So I’m sitting in my home office working on a re-branding strategy for a client when the doorbell rings. I get up and go to the door just in time to see my UPS guy waving and driving away (I know him because we order a lot of things online). When I open the door what do I see? Tires.
Totally forgot they were being delivered today. Automobile tires. Brand new Continental ExtremeContact tires for my wife’s Acura. And Amazon.com delivered them to me, in two days, with no tax, and free shipping. Yep, that’s the power of Amazon.
So why did I buy tires online? Simple. It was cheaper and I didn’t have to bother with the hassle of going to a tire store or auto shop and haggling with someone. Spent maybe 15 minutes on TireRack (really an amazing site) researching tires that fit our Acura. Then read through the user and professional testing reviews and decided on the ones we wanted. Quick search on Amazon and viola. There they are, in stock, and Prime eligible for free 2-day delivery (if you’re not a Prime member on Amazon you’re making a big mistake).
For fun, I called 3 local places to see if they had this tire and what it would cost. One store didn’t carry them, but told me about other brands in the same size they had (each of which were rated lower than the Continentals on TireRack). The other two stores had them but couldn’t match Amazon’s price. Not even close. We’ve got a local garage less than a mile away and next week I’ll take the Acura and tires down there and have them installed. Done.
Amazon has really changed the thought process for how people shop in today’s world. I’m a perfect example with my tire purchase. Used the Internet to research and find the best product in our price range based on thousands of reviews and comparison tests. Then went to my online WalMart (Amazon) and in less than 4 clicks, had them ordered and getting delivered for free in 2 days. Didn’t have to leave the house and drive around shopping (and being a carbon polluter). And got a better price. All while sitting in my pajamas.
But beyond tires, Amazon has empowered us to be better, more economical, and more educated shoppers. I’d say roughly 2/3 of every purchase in our household other than food items comes from Amazon. Do we make the traditional American ritual of taking the family to Target on Saturdays for house supplies, a new chaise lounge for the porch, and a board game for family night? Dealing with that traffic, parking and annoying other shoppers and clueless employees? Not a chance. We get all that from Amazon and 90% of the time it’s cheaper than any store.
Razors? Amazon. Paper towels? Amazon. A 65 lb air conditioner? Amazon. An 80 lb Everlast boxing bag? Amazon (and still free delivery, though my UPS guy was like, Matt come on!). And the best thing about it is I know we’re getting the best stuff out there because they’ve all been reviewed by other Amazon users. I don’t even consider anything with less than 4 stars. Why would I? If 30 other people have bought the same item and said “This is great. Works perfectly. 5 stars”….odds are it’s going to work for me as well.
That’s the power of reviews and the wonderful world of the Internet that has brought them to us so efficiently. Just think of Yelp for restaurants. 15 years ago you could only ask your friends and co-workers for restaurant recommendations (limited sample size). Now you have the power of crowd sourcing. Reviews and opinions from a mass audience that increase the odds you’ll have a positive experience. Just think about it. Would you go to a new restaurant if it’s Yelp reviews were poor? Amazon is the Yelp for products.
So sure, I still buy books from Amazon (just got Bad Monkey today by Carl Hiaasen, oh and a lime juicer). But if you think of Amazon as only books, then you’re missing the boat. So skip Target this Saturday and try taking everyone to the park instead. You can pick up that pie pan online at work on Monday when the boss isn’t looking.