The team have a round table discussion about the e-commerce conglomerates Amazon and ASOS. Join Chelsea, Rebecca, Sam and Arran in the latest episode where we share our latest thoughts!
Ecommerce giants: Amazon and ASOS
Podcast Ecommerce giants: Amazon and ASOS
In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Giants Amazon and Asus.
Hi, I’m Chelsea and welcome to so what’s up? We’ve got the team with us today. We’ve got Rebecca, Aaron and Sam. And we’re going to be chatting all things Amazon and a sauce. So guys, have you ordered anything of either of them recently? Def question?
Some have not ordered from Amazon in absolutely ages. Which is surprising me. That is. That’s quite a bit. I’m very surprised.
Yeah, it’s quite a feat. Actually. I think my last Amazon parcel arrived yesterday. But my a sauce next day delivery is expiring this month. So I’ve put myself on an A saucepan, because I want to try and find some, some more sustainable places to shop. But yeah, so Amazon. Erin, we were having this conversation the other day, weren’t we in the studio? And that’s what sparked the idea for this, this podcast about just some grievances really, that we were having with Amazon. So would you like to shed some light on those?
Yeah. So it was basically just sort of we were just discussing how garbage Amazon is and how sort of difficult it is to actually finding things but sort of almost a sort of think it’s by design that is garbage. Okay, I just want you guys sort of opinions on that. I mean, from
a from a strategic point of view, I don’t think anyone would ever go into thinking like, I’m going to make this really clunky, awful design.
No, but I think it’s kind of designed in a way that sort of gets you lost, almost so you don’t you don’t always find what you’re looking for. Almost you end up buying stuff. You don’t need the
Yes, like when you go into the supermarket, and it’s like even now like obviously being gluten free. It’s like, oh, I just need like literally two aisles. But I do not know where those two aisles are. And I have to trade on the entire bloody shop to get there. And then on my way, I’m like, Cool. They’ve got melons on offer I can eat. There’s no gluten in them. So why not chuck them in the basket?
Yep. So yeah, I just I think Amazon is almost designed for people to get lost in. Okay. Whereas a sauce, you know, you compare the two and a sauce is very much about getting you what you want.
Yes, what I did notice about a sauce, actually. And it’s probably one for you, Rebecca, I don’t know how much salmon Aaron will appreciate this button now and one of their own top level categories. They’ve got Top Shop as a category, like Yeah, so I noticed that and obviously, that acquisition was just such big news for people of our generation that we kind of grew up when Top Shop was still kind of like a cool place to go to you. And we kind of miss it a little bit. But obviously, we also a part of like, I guess, the fast fashion movement where it’s like pretty little thing and boohoo and a sauce and get there the next day, which Topshop could never quite compete with.
Yeah, but I think that’s interesting. I had a look on it this morning, they actually ate us now stock so many brands that you can actually buy off, like their own websites. So again, this style and I saw it first they now are stocked on a sauce. Okay? I almost think of a sauce as like the place that I could go and get everything. So you were saying earlier about like sustainability and stuff. But I think sometimes maybe if I go to Asus, I feel better about just ordering one massive parcel that has 10 things and from different brands rather than going to each individual website and then having them all delivered all that packaging all the drivers. So sometimes I think of it like that it’s a one stop shop like Amazon sometimes
that is a good point actually. Because one Amazon parcel that I had yesterday I mean I ordered what did you order insight into my life. I ordered some collagen supplements some MCT oil and a notebook and another book as well like a recipe book type thing. And all of them came in the same box at the same time. And it was quite good because obviously that way then like I only had to get rid of like some packaging and all arrived at the same time. It wasn’t like all throughout the same day and all throughout the day but at different times. So I’d need to like have someone at home for the entirety of the day. But yeah, I think an Asus as well actually on their delivery options. They do have the ability to wait around they’ll give you 20% of your order. And you can wait like two weeks for it to arrive. So I guess from let that sort of point it it does work quite well. But anyway, back to Amazon and amazed that it is I actually I quite like their I quite like the search bar on Amazon. I don’t really I don’t let myself get lost in sight. It’s because I have like a clear thing in my head of what I want to use. But that’s probably just like me as a user in general, like, I’m very like, kind of, this is what I want. This is what I’m going to get.
