Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Anecdote Illustrating What Amazon’s Competitors Are Up Against

 

I know there are negative views of Amazon out there (my wife calls them “the evil empire” because of how they treated some publishers and authors). But there’s a reason for Amazon’s dominance: they are often damn good at what they do.

Consider this story as one data point:

I had a Dell laptop at work with a failed battery, and I wanted to buy a new one. I have a corporate account at Dell so I went to their website and tried to find the right battery by myself, using the laptop model to narrow down the choices. After maybe 20 minutes I thought I had found one, although they didn’t offer the exact battery I was looking for, and it was a lower capacity than the original. I bought it, it came, it was wrong. It fit, but the connector was in the wrong place so I couldn’t use it.

At this point I talked to my Dell sales rep and asked him to help me find the right one – I know their view of the inventory is different from the public’s. He found one, sent me a quote, I ordered it, it came, it was also wrong. In fact, it was the exact same battery I had found, which we already knew didn’t work!

I sent my sales rep an email at 1:16 p.m. telling him I was going to look elsewhere. I logged into Amazon, typed in the model number of the battery and it came right up. There was a picture where I could see that the connector was in the right place. It was the exact one I was looking for. I clicked the order button and confirmed it, and it was on its way. (With free shipping!) I sent my rep another email telling him I had found what I needed. The time was 1:20 p.m.

I tried the old way and, after a week and a half, didn’t have what I needed. And I had two batteries I had to return, which is a pain.

The Amazon way took four minutes and it was exactly what I needed. The actual shopping and ordering probably took two minutes. I had it in two days. The next time I need a part like that, why should I even try Dell?

If I called Dell and told them I want to be able to complete a purchase in two minutes they’d think I was crazy. But that’s what the competition can do, at least for this kind of sale.

That’s one example of why Amazon is so successful.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 66 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Yeah, there’s nothing like competence. Ease of use, incredibly wide range of products, reasonable prices, free shipping, fast delivery.

    • #1
    • October 22, 2019, at 10:43 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. ctlaw Coolidge

    OTOH, next week, your Amazon battery will catch fire and burn down the office.

    • #2
    • October 22, 2019, at 10:58 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. JustmeinAZ Member

    Not to mention that refunds are issued for returns as soon as the return mailing label is scanned at UPS or the Post Office. 

    • #3
    • October 22, 2019, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. OldPhil Coolidge

    My last two Dell laptops were absolute junk. They couldn’t fix them in the warranty period. Never again.

    • #4
    • October 22, 2019, at 1:08 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Full Size Tabby Member

    The downside of the vast selection is that when I have a less-than-precise idea of what I want, I have to wade through hundreds of listings, many for duplicates, to figure out what I really want. 

    • #5
    • October 22, 2019, at 1:14 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. OkieSailor Member

    I also appreciate getting user reviews even though I’ve learned to discount a small number of very negative ones when the vast majority are positive. Some people just can’t be satisfied, some refuse to read instructions, and some should never touch anything mechanical let alone electronic. I have rarely been disappointed with products I’ve purchased there. I do use other sites for user feedback but get better info on Amazon as a rule. Plus I can find items there that just aren’t available locally. 

    • #6
    • October 22, 2019, at 1:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    Yes, Amazon, along with the rest of Big Tech, is very good at what they do.

    Unfortunately, what they do also involves de-platforming conservatives.

    Using market dominance for that purpose is worse than using market dominance to inflate prices, IMO.

    • #7
    • October 22, 2019, at 1:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Steve C. Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    The downside of the vast selection is that when I have a less-than-precise idea of what I want, I have to wade through hundreds of listings, many for duplicates, to figure out what I really want.

    • #8
    • October 22, 2019, at 5:19 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Unsk Member

    Amazon is making a ton of money with it’s data mining operations which have funded a predatory attitude in the retail/on line sales division which is making very little money but is gobbling up market share. Even Amazon Prime is out to destroy it’s competition. Not long ago Netflix had the best lineup of shows, but Netflix is now shredding shows while at the same time Prime has vastly expanded it’s lineup so it now has many more and better shows than Netflix. 

