to sell surplus goods from failed ecommerce websites. NewEgg.com is another well-known Amazon competitor, but it specializes in offering the best deals on electronics. Learn much more about all of these competitors in this detailed article.

 

In the rest of our Amazon course, we'll show you how to set up an account and how to start making purchases! This includes tricks like how to search for items, how to track an order, and how to put together an Amazon Wish List. We'll also go over things like how to return orders that you have an issue with, as well as how to trade in items for store credit. Take some of the legwork — and guesswork — out of shopping by joining Amazon today!