What are other people saying about this issue?

When typing the word “Amazon” into Google the first thing that comes up is the Online Shopping Platform that I have been discussing in my previous posts. To get the actual definition of what Amazon is I had to add the word “Definition” itself to my search. (To those who don’t know Amazon is “a member of a legendary race of female warriors believed by the ancient Greeks to exist in Scythia (near the Black Sea in modern Russia) or elsewhere on the edge of the known world”). But why am I even mentioning this? I want you to realize how huge of a company they are that they even taken over the original meaning of a word!

Since Amazon reaches so many customers of different ages and characteristics, their actions influence lives of millions of people. That’s why it seems more than appropriate for me to show what these people are saying about Amazon’s unethical behavior…

Image result for amazon strikes

As ProPublica (an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest) reported: “Amazon’s strategy hurt shoppers, many of whom end up paying extra at checkout, and ran counter to its professed philosophy of putting customers first”. ProPublica asserts that under Amazon’s ranking systems, shoppers who are not Prime members can end up paying more for products if the fail to scroll more deeply into results. After reading the indepth report that ProPublica created, I do truly believe that they are right about Amazon mistreating their customers.

Third-party sellers trying to make it on the Amazon Marketplace have two things much more important than their prices to worry about:
-Winning the Buy Box
-Following Amazon’s strict seller rules.
“The Buy Box, if you don’t already know, is the section on a product page where potential customers find the “Add to Cart” button that begins the process of buying. Many sellers on Amazon offer the same items, but Amazon awards only one seller the precious position of being in the Buy Box at any given time”. Sellers who don’t win the buy box are placed on a page called “More Buying Choices,” on a list that Amazon describes as ranked by price plus shipping. “However, since Amazon doesn’t include the cost of shipping for itself and its fulfillment partners, the rankings on that page can be misleading”.

As Kate Erkavun (one of the small business third- party sellers on Amazon) says: “”If you don’t win the buy box, your chance of selling is low- Amazon is not really fair in terms of competition”.

As you can imagine, majority of Amazon customers never even click on the More Buying Choices page where third-party sellers like Kate Erkavun have their products. “Among the countless consultants and conferences devoted to winning the buy box, it’s well known that Amazon’s algorithm gives an advantage to itself, and to sellers who pay to join the Fulfilled by Amazon program”.

I also decided to see how people who work for Amazon really feel. As Susan Adams (Forbes reporter) writes, majority of Amazon’s workers give their company only one out of five stars! (Again, I am talking mostly about the warehouses workers- not the ones who work in the offices).

Now that you know what media, retailers and workers say about Amazon, are you still willing to support them as a company? Is this going to change your view on them? Do you think their actions are unethical- or are they just trying to simply gain profits (like any other company…)? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks!

Sources:

Amazon Faces Questions Over How It Lists Prices
http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2015/08/18/how-people-who-work-for-amazon-really-feel/#3c21cd715c7a

Sales & Pricing Psychology for Maximizing Profits on Amazon

http://business-ethics.com/2016/09/20/12675-amazon-says-it-puts-customers-first-but-its-pricing-algorithm-doesnt/

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7 thoughts on “What are other people saying about this issue?

  1. It’s amazing that the company has expanded so much that it pops up before the actual definition online! I think Amazon is being tough on their sellers in order to try and earn more money from them, they could work with certain companies in their Fulfilled by Amazon program in order to make more profits, which doesn’t seem right to me, when smaller businesses are trying to make profit through Amazon. I have personally found myself, that Amazon doe not list products with the shipping cost included in the price and that I dig further to find cheaper products. I also am curious to learn more about their strict seller rules and how that could affect their profits.

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    • Thannk you for your comment! And I agree- they are a worldwide phenomena if they managed to basically take over google search. And I agree with you- smaller sellers should not be put in the ‘bottom’ because they simply cannot compete with huge corporations. Maybe Amazon could come up with a search option like ‘small businesses’ or something like that to help and support them. After all- they claim to be supportive of their customers and businesses that cooperate with them.
      Thanks and stay tuned for another post!

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  2. I’ve never previously considered the third-party sellers! That was very interesting to read. I wonder if Amazon uses their size and power to control these sellers. I feel as though sellers would tolerate strict rules to get their product onto the Amazon market (because lets face it– they get a lot of consumer traffic). That does not necessarily make the treatment ethical though…

    Strike three! Customers, workers, and sellers. It appears Amazon does not operate on an ethical foundation.

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    • Agreed! Sellers are not something us customers often think about. And as much as Amazon seems like a great platform to sell their products, it seems to me that there might be unequal treatment between big sellers and small business owners. I think all of them should have an equal opportunity to get their products out into the world.
      Thanks for the comment!

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  3. Are their actions unethical? If they were to find a way to shake the “lowest listings at the top” frame of mind from their company, then I would not consider it unethical. However, the company is known for listing the lowest prices at the top, therefore, I see it as unethically taking advantage of their customers. I would like to mention that I view this as a “minor” unethical action as opposed to say the controversy currently surrounding Wells Fargo. However, I believe it is still important for the public to know both the major and the minor unethical actions taken by companies.

    Although I really don’t use Amazon a lot, I will continue to use it because they tend to still be cheaper than other websites and stores. However, thanks to the research and information you have provided, I will be sure to look throughout the listings to make sure I am getting the best deal.

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  4. I disagree with idea of what they are doing is immoral. I’ve used Amazon before to buy Christmas gifts for my family, and as much as I wasn’t initially aware of the price when first looking at the seller, I found out what I’m paying in shipping before my purchase becomes final. Part of the reason they don’t list the shipping price is that price can vary based on what customer you are. Prime Customers get free shipping, while other customers could pay more in shipping if they want it rushed, and could pay no shipping if they purchase enough of a certain product. Its a variable number, which would be unfair to place that price on the initial page because that is not necessarily accurate based on the goals of the consumer.

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    • Interesting point! I wish you had shared your comments while I was still working on this Case Study so I could maybe discuss these aspects in my posts. I see how customers might have to do some research on what they are buying but ‘buying good reviews’ and falsely rating a product higher than another one just because they get profit off of it is unethical to me. When I’m reading reviews I’m hoping to get a truthful opinion not one that was paid for. But thanks for sharing!

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