I don't know about you, but I haven't been nearly the frequent Amazon shopper that I used to be.
Back in my peak Amazon shopping, we bought things all the time. When they first introduced the Amazon Mom program, we got diapers at a really cheap price, as well as Prime shipping benefits.
We bought pretty much everything we could through there.
Even before Prime, we were pretty regular shoppers.
Eventually, they cut back the diaper deal so that you had to get a paid Prime membership to get the best percentages off, and even then, the percentage off had been cut.
They also cut the percentage off on many other Subscribe & Save items that I had previously purchased (such as razors, soap, etc.)
Turns out, it's not just me that has noticed these things. I saw a recent article on Seeking Alpha with hard proof that Amazon has been raising prices and such.
The biggest tidbit that I found interesting was that they don't really have that much better margins than a traditional brick & mortar retailer, even though you think they would. The article really doesn't specify why, but it does point to some pretty solid numbers that back up this fact. And, it discusses how the fact that they're raising prices close to, or in many cases, above brick & mortar stores, is eroding the competitive advantage that they had in the customers eyes.
I would say that's definitely true.
We've deferred a number of purchases away from Amazon for a variety of reasons. Here's a few examples of items we once would have purchased from Amazon but instead purchased elsewhere just in the last six months:
- Diapers – When they insisted that we pay $79 to continue getting the discounts in the Amazon Mom program, and also cut the discount from 30% to 20%, this was a double whammy that I just couldn't stomach. One or the other would have been fine, but both at the same time just didn't work for me. We look for coupons and store specials. Our grocery store often has a deal where if you buy a box or two of diapers at a sale price, they give you a gift card to use on your next purchase. We stack that with coupons we clip, and since we buy groceries there anyways, it just takes that gift card total from our next amount.
- Car seat – It's about time for Baby Girl Beagle to get out of the car carrier and into a car seat, as she's crossing the threshold of being able to fit in it. We looked online a week before we were leaving for a long trip. The price that they had was great. I knew that Super Saver shipping likely wouldn't work, but I knew that Standard shipping was 3-5 business days, so I figured this would be perfect. Not so much. Even though we were looking in the morning, Amazon said it wouldn't ship until the following business day. This would leave us at risk of the car seat not arriving in time if it did take five business days to ship. We went to the baby store and purchase it instead for just $2 more.
- Camping Stuff – We've been buying a lot of supplies to stock the new camper. While we did buy quite a few things on Amazon, I actually cancelled one order because of the ridiculousness of shipping time. I had an order of six items. One was back ordered by about 4 weeks. Instead of shipping the other items, they were holding the entire order. I finally got sick of it and cancelled the whole thing. Granted, I know with Super Saver Shipping, they have every right to do this, but in the twelve years I've used Super Saver shipping, I've never had them hold an entire order for that long for one item.
- Customer service – I wrote Amazon about the changes to Amazon Mom and they never even replied, not even with a form letter. I realize they may have gotten inundated with queries/complaints about the changes, but I always received a response to any inquiry I made with them in the past.
It's nothing big and it's not like I dislike Amazon. I just don't hold them in the esteem that I used to. If they're not careful and they lose the ‘automatic' ordering of many customers, it will start to add up and quickly. Amazon is one of the most established and well thought of names in the business, but that doesn't mean that they can rely on that to keep customers all while making business decisions that are customer unfriendly.
Just ask Netflix. They were once the darlings of entertainment. Their model was awesome and everybody loved getting those little red envelopes in the mail. They could do no wrong. Then, a few decisions later and their stock price had fallen 80% and they'd lost hundreds of thousands of customers along the way.
Amazon isn't there. Yet. But at the same time, they haven't won many points lately. At least not in this customers eyes.
Have you noticed any changes to Amazon lately? Any change in buying habits?