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Back when I was doing a half dozen ecommerce sites a month, the question that often came up was, "what does Amazon do?" I found myself constantly reminding people that while we could look to Amazon for guidance on what probably works well, they have by no means solved every UI problem. There’s always room for improvement and simply copying Amazon on everything wouldn’t result in the best possible site.

Today I noticed an example of an area where Amazon could improve. Amazon’s free Super Saver shipping and Amazon Prime are two ways customers can save on shipping costs. But when looking at items in some departments—Home and Garden for instance—not all products are shipped by Amazon and thus aren’t available for Prime or Super Saver. You have no way of knowing if the product’s available for cheap shipping until you open the product detail page.

To find the one product among dozens of similar ones that has free shipping, I have to go through the list, clicking on each product, going back, and repeating the process. An indicator in the search results that showed me which items qualified for Prime and Super Saver would be very helpful.

Marie
November 25, 2006 1:40 PM

For the very reason you cite, I rarely buy anything off of Amazon if it isn't sold and shipped by Amazon. Mostly it's because of the free shipping. I've often wondered if anyone else feels the same way I do. A lot of these companies that sell on Amazon are actually in competition with Amazon. Could it be, instead of a UI problem, it's designed that way so that Amazon is actually giving their competition some special consideration by not showing which items qualify for free or prime shipping. That is, a customer like me, faced with a search results list would probably never click a result that indicated there would be a shipping charge. I hope this makes some sense.

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