    • #9
    • October 22, 2019, at 5:20 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Skyler Coolidge

    As a former Dell engineer, I’m embarrassed. But not surprised. I always said when I worked there, that I didn’t mind building Windows machines since people are willing to buy them, but I don’t know why we handicapped ourselves by using them. :) That wasn’t a popular thing to say.

    • #10
    • October 22, 2019, at 5:34 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  11. Suspira Member

    I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I read this post directly after wrestling with an order for protein bars on Amazon. Some of the bars are just on regular old Amazon, while others are available on Prime Pantry. I don’t understand Prime Pantry, but I do know that I don’t get free shipping with it, as I do with Amazon Prime.

    So I went with the chocolate variety pack on AP, rather than the blueberry flavor on PP. I really wanted the blueberry, but, by golly, I joined Amazon Prime to get out of paying for shipping and I’m not going to knuckle under to the Man.

     

    • #11
    • October 22, 2019, at 7:40 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  12. James Lileks Contributor

    Unsk (View Comment):
    Not long ago Netflix had the best lineup of shows, but Netflix is now shredding shows while at the same time Prime has vastly expanded it’s lineup so it now has many more and better shows than Netflix. 

    Amazon Prime is now the equivalent of the neighborhood video-rental store: they have a bizarre and gargantuan collection of old quirky stuff. Netflix seems intent on driving you to the new shiny things at the expense of its back catalogue. 

    • #12
    • October 22, 2019, at 9:23 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. Skyler Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Unsk (View Comment):
    Not long ago Netflix had the best lineup of shows, but Netflix is now shredding shows while at the same time Prime has vastly expanded it’s lineup so it now has many more and better shows than Netflix.

    Amazon Prime is now the equivalent of the neighborhood video-rental store: they have a bizarre and gargantuan collection of old quirky stuff. Netflix seems intent on driving you to the new shiny things at the expense of its back catalogue.

    We quit netflix about three or four years ago. The biggest reason is because they started offering perverted childrens’ shows, and Hillary joined their board.

    We don’t miss them. Their engine to recommend movies was terrible. I first joined Netflix in 2010 or so, and they started recommending movies to me that I didn’t like. It never stopped recommending those movies to me. I tried to tell it to stop recommending them, but it always came back to them. 

    Then it had just a handful of genres, one of which was LGBTQKEKDEI alphabet pervert genre. Since when is that a genre? I couldn’t make that go away. 

    We haven’t missed it at all. It wasn’t worth the money.

    • #13
    • October 23, 2019, at 1:48 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    OTOH, next week, your Amazon battery will catch fire and burn down the office.

    That’s a bad thing?

    • #14
    • October 23, 2019, at 3:26 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Miffed White Male Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Unsk (View Comment):
    Not long ago Netflix had the best lineup of shows, but Netflix is now shredding shows while at the same time Prime has vastly expanded it’s lineup so it now has many more and better shows than Netflix.

    Amazon Prime is now the equivalent of the neighborhood video-rental store: they have a bizarre and gargantuan collection of old quirky stuff. Netflix seems intent on driving you to the new shiny things at the expense of its back catalogue.

    The problem with Amazon is that they seem to out of nowhere tie “rentals” of movies and/or shows to trying/buying a subscription to some random TV service.

    • #15
    • October 23, 2019, at 4:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. She Thatcher
    She

    I love Amazon. I’ve been a customer since 1997, and a Prime subscriber for years. If I could get them to do one thing, it would be to stop popping up “reminders” that there are Prime “features” I’m not using–I don’t stream anything, because of the expensive satellite Internet connection I have, so music and video are just not something I do, if I were even inclined to in the first place. It irritates me that I have to click “proceed,” or “next” or “continue” or something, because these “reminders” don’t go away on their own.

