Amazon UnPrimed

Bloomberg noticed that Amazon’s retail growth is slowing, especially as brick-and-mortar merchants have stepped up their digital game. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged that in his latest shareholder letter. “It’s hard to explain the slowdown in Amazon’s merchandise sales growth,” Bloomberg wondered in their story. I don’t know about the larger macro reasons, but I have my story to share.

I have been a life long Prime customer, and am definitely happy to pay for the premium of getting whatever I want within 48 hour time frame. Prime Now is great. However, lately, I have started to order less and less from Amazon. Just as I have shifted most of my search away from Google, I am not sure I want Amazon to have complete control over my shopping habits. So instead, I am being more unfaithful to Bezos’ bodega.

Additionally, Amazon has lost its core value proposition — it is no longer the cheapest location to buy things on the Internet. It might be the Everything Store, but that comes at a price.

Take for example, this Sunday. I ran out of my notepads, and decided to order some from Amazon. A single Rhodia notepad cost just over $14. That didn’t sound right — so I went over to JetPens, a small mom-and-pop online stationery store and found the same item for $8.59. No brainer — ordered a dozen, got free shipping. That money previously would have gone to Amazon.

I have started ordering less from them, for yet another reason — when you accidentally order a book that cost $11, when you wanted a Kindle version, and Amazon wants $5.99 for shipping it back, you start to realize that Amazon isn’t the best place to shop and has lost some of its early customer focus.

PS: It would be fun for some large well-resourced media organization (take a hint The New York Times) to conduct a price comparison of all items on various big online commerce sites. It could actually be branded the WireCutter Survey of best places to buy. By the way, have you noticed how much shopping comparison websites suck?

A letter from Om

Sign up & get it delivered to your inbox