18 Jul 2013

A trip up the Amazon and beyond

Amazon is a massive merchant in its own right, piled high with sought-after products. But it also acts as a shop window for many smaller traders; providing a place where they can display their goods to Amazon’s huge audience, and make secure transactions.

So if you wanted to avoid the giant sales machine of Amazon and make sure your money goes direct to the small businesses instead, how do you proceed?

Take a search for “bunting”, for example. The second result in the list (as seen on my screen) is a link to Amazon’s own Truly Scrumptious Charming Chintz version.

But click under “more buying choices” and you’re taken to a list of different vendors.

Beneath Amazon is an offer from Party Parade. Click on that logo and you’re taken to what Amazon calls the storefront for the vendor – listing all the products they’re selling through Amazon. Scroll right to the bottom of the storefront and there’s a discreet link to Party Parade’s company details.

Click that and, again at the bottom of the page, there is a phone number for the company.

Also lurking in the Frequently Asked Questions section is an email address from which you can deduce the company’s own web address, so you can visit it and buy direct.

But before you feel the warm glow of satisfaction, there may be a reason the company wants to use Amazon. As one of the longest-running web companies its reputation is watertight, so a vendor may choose to trade through Amazon to capitalise on that trust level, and take advantage of its massive user base.

One more thing – that truly scrumptious bunting is £4.10 on Amazon. On Party Parade’s own site it’s £5.99. So sometimes it doesn’t pay to shop around.

Or is that the price of directly supporting a company that probably isn’t headquartered in Luxembourg for tax reduction purposes?

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4 reader comments

  1. cliff says:

    You hit the nail on the head with that last comment. Its easy for amazon to offer great deals, when they aren’t bothering to pay the 20% corporation tax the rest of us have to cough up…

  2. J Chandler says:

    I agree with Cliff, and what are Amazon REALLY doing for small businesses!!

  3. Rob says:

    no company will pay tax unless they have to
    look at the Banks
    look at how G4S and serco are accussed of overcharging by 50m
    Business are not social workers companies maximise profit

  4. kanga says:

    As a publisher we used to do reprints which gave us profits – but since Amazon endlessly recirculate our first print run, there is no need to do a reprint of a book – it’s always available on Amazon at a knock-down price.

    Who benefits? Not the author, not the editor and not the publisher who may have spent years working on the book and taking the risk of investing in it.

    Amazon gets a slice of the money paid but pays no tax, short-changing the economy. The consumer benefits too – but only in the short -term because once all the small publishers go out of business, they won’t be able to publish any new writers so the choice of books on offer gets smaller.

    What about e-books? Most of what you can download for free isn’t worth the time to read it. Junk in, junk out.

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