A Field Trip To The Amazon Can Be Fun After All ~ The Amazon.Com Online Store
A review by shippo225 written on Nov 2, 2011Full review
Not All Rain Forests Are Endangered:
A Field Trip To The Amazon Isn't Boring Anymore:
For the longest time, I never really knew about Amazon.com. Anytime I wished to buy something online, I would use eBay. But as time went on, I would always search Google for various products and noticed Amazon always came up on the first page. So I decided to check it out.
In short, Amazon.com is the catalog of the world. From humble beginnings in 1995, Amazon went on to become the world's largest online retailer. Whether you need a new camcorder, computer, violin bow, cell phone battery, Hello Kitty plushy, or 195/65-15 Goodyear tires for a Toyota Prius, Amazon.com has it all.
The Shopping Protocol:
Shopping on Amazon.com is rather easy and painless. On my latest adventure to the Amazon, I was looking for one of those fancy semi-automatic kitty litter boxes. I had already made up my mind as to which model I wanted ahead of time: the Omega Paw Roll N Clean Litter Box. So on to Amazon.com I went. I clicked on the search field and typed in "Omega Paw" and before I went further, Amazon had filled in the rest for me. The page quickly loads as soon as I click enter and I'm greeted with exactly what I wanted. So I click on the first item at the top of the list which brings up the details page. It allows me to select which particular size I wish to purchase, along with my choice of color. The panel on the right-hand side of the page gives me a dropbox to select the quantity I want, which is one. At that point, I can either add it to my cart, or click on "1 click buying".
If you shop on Amazon.com often, you can opt to use the 1-click buying check out. This option becomes available after you make your first purchase on Amazon. After selecting which size and color litter box I would like, along with the quantity, I can click on "1-click buying". This bypasses the traditional shopping cart and checkout procedure. Once I click the button, Amazon will automatically charge my default credit card and ship the item to my default shipping address. Just make sure you know what your defaults are if you have multiple addresses and credit cards.
Unfortunately, I only have a PO Box where I live (middle of nowhere). The item I wish to buy is too large to be delivered to a PO Box, which was my default shipping address. So in this case, I chose to use the traditional check out method so that I could choose another address. After adding the item to my cart, I can continue shopping to add more items or I can start the checkout process. To the right of the search box, you can find the shopping cart icon. Clicking this brings up all of the items you have selected, the price of each item, quantity, and the subtotal of all items. I click on "proceed to checkout" and it asks my login information. Now I can choose which address I would like to use from a list of previous addresses, or I can enter a new address. Next, it asks me to select the speed of my shipping: from one-day shipping, second day, standard shipping, or FREE Super Saver Shipping. And last, it asks for your method of payment, which in my case, would be my Amazon store card. You can also pay with a major credit card, gift card, or by electronic check. The final page shows all of the order details and gives you a final total. Once you click "Place Your Order", your order will be sent through.
After you have placed an order, you can keep track of your order under the "Your Orders" tab on the "your account" page. It shows you the shipping status of each item, the estimated delivery date, and an option to track your package. This is also where you can leave feedback about the seller or packaging of your item.
If, for any reason, you wish to return your item to Amazon.com, you just click on the refund button for the item you wish to return. Here, it will ask for your reason for returning and whether you would like a refund, replacement, and exchange or an instant Amazon.com gift card. Certain items, such as my litter box, will only offer a refund. Once you ship something back to Amazon.com, your refund will be processed within two days of receiving your item back. Personally, I have never needed to return anything to Amazon for any reason.
I Actually Used It for Once:
It is a rare occurrence that I even think to use customer service for any given company. I avoid customer service over the telephone like the plague. Whether it is Capital One or any of my other accounts, I can never seem to get someone that speaks decent English. Thankfully, many companies nowadays offer online chat with customer service reps. Even though they probably use copied and pasted answers to reply to you, At least those answers are in perfect English.
Normally, when I order something from Amazon.com, I usually receive it before the estimated arrival date. I have ordered dozens of items over the years and never had a problem with receiving the them. Then on August 13 of this year, I had ordered one of those large golf umbrellas on Amazon. It was from a seller named Smarttuxedo. The estimated arrival date was August 17, but by the 23rd, it was nowhere to be seen. I did have a tracking number for the item, but it never showed any shipping details. So I went onto Amazon that day and went to their contact page. From there, they allow you to select the item you are having a problem with and what your complaint is about. Then they ask you how you wish to be contacted: by e-mail, phone, or online chat. Since I wasn't sure whether their phone support would be located in the US or not, I decided to use the chat option for instant help with my issue. Within 60 seconds I had a customer service representative asking what troubled me. I told them it had been 10 days since I had ordered and had not received my item yet. I wasn't upset, I just wanted a status update my item. They looked up the order and told me they were unable to locate the package as it was fulfilled by Smarttuxedo. And then, without me asking, they offered me a full refund including shipping charges, which I gladly accepted. I had assumed that they just never sent it out. I received a credit back to my Amazon credit card within a few days. Four days later, my package arrived...... go figure. It was two weeks after I ordered it, but it was free.