Yeah. It’s definitely like the search is great on it. And there’s no doubt about that, because you can obviously find what you want is the suggestions. They’re always a bit all over
the place. Yeah, you sent me a picture of yours. And they just were not what I was expecting from you, actually.
Well, yeah, I mean, one of them was a prank, boo.
Yeah, not really new here office pranks. So that one did come as quite a surprise.
A weird recommendation.
What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve ever been recommended?
Oh, my God, that’s putting me on the spot. I must be absolutely honest, I have no idea because I just don’t shop at Amazon that much. I mean, going back to what you said about are, you feel much better when it’s just one parcel now, I think comes in one box is because I just feel so much guilt when like a box comes from Amazon, you’ve ordered, I don’t know, say and notebook, it comes in the biggest box available or the outside box inside bubble wrap on top of the actual packaging for the book itself, and then the actual book, and then that there’s just so much to throw away and I’m just like, this could have been done a lot better.
Yeah, I think it’s going back to that then if still gonna talk about packaging and stuff. I think it’s just weighing it up. So I live in the middle of nowhere, like my closest shop is literally a 12 mile drive away. And being completely honest, it is much less hassle for me to order something off Amazon and have it delivered to my house and for me to get in my car, waste the petrol during a 24 hour round trip to get something very inconsequential, but I still kind of need it. So for me, I probably do use Amazon quite a lot. And I mean, I’ve had this conversation with quite a few people recently, and I’ve even had clients shouting at me, some make me feel a little bit guilty. But that is just, that’s just I guess what I’ve got used to doing and something that I’m going to have to do it a long inward look at myself. Really set myself on the naughty step over by the looks of things.
Don’t start using like electric vans and stuff. So there’s actually a bit of a environmental boost or knock on or whatever you want to say for them delivering it rather than you going all the way to to go and get it yourself.
Maybe so I’ll use that one the next time I guess. Okay, Shasta. So, what’s your most random recommendation, Rebecca?
To be honest, I don’t know. So I use Amazon as like it. a means to an end. If I need something i don’t i don’t browse rows on a test that you could find me browsing for hours.
Oh my god, the basket of yet now where it’s like, we’re only keeping this for an hour. But it’s like, Why?
Why are you doing this?
Spend my morning on this.
There’s a way around that though. If you add it to your wish list. It just keeps on building and building and building. Whereas some wish lists have like, an amount as a sauce. Just keep going. I’ve got hundreds. Okay, that’s great. But yeah, recommended products, I wouldn’t know because I use Amazon as literally, like, I need something I go on no order itself.
I guess that kind of suggests something about the way that we’re all using Amazon because it is so garbagey recommending stuff where it’s a sauce, obviously, you can go on there and browse. Yeah, we’re like, so Amazon, we’re all going on there. And we’re searching for exactly what we want. Because the recommendations are just useless to us.
I think it’s kind of like kind of going back onto this like whole brand thing though. And you kind of like sparks and for me I use it as a means to an end. It’s so functional. But then that is shocking because the juxtaposition of the user experience isn’t kind of functional at all. It’s very and the way that I’m as I’m trying to build that brand and have like, you know, like the logo with like the kind of smiling arrow and like they’re really playing boxes to try and like promote that sustainability feel and even like the storytelling of the ads and stuff that they do at Christmas like and the last one about like the dancer and like trying to drum up that like positive brand sentiment. But then for it kind of brings me to question is it actually possible to create these like positive emotion emotional led decisions for Brandon that is just essentially functional. It’s like Argos now, like It’s kind of a bit outdated, isn’t it, no one really goes on them because they can get their needs met from something else. And Amazon. I don’t feel emotionally attached to it at all. And the same of a sauce as well actually, I don’t really feel like emotionally attached to the brand. And I mean, if like I’d get emotionally attached to like any brand, there’s any way to do so, especially if they’ve got animals and their advertising. But like, I feel much more emotionally attached to like, say, John Lewis, for example, than I would do a sauce because the Christmas adverts that they do, and like, like the penguin, and then there was the one that they did with like the old person as well. And because like they actually, like, evoke some sort of emotion from you. I feel like Amazon’s trying to go down the John Lewis route with like, some of the adverts and stuff that they’re doing. But and also like the physical touch points as well with like, the sounds and stuff now that they’re like bringing up in London or some of like the physical bookstores and stuff that they’re doing, they’re trying to like hark back now to the heritage roots because they started selling boxes, like a bookshop and stuff like that. And I don’t know, but I just don’t, I don’t feel that thing for them. And it’s like, they’re going through all of like the strategic motions, and someone’s got this like, Brand Manager checklist of like, these are all the things you should do to evoke great sentiment and saliency for your brand. But I don’t feel it. Yeah,
I think it’s just because they’re so efficient is almost so robotic, like, there’s not really many, if any places you can order something at like seven o’clock at night, and it’ll get there the next morning.
