Tips for how to buy on Amazon: What to look for, step by step

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — On Amazon, we’ve all done it: looked, clicked, and purchased. The item you required on Thursday then takes two months to arrive. Alternatively, it could be broken and the seller isn’t responding to emails. Or the chemical factory smells like the hot water bottle you bought. The good news is that you probably already have the information you need to prevent these issues on Amazon — you simply need to know what to look for.

Here’s a step-by-step strategy to understanding what Amazon says to you.

What’s your name for it?
To begin, enter the name of the item you wish to purchase. This isn’t always straightforward because you might not know what you’re looking for. Consider full-spectrum light lamps, which can benefit those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when the days become shorter. SAD lamp, winter light, and circadian rhythm setting are some of the titles given to them.

When you type in just a few words, Amazon’s algorithms will try their best to assist you, providing suggestions. It’s always worth checking the list because it frequently provides words you hadn’t considered, which can lead to items that are closer to what you’re looking for. Alternatively, try a variety of sentences to see what comes up.

Amazon’s Top Pick
Following your search, you’ll likely notice many rows of items with a “Amazon’s Choice” tag at the top of the page. According to Chris Perry, vice president of Edge by Ascential, a company that helps brands position themselves within e-commerce, this means that Amazon considers this specific product optimal for that specific search keyword or phrase due to its combination of high reviews and ratings, high sales, and ability to ship immediately primarily via Prime. Because Amazon does not allow products to buy the Amazon’s Choice tag, the tag is solely dependent on the product’s reputation.

The Most Popular Product
These are products that, based on sales, are among Amazon’s most popular in the category you searched. The status is changed every hour.

While there is no way to manipulate this, things that are Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals, or have received press attention or have gone viral as a result of a blog post might become top sellers unexpectedly. “For example, Oprah’s favourite things necessitate meticulous inventory planning,” Danny Silverman of Edge by Ascential explained.

Examine the due date.
Check the delivery date if it’s not prime. It’s easy to imagine everything arriving in two days or less, especially if you use Prime frequently. As a result, the week-long absence is a bit of a shock. To see this, click on the item and look below the price on the right-hand side.

Examine the feedback left by previous customers of the seller.
The next step is to determine whether or not this seller is a good one who provides fair quality and prompt service. Click on the vendor’s name, which is located below the price, to locate the seller rather than the product. “Sold by XXXX,” it should read.

Q&A
If you scroll down the page on many Amazon products, you’ll see a section called Questions & Answers. These are questions that potential buyers have posed to the seller, or to individuals who have purchased the item, and the seller, or people who have purchased the item, has responded to. It’s worth posting a question if you’re worried or confused about something concerning the item and aren’t in a rush. Within a few hours, you should hear back.

Check out the testimonials.
If you really want to know if something is worth buying, nothing beats reading the reviews. Many items have thousands of reviews, but keep in mind that some of those reviews are fakes created by persons who were paid to do so. Here are some pointers:

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  • Use the “Most Recent” search option.

Products can change, and vendors may substitute a similar item for one that is no longer available. You want to hear from folks who just bought it, not people who bought it two years ago.

  • Toggle between the lower and higher ratings by clicking on them.

You’ll find all the 5-star, 4-star, and so on reviews to the left of the reviews. Not just the high ratings, but some of the lower ones as well. This keeps you from viewing solely phoney reviews (not that there aren’t any), and it also allows you to identify what problems are most common. While a reviewer may be a grump who despises everything, if a large number of individuals raise the same issue, you can get a sense of the true concerns.

  • Look for Purchasers Who Have Been Verified.

Amazon keeps track of when a reviewer has purchased a product in order to prevent fraudulent reviews. This isn’t a guarantee, of course. “Many bad vendors now claim that buying things in order to write a review is worthwhile.” So they engage people to create phoney accounts in the United States, buy the goods, and write reviews,” said Jason Goldberg, a digital shopper marketing expert with Publicis Groupe, a French marketing firm.

Look for poor English to be sure it’s a genuine customer — not that everyone is an English major, but something written by a clearly non-native speaker could indicate it came from an offshore review farm.

Subscriptions to be wary of
Customers can subscribe to select products on Amazon, which allows them to set up automatic refills without having to renew, and frequently at a lesser price. If you don’t want more of the item next month or the month after that, don’t click this button. You could be shocked when your second order of Vegan, Gluten-free Aloe-based Liquid Foundation arrives if you aren’t paying attention and click the subscription button believing you’re merely getting it cheaper.

Make sure the shipping address is correct.
Many of us place orders for things to be delivered to friends and family around the world, especially around the holidays. Amazon will use your default address as a starting point, but it will also show you the addresses you’ve used recently. Make sure you don’t give a tricycle to your 90-year-old aunt that was meant for her granddaughter. When you click Continue to Checkout, you’ll be given the option to select a shipping address. Check to see if the item is travelling in the right direction.

Do not use the 1-Click method.

Use the 1-Click button only if you’re positive everything is set up precisely how you want it for this specific item. The extra minute it takes to double-check as you go is well worth it. This option is always located immediately below the yellow Add to Cart button. Though it’s helpful to know that if you appreciate the convenience of 1-Click but don’t want a bunch of separate transactions, Amazon will try to consolidate your 1-Click orders if you place them within 30 minutes of each other, according to Joanne Joliet, a senior retail analyst at Gartner.

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