    In occasional fits of irritation, I’ve asked them to stop, but they never do. It just irks me. It would be nice if they trusted me to know what’s best for me and what I want/need, and just shut up about it.

    OTOH, I am a believer in local businesses, and support the non-chain, mom-and-pop shops when I can. Several years ago, I wanted a through-the-wall ventilator, found the brand and model on the Internet, called up the local “platinum” dealer for the manufacturer, and asked if they could get it for me. “Sure,” they said. “It’s a special order, and it will be here in about three or four weeks.” “Why so long, I said?” “Well,” they said, we only order full pallets from this manufacturer,” (I assume that’s to reduce shipping charges, or delivery fees or something), “so we have to wait till we have a full order before we place it.” “Never mind,” I said.

    Searched the model number on Amazon. There it was! Same price. Prime shipping. It was in my driveway 48 hours later.

    Someone at the “platinum” dealers could have done that, upcharged me $20, and I’d have been happy to drive to pick it up, thinking I was doing local businesses a favor. I’m sad to see them struggling, but they just can’t compete in this environment if that’s the best they can do with this sort of thing. 

    • #16
    • October 23, 2019, at 5:43 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  17. Guruforhire Member

    Amazon’s primary market advantage is a 20+ year long lack of market discipline.

    • #17
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:17 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Stad Thatcher

    When I ordered my new Alienware gaming laptop through Dell, I soon discovered the thing was always discharging the battery, even when the power supply was plugged in. A little research of comments in the online gaming community revealed the laptop really needed the 330 watt power supply, not the 220 watt unit which came with it.

    Long story short, I bought the higher power unit through Amazon, and saved a bunch of $$$ over buying it from Dell. I didn’t bother trying to complain to Dell, because others tried and failed.

    Amazon does a lot of things right, which is why they dominate the marketplace. When WalMart came out, people loved it because they carried almost everything – one stop shopping saves gas and time. Amazon is the same way, but you know ahead of time if an item is in stock, and you can get exactly what you want, not what the brick and mortar store has that may or may not be close. If you’re a Prime member, you can (in most cases) get it delivered for free in two days.

    • #18
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:24 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Valiuth Member

    Amazon is good for consumers, everyone is a consumer, ergo Amazon is good for everyone. Older retailers can either adapt or die I don’t care which. You can not only find everything you could possibly want they also provide great customer service. Jeff Bezos can deplatform as many Trumpers as he wants so long as the spice keeps flowing. 

    • #19
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:33 AM PST
    • Like
  20. Skyler Coolidge

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Amazon’s primary market advantage is a 20+ year long lack of market discipline.

    I’ve no idea what this means. Can you help explain what you meant?

    • #20
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:40 AM PST
    • Like
  21. Skyler Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    When WalMart came out, people loved it because they carried almost everything – one stop shopping saves gas and time.

    I think it’s ironic that Sears was the Amazon of their day with their mail order catalog, but they got out done by Amazon, tried to rely on their brick and mortar stores, and their own brands. I suspect the original leaders of Sears would have been able to save that company.

    • #21
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:43 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. She Thatcher
    She

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    When WalMart came out, people loved it because they carried almost everything – one stop shopping saves gas and time.

    I think it’s ironic that Sears was the Amazon of their day with their mail order catalog, but they got out done by Amazon, tried to rely on their brick and mortar stores, and their own brands. I suspect the original leaders of Sears would have been able to save that company.

    Perhaps. I know that, in October of 1963, when my family (Mum, Dad, me, and two-year old sister) moved to the States after spending most of my childhood in West Africa, the Sears Wish Book was the most magical thing we’d ever seen. It was a concept, and a way of buying stuff that we couldn’t possibly have imagined.

    • #22
    • October 23, 2019, at 7:02 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Jimmy Carter Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I think it’s ironic that Sears was the Amazon of their day with their mail order catalog, but they got out done by Amazon,

    Yeah, but You can’t wipe with Amazon.