It’s not even the next morning. Now sometimes like this is amazing for me, because like I said, I’m in the middle of nowhere, like 10 o’clock, I ordered something by then it was there by seven o’clock the same day in the evening. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I had a return. From there. I had a gaming headset, and one of the ear cups failed. And it’s on to the community. Sorry, not the community, the customer service, but that that evening, like sort of 10 o’clock at night, the headset, they sent a new one out next day, nine o’clock in the morning. Yeah, it was there, like, instantly.
Yeah. And it’s just things like, for example, like this parcel that I was like waiting to be delivered. They didn’t arrive. So they gave me a refund. And then like a few hours later, it arrived. And I was like, Gee, do you want it back? Now? Do you want me to pay again? And they were just like, No, it’s okay. Keep it because like, it costs them more to send the van back out to pick something up, or it will cost them more and admin time for me to then have to like repay again. And they were just like, No, just keep it. And it was it wasn’t a high ticket item. To be fair, I think it was probably like kind of a book or something. It’s just, I don’t know, the business model stresses me out a little bit. I felt I felt like I cheated them. Like you wouldn’t walk into a shop and like just walk out without paying. But that’s what I felt like I’d done.
Yeah. But they can afford it. I mean, it’s yeah, like you said, it’s easier for them to keep it. Yeah,
just forget about it. Sunday is Sunday, and Jeff Bezos set himself into space anyway. Yeah.
Okay. But yeah, I think comparing the two of them that when like, I guess how they’ve evolved, just to be like the massive conglomerates they are, tax obviously played a massive role in like the advancement of both businesses like a sauce, as seen on screen. Like, that’s why it’s there. Amazon has always been like an E commerce like led business. It’s kind of difficult to see where they’ll go next. Now, like, but we’ve all we don’t even know what the the advancements are going to be like, do we in the next five years? If we’re thinking about it, like, what, how can they keep evolving?
So I’ve actually discovered some stuff on Amazon that is a bit hidden away. I don’t think any very many people realise that it’s there. There’s like a discover section. And you can sort of stylize a room and sort of your basic gives you a picture of like your bedroom or your lounge or whatever. And you can see furniture and accessories and everything. sort of build your room using it. Alright, so this is one feature, but it’s so hidden away
like an actual Sims. Yeah. Yeah. So
in which, you know, it’s a cool concept. But again, yeah, so buried away behind the UI. I don’t really notice that I could find it. And then also got another section as well, where you can sort of upvote and downvote like recommendations to try and sort of streamline Okay, when Netflix
where you can do the thumbs up or the thumbs down. It’s like, oh, no, I didn’t want to see things like
I tried it. And I was at it for a good half an hour the other day. Right. The problem is third party sellers ruin it. Because what happens is you end up with like a list because what every time you click down on something, you replace it with another item. Right? So what happened as I was using it and sort of filtering out each one, it would start recommending duplicates of the same item from other sellers. So you’d end up with like, like each section, it’s got like 10 items in it. And yeah, eventually, I sort of got to the point where all 10 items are the semi item. Yeah. And but I couldn’t I didn’t want to upvote or downvote. Anything because I like the item. Yeah, I want it to be the same, obviously. So
yeah, no, I know what you mean. I think that’s a good thing, actually, when you’re talking about like, third party sellers from Amazon, because like I am, quite cheekily, always go on Wayfair. And like, have a look for like, kind of furniture, inspiration and stuff. And I’m doing things on my house, but I’m making note of who the suppliers are. And then I go onto Amazon, and guaranteed that if I’d have gone through Wayfair, it would have taken absolutely weeks and there would have been loads of people, there would have been like a massive price increase as well. Because obviously we fare has that kind of like brand where you would pay a little bit more for it. But I know that the suppliers are also listed on Amazon as well. So I literally type in exactly what I want that I found on Wayfair. Go on Amazon, I can probably get it good for you weeks quicker. And it’s always at least 20% cheaper. I did
that from paddleboard research and research, blogs, everything, all these different sites. And then I found the brand and went onto Amazon. It was the cheapest one it was it. I think we got it in two days. Yeah. And it was just so much easier. Yeah,
it’s just because supply chain, and I guess like the way that they can source all of these things, because they are so big. It just gets you what you want so much quicker, and cheaper. And also as well, you kind of have that thing like this, there is a bit of a safety feeling. Actually, if you do buy something from Amazon, it’s not quite right. Their customer services are good enough that they will actually sort it as well. Yeah, because
the returns are just so easy. Yeah. I mean, they’ve got they’ve got return stations all over the place as well. So he’s literally a five minute triple road rather than have to go into the nearest city or something.
