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Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, (and a handy $250,000 investment from his parents), Amazon first started out as a small Seattle-based company called Cadabra Inc. Initially selling just books, the company soon branched out and began selling other items too such as clothes, food, and electronics. Jeff Bezos chose the name Amazon for his brand as he felt that it made his company stand out and seem ‘exotic and different’. He knew that the key to business success over the 1990s was to find products that could be sold online and as such began Amazon with just 20 key products that he felt would be popular when searched for on the internet. Within just 2 months of operating, Amazon was already selling books ad other items all across America and by 1999, had entered the publishing business too.
The 2000s proved to be a key time in the expansion of the business, with Amazon’s famous arrow shaped smile logo created this year. By 2011, Amazon was employing over 30,000 people which then grew to 180,000 over the next five years. By 2015, Amazon had taken over as the most valued retailer in America, knocking Walmart off the top spot. Amazon recently also bought up Whole Foods Market in order to increase their presence as an online grocery retailer as well as other items. It is now thought that Amazon has a total of 5% of all US spending on retail products, and as it continues to expand as a company worldwide, this domination of the marketplace only seems to be growing.
Amazon currently generates over $11 billion a year in revenue and employs more than one million members of staff. They continue to be a leader in innovating the way customers search and shop, and recently launched the Amazon Go store, where customers can purchase items simply by removing from shelves, whilst the hidden cameras and sensors log their items and charge them to customer’s accounts. This aptly named ‘Just Walk Out Technology’ is something that Amazon hopes to continue to invest in and expand in the future.
As the biggest online virtual marketplace in the world, Amazon sells a wide variety of items and services. Amazon Prime has over 100 million members, who enjoy speedy delivery times of just two days guaranteed. Their services and products are currently listed as –
Along with their own products, Amazon of course offer the opportunity for sellers from across the globe to list their own items and sell on Amazon too. Their Seller Central portal allows users to set up their own virtual online shop, where your own Amazon account manager will guide you through the process. There are over 20 different product categories on offer which are open to anyone looking to sell, whilst there are even more options of items to sell once you move up to professional seller status. Amazon endeavour to make selling with them as easy as possible and offer two unique Amazon selling plans. This gives you complete flexibility and allows you to grow your business at the rate that is right for you. Users can decide to either pay Amazon a monthly £25 fee + VAT, or to pay £0.75 commission on every item sold instead. All you need to do to get started is to sign up for your seller account.
When looking to buy on Amazon, you can easily shop by department, which are primarily divided up into –
Amazon is always looking to intuitively make your Amazon shopping experience quicker and easier, and will keep track of your most used departments and keep them at the top of your search list, making it faster for you to find what you need every time you shop. Amazon also use the handy ‘Buy Again’ tab, which keeps track of your most used previous orders so you can quickly replenish items once you run out. Amazon make it easy to keep track of your orders and give regular updates if new items are released or back in stock. You can easily add items to your wish list to save them for later, and the deal of the day options are a great way to save some money and grab a bargain on everything from the latest book and DVD releases, to groceries, home utility items and personal grooming products too.
After confirming their status as the dominating presence in the online marketplace, Amazon has since expanded into other areas of online entertainment. Amazon Music, Prime Video, Audible and Twitch provide various different entertainment experiences for users, from the latest in boxset and blockbuster movies, to the best in audiobooks, podcasts, and video gaming. Amazon have also recently launched their own studio, aptly named Amazon Studios, in order to rival Netflix for original television and film content. Their publishing subsidiary, Amazon publishing, allows users to self-publish eBooks for Kindle, Amazon’s own branch of electronic e-readers. The Amazon family of electronic products also includes tablets and televisions, as well as Amazon Echo and Alexa, their home help device.
As Amazon is primarily an online business, it has a website and app that are both very user friendly. Their app is available to download for both Android and iPhone, and includes separate apps for Amazon shopping, Amazon Prime and Amazon music. Through their app, customers can use all of Amazon’s services 24/7, and can also easily contact their customer services team if there is a problem. The app gives access to all of Amazon’s millions of online products and also notifies you when new products and deals are available to take advantage of. Offering new features, such as using your voice to place and track orders, the app also allows you to scan barcodes and images to create a more effective way to search for items. Whether you are using the desktop website or app, you can always find detailed information about every product, as well as verified reviews from other customers who have already bought and used the item.
Here is a quick step by step guide to help you use your discount and voucher codes for Amazon.
Amazon offers a range of different shipping options. Free delivery is offered on the majority of items, although sometimes there is a spend threshold of either £10, with all orders or over £20 able to qualify for free delivery automatically. Amazon’s free delivery usually sees items delivered within 3-5 working days. Other popular delivery options include –
If you opt for one of these speedier delivery options, be prepared to pay a supplementary fee for the privilege, which is usually somewhere in the region of £5.99.
Amazon’s return policy means you can return items within 30 days of purchase. To return an item, simply following these easy steps –
If you experience an issue with an Amazon seller, Amazon still ensure the returns and refunds process is as easy as possible. There is the option to contact the seller directly in order to try and resolve any issues. As most seller stores run off their reviews and reputation, most will happily refund an item without too much fuss. However, if for some reason you do not hear back from the seller within two business days, Amazon can then escalate your claim further, and in most cases, issue your refund there and then, which will usually reach your account in a few working days.
Being an Amazon Prime member comes with a range of benefits and costs £7.99 per month or £79 for the year. As part of Amazon Prime, you can enjoy unlimited one day delivery all across the UK. There are also options to choose unlimited same day and evening delivery, with upgrades to faster delivery where available. As part of Amazon Prime, users can also take advantage of Amazon Fresh, which is Amazon’s range of grocery products. As with many food deliveries services, Amazon Fresh offers 1 to 2 hour window slots for delivery with a mandatory order cost of at least £15. Amazon Prime users can also use Morrisons on Amazon, where members can purchase a range of frozen food items, household items, dairy, meats and other fresh produce.
Along with having priority delivery options, Amazon Prime members can also enjoy more for their money when it comes to entertainment. Prime Video is a rival to Netflix, offering unlimited streaming of boxsets, TV series and all the latest movie releases. Members can also watch Prime Originals, which are programmes exclusive to Amazon. Additional channels and programmes can be added for a low fee to further customise your viewing experience. Amazon channels also include big-name favourites, such as HBO, Starz and Showtime.
As part of Prime Music, members can use a Spotify style service, listening to all your favourite artists and creating playlists, streaming music as well as downloading music too. With thousands of artists to choose from, you can listen all day without any annoying interruptions from adverts. Prime Gaming means free games each month, as well as free subscription to Twitch, which is part of Amazon’s online gaming streaming platform.
Amazon Prime also includes Prime Reading, where you can borrow various books and magazines to enjoy from their virtual online library. There is also the opportunity to read some books before they are released in bookstores.
Amazon Prime membership can be shared by two adults living in the same household, which makes it a great way to take advantage of these great offers and savings whilst only paying a single subscription fee.
Amazon gift cards are available directly from Amazon, as well as from physical department stores and supermarkets. Retailers where you can find Amazon gift cards include –
Amazon gift cards are available as £5, £10, £20 and £25 and the recipient has a whole 10 years before the gift card expires, making them a great gift for any occasion.
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