So from my personal experience I find Amazon customer service to be the best I have ever dealt with, aside from maybe ING Direct. I have only had to use their customer service once in all these years. And I'm glad I did.
Try Out The Amazon Credit Card:
Buy Now, Pay Forever (and ever, and ever, and ever):
Like every other store, Amazon offers its own credit card to be used on the website. They offer a Visa Rewards Credit card as well, which can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. Since my old computer failed to keep up with the times, not to mention a shattered LCD, I decided it was time to buy a new desktop. Since I was familiar with Amazon for quite a while, I decided to apply for their Amazon store credit card. The process was quick and painless, lasting maybe 5 minutes at most. They gave me an instant approval for $1300 and allowed me to use it immediately. I had already chosen the desktop I wanted, the HP touch Smart, and went ahead and purchased it for $1200. Nothing beats maxing out your credit card before it arrives in the mail.
Amazon offers multiple same as cash financing options with its credit card. Right now, purchases over $150 are interest-free for six months, and 12 months for purchases over $600. That means, that if I have my computer paid off by March of 2012, I will not have paid a penny in interest. The card also has no annual fee. Certain items on the website also offer a 24-month interest-free financing options when you use your Amazon credit card. In the event of unauthorized use of your Amazon credit card, you will not be held responsible due to their Zero Fraud Liability.
My motto is, similar to a lot of people's, "don't worry about paying for it now, because you have the rest of your life to pay for it". And if you pay only the minimum, it will probably take that long anyway. Luckily however, I usually have them paid off before the end of my free financing. After that, I will probably cancel the card since I already have 4 million accounts on my credit report.
Reading Makes A Comeback With The Amazon Kindle:
Bringing Books Into The Digital Age:
I was never really into e-books until about a year ago when I noticed how many people had a Kindle or Nook E-reader. I was fascinated when I first saw one in person. It was like looking at text on a paper page in a book. At first, I thought it was just a decal because it wasn't anything like looking at a computer screen, such as my iPad was. I found out these e-readers use a technology known as electronic ink which allows a page to be shown without consuming any battery power. This is because it only uses power to change the text on a page. It basically turns the pixels on or off and leaves them stuck in that position.
According to Amazon.com, e-books are outselling paper books 2 to 1, give or take. Amazon offers nearly 1,000,000 books for less than $10, including most bestsellers. I expect e-book sales to increase as the price of these e-readers continues falling. At the time of this review, Amazon is offering a basic Wi-Fi Kindle for only $79. It is capable of holding over 1000 books. I will probably be purchasing this particular model for my grandmother this Christmas. She has bad arthritis in her hands and I feel that a Kindle will be much easier than holding a book and turning pages.
Feature Packed For Only $79 A Year:
For a while now, Amazon.com has offered a subscription service known as Amazon Prime. Since they offered a 30 day free trial, I decided to give it a try. The primary feature of Amazon Prime is the free 2-day shipping available for most items. Or, you can also choose 1-day shipping for only $3.99 per item. I have used it multiple times with no problem to speak of. You have unlimited 2-day shipping so long as your subscription is active. So if you are shopping a lot on Amazon, you would be mighty wise to at least try Amazon Prime. I did ultimately decide to cancel my Amazon Prime membership during the free trial because I wasn't sure if I was going to make enough purchases to justify the cost. Most of the items I buy already offer FREE super saver shipping, including my fancy litter box.
Another major feature of Amazon Prime is that you are able to watch unlimited movies and TV shows online. Amazon Instant Streaming is similar to Netflix, where you can watch nearly any movie or TV show episodes, commercial free, whenever you want. I have yet to use this feature of the website as it was not available back when I signed up for Amazon Prime. But it seems pretty straightforward.
Up to four additional people can share the benefits Of your Amazon Prime membership.
Deal Or No Deal:
After multiple trips to Amazon.com, I am entirely satisfied with every aspect of the website. From finding my items, to checking out, to arriving at my mailbox. Aside from the one problem I had with the mysterious missing item, all of my other items have arrived on time or ahead of schedule. Not only was customer service very helpful in giving me a refund, but I still received the item in the end (eventually).
Amazon.com offers many great features for shoppers who use the site often. With the 1-click Buying, customers do not have to go through the entire checkout process every time they want to buy something. And with Amazon Prime, you could have two day shipping on nearly everything free of charge, and next day shipping for only $4. Not to mention unlimited videos and other perks.
This review was dictated by shippo225 and transcribed by Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5
About the Author
a member of Epinions.com
Reviews Written: 102
Location: Left @ Albuquerque
Location: Left @ Albuquerque