Yeah. But now I think it’s like a sauce. Actually, I’m comparing their return versus to ace us. How much was I ranting about this last? Basically, every time I’ve tried to return something from a sauce, which to be fair actually never really happens. But that probably plays into my whole like, I hate returning things now for weight loss and bought a place suit. It was basically see through and obviously I’m not keeping that. So actually bought the place for work. So yeah, not a great look. And yeah, I wanted to return it. And every time I log on to return something from a sauce. It’s just a different process every single time. There’s no consistency, and it really stresses me out because then it’s like, okay, well what do I need to do now? I feel
there’s so many options as well and ways of returning that you don’t know which one to pick. Yeah, there’s just so many ways Amazon it’s,
yeah, pretty much I look at it. For Yeah, I think it’s just the whole thing of a sauce return process. And one thing that I have, I read an article recently about people that are kind of like serial returners that like kind of wear things for like the gramme or like party or something. And then they keep the tags like have obviously like kind of headed, and then they’ll return it and get the money back. And obviously there’s so many problems with that in terms of just like, to me that’s a moral like, you wouldn’t do it in a normal shop, like consistently keep going and taking things back. And then then there’s the side of like, the whole you just put in lorries on the road now for the sake of putting lorries on the road so that you can have a new outfit for Instagram. But a sauce on now cracking down on repeat return. blacklisting. Yeah, so the not letting them like, obviously, I don’t know how effectively this is policed. Or if it’s like, we’re just not gonna like this email address. And we all know it’s really easy to just like get off your email address, or if it’s a little bit more like, we’re going to block that bank card now or that account, or that address like I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but it is something that they’re starting to clamp down on because of how much people are just like really taking the piss. And it’s not great because if we’ve got all that they’re obviously trying to be sustainable and offer all these options and they are starting to promote now like sustainable based clothing and make it easier for you to shop sustainable brands as well and like educate people on how clothes and like the supply chain have actually bought these material items into effect. And then if you’ve got people that are just like taking the absolute max, and then like kind of just wearing clothes and like just not paying for them, and then you’ve kind of got the implicit of like, kind of the implicit kind of immorality around. They’re getting all of that social value from wearing these clothes and these outfits and I guess like the, the portrayal of this certain lifestyle and then like completely not paying for it or like the clothes and they’re just like returning them back. But they’ve already got like that benefit or like that perceived benefit from them. It’s just murky waters. I could talk about this all day. But yeah, I just think it’s, it’s just really difficult. So maybe that’s why they’re making it so difficult to return things.
To just put you off completely. Yeah, for sure. I know I said earlier about, like, doing all my orders in one go and ordering from them. But I’m not ordering from what every week. Maybe like, once every two months. Yeah. Because I don’t like I don’t like ordering stuff, like you said before, just online as and when I need it because I do feel guilty about like this sort of wasted. So I tend to like make a list and that once I feel like the list is enough to warrant that order. Then I make an order. And I think my Okay, and now I need six things or Yeah, rather than just needing something and going I want it now.
