#Amazon.com#Online shopping #Ecommerce #Shopping #Amazon

Secrets of the Amazon(.com)

Shane Watson
|Feb 6|magazine13 min read

Online shopping is quickly surpassing traditional shopping for more than just holiday deals and steals. From groceries and clothing to appliances and household décor, almost anything one needs can be purchased with a few clicks and delivered right to the front door. Convenient? Yes. Costly? Not if done right.

Related: Everything Retailers Need to Know about Tablet Shopping 

With more than 200 million users in over 185 countries, Amazon.com is one of the most popular ecommerce websites today, and the company does its best to hook a customer up. Here are eight ways:

Price matching

If the price of an item drops within seven days of purchase, Amazon will refund the difference to the customer (if the item was sold and shipped by Amazon, not a third-party seller). For TVs and phones in specific, customers have 14 days to request a price difference refund if the item is being sold elsewhere for cheaper.

Trade-in program

Send Amazon your used, unwanted phones, DVDs, video games and more and receive gift cards in exchange. Although the gift cards are for Amazon, as opposed to the cash given out by similar trade-in programs, the value tends to be much higher. An article on BuzzFeed.com points out that an iPhone 5 may fetch $75 on Gazelle but will bring in $225 in Amazon credit.

Related: Amazon to Buy Video Gaming Site Twitch for More than $1B 

Microsites

Amazon also hosts a number of microsites that offer even more savings.

Amazon Gold Box hosts popular, limited-time deals (think Cyber Monday-style) all year long.

Amazon Warehouse offers returned items at discounted prices. With labels such as “Like New” and “Very Good,” quality isn’t compromised—or a surprise.

Related: The Visual Generation and the Ecommerce Revolution 

Coupons is—you guessed it—and entire microsite of coupons for pretty much any type of item on the site, including household appliances, electronics, baby supplies, outdoor gear, clothing and more.

Amazon Outlet offers items at 30 percent off—or more.

MyHabit is dedicated to discounted designer goods.

Perk sharing

Not everyone can afford $99 per month for Amazon Prime membership, but nearly anyone can benefit from the perks of membership, should a household member choose to be so kind. In fact, an Amazon Prime member can choose to be kind to four household members in total.

Related: Amazon Launches Online 3D Printing Store 

No sales tax (sometimes)

Third-party sellers on Amazon.com are not required to charge state sales tax, so purchasing big-ticket items from specific sellers can save a good amount of cash—if the seller chooses to take advantage of Amazon’s policy (not all do).

Free shipping (sort of)

For $99 a year, Amazon Prime members receive free 2-day shipping on most items. For students, the cost is only $49 per year, and comes with a free 6-month trial.

Subscriptions

The Subscribe and Save program allows customers to subscribe to common household purchases such as shampoo, toothpaste, diapers and even food at a discounted price. Choose the quantity and frequency for delivery of the discounted items and receive an additional 15 percent off if five items or more are delivered on the same day.

Related: 8 Ways Amazon's Customer Service Beats the Competition 

Protection

Item arrives broken? They’ll replace it. Item arrives later than promised? There’s some money headed your way. Item never arrived (or was spotted by your kleptomaniac neighbor first)? Another is on its way—free of charge, of course.

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Click here to read the January 2015 issue of Business Review USA