    Sears +1

    • #23
    • October 23, 2019, at 7:11 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. Skyler Coolidge

    She (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    When WalMart came out, people loved it because they carried almost everything – one stop shopping saves gas and time.

    I think it’s ironic that Sears was the Amazon of their day with their mail order catalog, but they got out done by Amazon, tried to rely on their brick and mortar stores, and their own brands. I suspect the original leaders of Sears would have been able to save that company.

    Perhaps. I know that, in October of 1963, when my family (Mum, Dad, me, and two-year old sister) moved to the States after spending most of my childhood in West Africa, the Sears Wish Book was the most magical thing we’d ever seen. It was a concept, and a way of buying stuff that we couldn’t possibly have imagined.

    One of my big disappointments was when I learned that Sears didn’t have a toy department or a Christmas Wish Book for my kid.

    • #24
    • October 23, 2019, at 7:35 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Kay Ludlow Member

    I love Amazon. Since our baby was born, my husband and I place at least 2 orders per week, not including movie rentals, Kindle books and Audible. Even if I plan to buy an item at a brick and mortar shop, I always research the item on Amazon first. We also have an Echo in every room of our house which are, I’m sure, eavesdropping on us every moment of the day.

    Despite the sheer amount of data that Amazon is able to collect from us, I am constantly amazed by how completely they miss the mark with targeted ads and notifications of “items you may be interested in.”

    • #25
    • October 23, 2019, at 8:17 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Suspira Member

    Kay Ludlow (View Comment):
    Despite the sheer amount of data that Amazon is able to collect from us, I am constantly amazed by how completely they miss the mark with targeted ads and notifications of “items you may be interested in.”

    I know, right? They’re always trying to interest me in buying that which I just bought from them. 

    • #26
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:26 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. cirby Member

    I order way too much stuff off of Amazon, and the experience has been pretty solid – a couple of late orders, but pretty much always what I asked for, at reasonable prices, and with prompt delivery. Been ordering from them for a few years now.

    …and they managed to surprise me this week.

    I have a fancy virtual reality setup, and on Sunday night, one of the parts went bad (a Lighthouse base station for my Vive). I fired up Amazon, found the piece, noticed that the price was very good, and put it in the cart. When I went to check out, the delivery time was listed as between 4 and 8:30.

    That’s 4 AM and 8:30 AM.

    They delivered the gadget at just after 4:30 AM, about six hours after I hit the order button, and it was waiting on the carport when I rolled out of bed at 5 AM.

    I didn’t even realize that they delivered at that time of the day, period.

     

    • #27
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:29 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Post author

    I should add that I’m happy with Dell in general, and if I’m doing an order for a few dozen laptops I don’t expect that be done in 2 minutes. But it did kind of take my breath away when I saw how much faster these little things are with Amazon. Then again, they’ve been working on this for years, bringing the convenience of impulse buying to the comfort of your home! I wonder how many times a day this happens: “Hmm, should I get this? Ah, why not? Click!”

     

    • #28
    • October 23, 2019, at 10:13 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Post author

    cirby (View Comment):

    They delivered the gadget at just after 4:30 AM, about six hours after I hit the order button, and it was waiting on the carport when I rolled out of bed at 5 AM.

    I didn’t even realize that they delivered at that time of the day, period.

    Porch pirates are going to have to start getting up before dawn!

    • #29
    • October 23, 2019, at 10:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Juliana Member

    I have been boycotting Amazon for a couple of years now. I prefer to get my merchandise from elsewhere even if I pay a little more. I am not interested in increasing Amazon’s monopolistic market share.

    As for Echo, Alexa, Google personal assistant, etc, no thanks. Do just a little research on artificial intelligence and robots. Abandoning our ability to do for ourselves will come back to haunt us.

    • #30
    • October 23, 2019, at 10:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3