Yeah, so Amazon’s is 20 credit for free delivery of it. I think it’s like a five and for like standard delivery. So on their site that so the other week I needed to order like a phone holder for your car because I was driving for a long time. So yeah, that was needed. But it was only about 1212 credits. And I was looking at the checkout this. Okay, I can get free delivery, if I spend 20 quid or I can pay five pounds now. Yeah, I’m saying, in theory, I’m saving three quid or however much. You know, it’s, it’s just, I’m just lying. But I just feel like I’m being mugged off. And I just feel like, I just feel like, what else might I need before I start checking out?
So what else could I need to add? often than you think? Right? It’s 21 pounds, but I can get free delivery now. But you’ve spent
well that’s the thing with like, so a sauce next day delivery, for example, is 10 quid for the year. Whereas if I go on like kinda like French connection or like Tommy Hilfiger, or wherever is like that I buy clothes from, it’s like, have to spend 50 pounds for free. Whereas I could buy your brand threeway sauce probably pick up a pair of like, cheap jeans as well from them. Because like, we all know, the lifespan of jeans now is just not great. Yeah. Literally two months, and you need a new pet. And it’s just yeah, it’s just not great, really, in terms of like that. That does draw me to a sauces a place because it’s like what you said it’s just a one stop shop. And then yeah, Amazon, I think when you have prime, you abuse it a little bit.
Yeah, I’ve definitely ordered like a couple of quids worth of stuff like repeatedly.
Yeah. No, it’s, it’s not great to now Like, Subscribe and Save. So like I get my vitamins from Amazon. Because like, I let you save money by subscribing. And you can choose choose, like the frequency of when you want them and stuff. So like, I get like my collagen supplement delivered to me, like every single month. And I save like, I think it’s like a quid or something. No, it’s like, 10% you save on it. So yeah, a quid in this sense. But like you save 10% And if you just get it deliverance delivered on like, the exact same day of every month, like I call it like 17 or whatever. And it’s great because I know that like out of that I get 30 scoops, and you can you know, like kind of set it up in the way that you want it to do and it just like proper streams. I’m like in July, it’s just so much easier. Yeah. But yeah, I think back to the original point in terms of like Amazon having a garbage site.
Well, I said garbage just baby that stroke but the UI is definitely designed in a way that is designed to get the user lost and present them things that they don’t necessarily need whereas other sites are a bit more laser focused on giving you stuff that you might want
Yeah, I think it was right to compare boo farmers and an A sauce because a sauces is very good at kind of like presenting you with a load of options but in a way that you want. And then filtration category is probably one of the best that I’ve seen on any kind of site in terms of like you can I think it is just kind of basic hygiene as well. They set the standard that every clothing store should really follow because it makes it super easy. Yeah. And it’s just things like you don’t get shown now when something in your sizes like out of stock, because there’s nothing worse than seeing something and then it’s not in stock in your size.
Although one thing that we’re really doesn’t know anything about Asus filter and its sizes because they have so many different brands, some brands might size by, like you sizes, yes, small, medium, medium, large, just small, just medium. And I’m going through and I’m thinking I’ve got a quick one too. And I ended up clicking around 10 options because I think I fall into so many categories. Yeah. So I think what would help is if d maybe converted them into yam Do you
think maybe they’re gonna start going the way of Amazon third party sellers and have that problem where
they are, aren’t they because they’ve got their own marketplace now
because Amazon used to be like, really spot on with all that way back when before they started doing third party sellers. And I think it’s only since they’ve started selling other brands and the like, sorry, not other brands but other people’s stuff through the third party sellers it’s all started to fall apart a bit. And I think maybe a sauce needs to be a bit wary of that because they are because they are starting to offer other brands that does make it tricky.
