How to Safely Navigate Amazon

Jun 27, 2019

Upon first glance, Amazon seems to offer it all. But is it too good to be true? While not apparent to the occasional Amazon user, there are many changing facets to the online marketplace that affect pricing, product offerings and reviews. Amazon is a large marketplace with over 5 million sellers, most of which abide by Amazon’s policies, but with a marketplace this large, there are several watch-outs to be aware of. Potoo is here to help you learn the ins and outs of Amazon so you can feel informed while navigating the ever-growing online marketplace.

One of the most important things to realize is that pretty much anyone can sell products on Amazon. This ranges from large brands and manufacturers to a single individual working out of their own home. No matter the size of the seller, they have to option to have their products stored at Amazon’s warehouse or they can handle the storage and fulfillment themselves.

Regardless of where the inventory is stored, Amazon seldom requires sellers to provide proof of purchase. As such, it’s important to pay attention to several details before you make a purchase:

Finding the Right Listing

Amazon has over 560 million items for sale. Ideally there should only be one listing page for any given product on Amazon. Sellers often create duplicate listings to steer consumers away from the primary listing and help drive their individual sales. In most cases, the primary listing will have the following:

  • High quality images
  • Descriptive and uniform bullet points and product descriptions
  • High review count
  • Shipped and Sold by Amazon

Establishing a Credible Seller

Once you’ve identified the primary listing, your next move is to decide which seller to buy the product from. There are three possible seller scenarios, the first being the most trustworthy:

  • Shipped and Sold by Amazon
  • Shipped by Amazon and Sold by Seller
  • Shipped and Sold by Seller

The average Amazon consumer doesn’t take time to pick the seller they purchase from; in fact, many people aren’t aware they even have the option to choose between sellers. When you click “Add to Cart,” you are purchasing the product from the seller who is winning the Buy Box at that moment (Quick Tip: the Buy Box is given to the seller who is in the position to win the sale based on Amazon’s algorithm). This is when it’s important to remember that anyone can sell on Amazon and they don’t have to vouch for where or how their product was sourced. Here are a couple quick tips to follow before checking out:

  • When possible , buy directly from Amazon and look for “Shipped and Sold by Amazon”
  • If Amazon is not selling the product, your next best option is to purchase from a seller that is shipped by Amazon
  • When choosing a seller, look for a minimum seller rating of 95%+

If you’re buying from a seller other than Amazon, be cautious if they are shipping their own orders. It’s common for these types of sellers to operate out of their own homes where storage conditions may be less than ideal. This is a particularly critical point when it comes to purchasing consumable products or products in the health space. If you do purchase consumable products on Amazon, always be sure to check expiration dates and that all seals are intact and have not been tampered with in any way.

Pricing

Lastly, if the price of an item seems too good to be true, it probably is. Name brands items priced drastically lower than normal MSRP may be less likely to be legitimate. Most brands consider anything more than 20% below MSRP to be a price at which a seller would have a tough time making a profit if the product was sourced legitimately.

Amazon is a great resource that provides access to millions of items without ever having to leave your home. With convenience comes the task of shopping responsibly. Most consumers who pay attention to the details will run into little issue when shopping on Amazon.

 

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