Episode 4: You’re such an Amazon fanboy

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Episode Summary

The post-holiday blues have set in — Danial and Shubham take some time to reflect on their recent shopping experiences. Shubham continues to wait for his online purchases to be delivered, while Danial, the Amazon fanboy, tries to convince him to get a Prime membership!

The Week’s News and Interesting Articles

Amazon Celebrates a Record-Setting Holiday for Prime, Amazon Original Series and Amazon Devices — Amazon

  • 200M+ more items shipped for free with Prime this holiday season
  • Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday
  • Nearly 70 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday.
  • On Cyber Monday, Amazon customers worldwide ordered more than 33 electronics per second from a mobile device.
  • Amazon.com customers shopping on the mobile app more than doubled this holiday.

How the buy button defined mobile payments in 2015 — VentureBeat

  • Sales on mobile devices are expected to top $100 billion this year, with mobile commerce comprising nearly a third of all ecommerce transactions
  • Two innovations stand out as having pushed the digital-shopping experience forward in 2015: the buy button and one-touch payments

Many unhappy returns: retailers brace for the flip side of online shopping — National Post

  • Online returns were up 9.3% this holiday period over last year, according to a November report from U.S.-based retail research and consulting firm DynamicAction.
  • Overall return rates for merchandise purchased online this holiday season are expected to average about 30%, versus a rate of 9% at bricks and mortar stores
  • “Returns happen, and how retailers handle that experience is very, very important. It has the potential to reinforce a very negative experience if it is not handled properly.”

Danial’s Thoughts:

Online Shopping & Buy Buttons

  • I predict the people will be somewhat slow to get accustomed to buy buttons.
  • I use Pinterest (mainly to see what’s going on with men’s style, architecture, cars, stuff I’d like to buy for my future mansion, etc.) and see buy buttons littered throughout the site. I’ve never used it because I’m still really concerned about return policies, quality of products, shipping, etc.
  • The reason I’ve grown to be such an avid user of Amazon is that I know that I’m covered by a really solid return policy, free shipping (since I pay for Prime), a strong reviews and recommendations system, and more.
  • When on Pinterest and other sites using buy buttons, I’m afraid I’ll buy something and be stuck with a product I’m not too happy with. I think a lot of consumers are feeling the same way and this will lead to relatively slower adoption of the technology.
  • “Each seller has their own refund, return and exchange policies. You should reach out to the seller for all refund, return and exchange requests.” — Pinterest Refunds, Returns, and Exchange Policy
  • This is hugely problematic and one of the reasons I tend to avoid eBay. Each seller is operating independently and thus, there is a serious lack of trust between buyers and sellers. Basically, how do I know I’m getting what I paid for?
  • A few pictures and a description don’t do products justice.
  • I signed up for a Frank & Oak Hunt Club trial because they offer free shipping but also a service where they ship a package full of 6 different items to your house every month. You pick what to keep and what to return. I tend to return everything and wait for sales, however, this service gives me the ability to try a few things on and better understand fit and finish, quality, and whether or not I like the product as much as I did when a model was wearing it on the site’s catalogue.
  • However, in general, I’m very bullish on Pinterest because they KNOW what you want to buy (whether its an experience, clothing, accessories, cars, etc.). People are sharing their intent to purchase on the site, which has a huge potential for monetization.

Shubham’s Thoughts

In-person vs Online Shopping

  • Instant gratification — I go to the store and get it, I can start enjoying the purchase right away
  • Shipping costs — most online retailers have a minimum spend and you qualify for free shipping
  • Often times I just find myself filling my basket with unnecessary things that I will return anyways, to take advantage of free shipping. (I may buy different colours and sizes of the same thing so I qualify for free shipping and can try the items once they arrive)

Physical Stores as a showroom for Amazon/Online retailers

  • Depends on verticals (clothes, electronics — to an extent, jewelry, luxury items, etc)
  • I want to touch and feel a product before buying
  • Certain verticals have no difference between online vs offline
  • Books are a great example of this and that’s why Amazon started with Books
  • You don’t need to touch and feel a book before you buy it
  • Clothes don’t lend itself well to online — colour, size, feel — they all matter

Often find myself doing the following:

  • Seeing something online,
  • It’ll take 4 days to ship to me,
  • Let me see if a local store carries it.
  • Oh, its more expensive to buy at the physical store, but I can just price match

Price Match

  • This has really levelled the playing field for Bricks-and-Mortar
  • I find something online, I can walk into a physical store and price match the item and pick it up instantly.
  • Its awesome for us consumers, we can easily “shop around” and get great deals regardless of online or offline

Shopping should be an OMNI-CHANNEL experience

  • A lot of shopping isn’t necessary, most is impulse buy, shopping is like therapy, stress-reliever, etc
  • You may walk into a store to pick up a tube of toothpaste, but you see all these other things that are on sale or whatever and pick that up
  • This is how retailers win — so they want shopping to be accessible and ubiquitous.
  • It has to be everywhere you are
  • And I think thats what has lead to “Buy” buttons being littered everywhere on the internet
  • You’re already on Facebook, why not put in a “Buy” button there — if its there, you might buy it. It just opens up another channel for the retailer with minimal costs.

Concept of Always On

  • A physical store is only open at certain hours of the day
  • Having your shopping experience available 24/7 (online) allows retailers to monetize their customers round the clock
  • Site outages suck — Best Buy was down on Black Friday and the site was inaccessible
  • Consumers have power — they just buy it at another retailer with Price Match from Best Buy

Event Shopping

  • I can’t remember the last time I bought a regular priced item
  • Boxing Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday — all these annual events spark huge discounts from various retailers.
  • Why should I buy something regular price when I know its going on sale in 2 weeks for some sales EVENT
  • I think we’ll start to see more retailers create their own events (Amazon already does this with Prime Day). Individual retailers have their own Anniversary sales.


  • There have been many instances where I’ve abandoned a retailer or abandoned my shopping cart, because the experience on mobile is horrible
  • Retailers really need to make sure their mobile experience (especially mobile web) — I’m not going to download all these individual retailer apps on my phone
  • Really need to think about the checkout flow, easy of use, etc
  • Have things like scan in my credit card via the phone’s camera
  • big buttons to quickly edit my shopping cart, etc.


Amazon Celebrates a Record-Setting Holiday for Prime, Amazon Original Series and Amazon Devices — Amazon

How the buy button defined mobile payments in 2015 — VentureBeat

Mobile commerce is now 30% of all U.S. e-commerce — Internet Retailer Magazine

Many unhappy returns: retailers brace for the flip side of online shopping — National Post

Refunds, Returns, and Exchange Policy — Pinterest

Dash Buttons — Amazon

Flipp — App Store / Google Play Store

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