Amazon’s service is staggeringly good

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As I’ll be writing more stuff for Tamebay and getting more involved over the next few months, I’ve been using eBay a lot more than usual these past few weeks. I’ve also been looking at other ecommerce sites.

I’ve also decided that I really can justify getting a Kindle and not just because really I want one. So I bought the new Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display on Tuesday. I bagged it at about 3:30pm. It arrived bright and early the next day. Pretty impressive. Product review to follow shortly.

Compare and contrast though with 7 items I bought and paid for on eBay on Monday from UK sellers. One arrived on Tuesday. Two arrived on Wednesday and I got another today. Of three items outstanding, two are already ‘late’ if I take eBay’s delivery predictions at face value. I don’t expect item number seven until next week but that was clear in the description.

The one seller who has slightly annoyed me stated and charged for first class postage, I paid it and then received it with a second class stamp on it. Now, none of this is terrible. But two things do spring to mind.

Firstly, Amazon is getting it unbelievably right. And one result of this is that consumers will be more demanding. I personally think, especially combined with the rise of mobile buying that this is a keener issue than it was a year or two ago. Even lightening fast despatch is looking a bit slow these days.

Secondly, the two late ones are Free P&P. I suspect that under the law of unintended consequences, that Free P&P to sellers, quite understandably means cheap and slow P&P. It seems to me that concentrating on speed of delivery should be something eBay should be looking at.

24 Responses

  1. what about price? and profit, and quality value for money etc etc etc delivery is only a tiny part of the story
    I can get it to you before you even thought you wanted it if there is enough profit in a sale????????????

  2. I buy and sell on eBay and Amazon and have to agree that products purchased from Amazon Prime are delivered exceptionally fast and most Amazon 3rd party sellers have provided a good service.

    In my opinion Amazon provides the better selling experience and I feel more confident in dealing with Amazon. As a full time seller I can’t afford to ignore either platform and even through my profit margins are slightly lower on Amazon I much prefer listing within Amazons catalogue of products.

    I still charge postage for my products because I have found that by offering postal discount I very often get a second, third or multiple sales. I choose to post by 2nd class to keep my costs down. I get really annoyed by the ‘Free Postage’ message – there is no such thing – the cost has been incorporated into the selling price.
    I know that more and more buyers want an express service and that I might need to consider changing my postage rates and service to compete. However I have paid for 1st class postage on numerous products only to find they were actually posted a day or two after payment was sent. Now I might only offer a 2nd class postal service but I try and post the same day if possible or early the next day. There is no benefit offering 1st class post if the product is still with the seller.

    I sell to make money, but I don’t want to be a slave to eBay or Amazon and offering an express service creates an unnecessary pressure. Offering 2nd class post with quick (same day posting) has worked so far.

  3. There is a slight oversight in the article:
    Amazon and all contract mail is given priority over regular 1st and 2nd class because if RM fail to deliver it as a priority there is a hefty fine. RM keep saying they are losing money hand over fist with letters, large letters and packets, of course they are going to favour contract mail becuase THAT’s where the profit is and where they stand to loose the most if they get it wrong.

    Speaking as a “forced to provide free p&p” ebay seller I send everything 1st class. I am sure I am not the only one …..
    Buyers need to choose who they buy from carefully in the free p&p sector. That’s what the DSR scores are for surely?

  4. Oh Dan,

    Delivery speed is a bug bear for us as a company.

    I think ebay need to leave well alone and let the sellers sort the delivery times themselfs and inform customers themselfs and set there own timescales instead of the ebays take on it depending on what postage option you use it works out the time for you taking into account your handling time.

    8 times out of 10 Royal Mail first class gets there in 1 to 2 days time, but thats not always the case.

    I know how amazon get things out so fast, they are a massive company and run 24hrs a day, also they have deals with both royal mail and couriers who collect from them 24 hrs a day also.

    Now how is the normal ebay or amazon seller going to be able to get that type of service?

    I own a company which turns over a millon pound a year selling on ebay, amazon and our own website and we cant get royal mail or UPS to collect out mail after 6pm and not at all on the weekends, so what chance do the smaller sellers stand if we cant get those services.

    I think if you are buying on the net you should expect to have to wait to get your order, if you need something in a hurry go to the shop on the high street and buy it, thats what they are there for, if you want to save yourself some cash off the high street buy it on the net, but be real with delivery timescales.

    Royal mail and come to that most of the couriers dont always get it right first time and very time, they have humans working for them not robots.

    Buyers expect too much nowdays, the cheapest P&P rate but want it yesterday.

    You cant have your cake and eat it – lol

    Same for products – you get what you pay for.

    Dont expect to get a brand new Porsche for the price on a brand new Fiesta.

    Its time customers got real.

    Im sure i will get some comments back lol

    Just my thoughts anyway

  5. It’s not just Amazon that are raising consumer delivery expectations. The latest Next Perfect Timing TV Advert is promising “Order by 9pm for next day delivery” (and that includes delivery on Saturdays!).

    When buyers are being conditioned for instant gratification from their online purchases anything less than next day delivery won’t be considered fast enough.

    We might not all be able to have a 9pm cut off like next, but if someone pays at 9am they’re likely to expect to see their purchase the next day regardless how you try to set their expectations because you choose a cheap five day delivery service.

  6. It is my opinion that Amazon might be raising expectations too high. Case in point .

    Someone was volunteering in Africa, purchased several used books, and had them shipped to his parents. The books disappeared somewhere between the US and Africa after his parents took possession of them and sent them to him. All he did was ask if he could easily reorder the books again and Amazon just refunded him in full.

    It was obvious from the story that he either bought the books from Amazon or sellers using FBA. What was never mentioned is whether Amazon ate that cost themselves or simply passed it on to their third party sellers. Either way they come out looking great and now buyers everywhere expect just a little bit more.

  7. this reminds me of the comments you get usually from the USA

    I bought 5 items in the UK some after your item and they have arrived, why is your item not here ?

  8. I hate to say but Amazon don’t get it right all the time.

    I have been an Amazon Prime member since the start and probably 80% of the time they get it right, the other 20% is never delivered the next day and in fact one took 4 days to arrive and another over a week!

    Also the other issue I have had buying for a business through Prime and then through a business using FBA trying to get a VAT receipt is like trying to get blood out of a stone!

    Everyone in the industry big all small struggles with delivery cost and delivery quality, I don’t know of one company I have ever heard of that can get this right all of the time.


  9. Another thought proving write-up Dan. What I will say is that we have to remember that Amazon is a world class leading retailer with high tec systems, and resources. Amazon marketplace however will reflect that of the ebay marketplace…a mix of good a bad sellers, but mainly good?

  10. eBay is disingenuous to a fault!

    On the one hand promoting and extolling the virtues of TRS and good service, and on the other headlining deals of the day from sellers who may not be TRS with the ‘free postage’ (but economy version eg 5-7 days for delivery).

    Which means that eBay continues to promote second rate sellers with second rate service.


    OK we all know why!

    But on the basis of Dan’s hypothesis simply short term?

  11. I have been turned down for a deal because I did not have enough volume and the price was not low enough. 500 units to retail at £24.99. They said it would only work at £19.99.

    An outlet then ran the deal about 1 month later at £24.99 with 300 units! Sold out early!


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