Amazon is a behemoth of our times; they are one of the biggest companies in the world and have grown to be so large that they are difficult to avoid using for online purchases or so it seems.
One of the ways Amazon is able to offer such a huge variety of products is that it invites smaller online retailers to list their own products for sale on Amazon’s website – that way the seller gets its products in front of a bigger audience, but crucially for Amazon they take their cut of any sales revenue from that retailer’s Amazon sales.
One-way Amazon does make things a little better for the consumer is to allow (or force, whichever way you want to look at it) retailers to compete for the lowest price on an individual product. So, say you were a shop listing a popular well-known product on Amazon for £100, then when retailer B (with a relatively similar Amazon star rating) lists the same product for sale on Amazon at £99, then that retailer “gets the button” on that product. What that means is that when the customer clicks the buy button on Amazon, the sale is now given to the cheaper retailer, and Amazon still gets their cut.
Obviously, companies want to make sales and Amazon is only too willing to make things competitive and allow companies race their prices as low as they can in order to secure that all important buy button.
So how can this work for the consumer wanting to avoid Amazon?
Step-by-step on how you get cheap Amazon deals without using Amazon
It is relatively simple and it’s important to understand that this won’t always work (I will explain at the bottom of this article why), however it is definitely worth a try if you really want to avoid using Amazon, yet want to keep getting those deals and support smaller businesses. Win-win all around!
Step 1 – Find the product you want to buy
When you see the product that you like on Amazon you should see somewhere within the page a reference to the item’s seller. This can appear in a number of places on the Amazon page, so look out for:
A link just underneath the product title that will say:
by: shop name
Visit shopname store (which will take you to that store’s seller page on Amazon)
A link in the box on the right where the Add to Basket button is.
It will say something like:
Sold by: shop name
If that “shop name” is anything other than Amazon, then you can click this link and it will take you to that retailer’s amazon page to give you more information or a list of products sold on Amazon by that retailer.
Step 2 – Find the retailer’s own website
Use your favourite search engine to look up that retailer’s website.
If they have an online store then search their site for the product of theirs you found on Amazon. If the price is the same as what you saw on Amazon, you’re in luck. Happy buying! You can buy from the retailer directly and feel good about yourself for supporting a smaller business.
If not, move to step 3.
Step 3 – Get in touch
If that website has a number to call, then call them up and ask them about the product you saw on Amazon and their website. Tell them you would like to buy it, but at the price you saw on Amazon. This answer is up to them. They are not obliged to sell you anything at any price, so be nice. Sugar is sweeter than salt, but if they’re offering at a low price on Amazon they they’re usually happier to sell to a customer directly where they don’t have to give Amazon their cut and you don’t have to give Amazon your money or your personal details either.
This is not a guaranteed method, but ultimately if the store is making money by selling on Amazon, then they might be happy to offer you the item at the same price.
As I say, retailers are not obliged to sell a customer anything at any price, so be nice and work that charm, there are reasons that retailers sell cheaply elsewhere but not on their site so bear this in mind. Retailers may be selling more cheaply off their own site for several reasons – stock clearance, trying to quickly gain or recover an Amazon reputation score, increasing end-of-year turnover for certain sales channels etc etc so the phone method might not work 100% of the time. Amazon also give the option to retailers to send their stock to Amazon to be held at and shipped from Amazon warehouses so it is always possible that the retailer might not physically have the cheaper stock at their location at the lower price also.
If you love Amazon and their service, I’m not here to bash on you or stop you using them, but there are alternatives, and as a consumer you’re better armed by being aware of them. Amazon haven’t built up the reputation they have by being slouches – they’re a great company so this article certainly isn’t aimed at bashing them either.
All in all a savvy shopper is one who can consider all options and get the best deal that works for them.