I think it’s all about how they’re going to police out there now isn’t it so it’s like for example, some of the like FBA dropshipping type things that they do now on Amazon and it’s like people buy them from Amazon literally then put them back through there shut up and then like put a mark upon them. And it’s just like completely ridiculous in terms of like is essentially like his own fingers in it but like for just like really random supplies. I think the one that got me the most was back in back in lockdown like the very first way you know, when everyone was like baking down mock banana down v1 And then when like the banana bread obsession was a thing. I remember watching this tick tock video of this guy that basically it made like over 100,000 pounds on Amazon drop shipping because what he did was he bought big packs of yeast from this site Shut up got the shop because of like, like food standards and stuff to be like the shop was a bakery so it was about buying it direct from the bakery wholesaler type person got the bakery to then put them into smaller bags. And then he really sold the smaller bags as such a high markup to people that were like home baking now and couldn’t get these things that they needed through Amazon and then got the bakery so the original shop to actually complete all of like the order fulfilment and stuff and he just made a absolute mark upon like everything that he did, like over 100 K’s worth and like it was legit because he literally showed like him in the bakery like the email chain of like talking back to them. And like it’s great because obviously this guy had like had an idea and his barrier barrier to entry was like absolutely zilch. It just cost him the initial investment of these big bags. And it just amazed me that like that was able to happen through Amazon as a platform like kind of kind of annoyed me so it was life I want to make what do people want? Yeah, you can’t blame the guy can blame the guy but like um isn’t facilitated he they made that guy very great. Well, not very
well, but mogul standards, maybe? Yeah,
very much considered very rich.
But yeah, just I don’t know. It’s like the whole third party thing. I’m all for people making a bit of coins. So yeah, go for it. But it’s like that bakery must have well they obviously were complicit in actually so I can’t really say anything. Amazon just just how but yeah, I think Asus and their marketplace. I don’t know I don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t really use it I just use anomaly sauce I
don’t think I’ve ever used the marketplace. Didn’t even know was a thing to be honest.
Same I don’t really know I don’t get what the value proposition is like I and to me it’s like well, it’s like Facebook now has a marketplace. Everyone has a marketplace.
Oh, is it so for reselling on?
Yeah, essentially, I think it’s just like a platform for smaller businesses or something or like you know, like there’s people that go like hunting and charity shops and then like, I don’t know, fill out the Depop platforms or something and
resell at like
900 small businesses including independent brands and vintage boutique 50 countries. So
yeah, I don’t know. I guess it’s just using their distribution platform maybe or network but it’s like, everyone has one of these now. It’s like Do we need one? Shall we set up the so on?
I don’t know what the returns policy like is the return. Does the return policy cover that?
Or I don’t think it would I think it’d be individually. Seller wouldn’t really, if they’d be willing to accept returns or refunds because I know that in a lot of places like they’re not like when you’re on Depop, and stuff is like all refunds not accepted.
Yeah. Well, yeah. The advantage of Amazon Marketplace and all the things like that is obviously covered by Amazon’s easy returns.
Yeah, you can get a full refund within 14 days.
That’s not too bad then I guess that’s like one way of working it maybe that’s the advantage of it. Maybe like already in there, like cap to higher standards than or something?
Yeah. Obviously, like Facebook marketplaces is a bit Buyer beware. Yeah. What you get if it’s
Facebook marketplace, got its own podcast.
One thing over there, and I was really worried about it. And it was pushbikes.
Yeah. Selling on Facebook marketplace has its difficulties. Like when we were selling some stuff from the office and demos like absolute roulette like, well, this, it was absolutely joking. Probably not. Well, like the haggling attempts and stuff that you get on there as well, which I guess like, if you are a small business, and you do want to sell for these platforms, you don’t have random people pestering you like I’ll give you a Mars bar and partnerships for
a live in Cornwall, will you deliver?
But yeah, I think just as two sides so like, they really have done a lot of paving the way forward for E commerce and driving that innovation and just setting the standards really for people who also have similar business models in the sense that they want to deliver things in a certain way. But the barrier to entry for a lot of them. Because a lot of small businesses like some of our clients, for example, they can’t compete and now there’s this like need for instant gratification and people aren’t willing to wait live free days for delivery.
It does help being a multi billion Corporation. Yeah, it does.
I can imagine that slightly. It was slightly a leg up. But obviously, then it’s kind of for some of our clients for example, it’s like well, do we do a proliferation shops through Amazon in light sell with them? And then it’s questions around that and there’s just so many different options now they live for different marketplaces and just different places to actually have your site that yeah, is is a question I don’t know the answer to unfortunately, I do think there’s one answer for every single business is something that we need to do on a case by case basis really. But yeah, if you have any questions around them ecommerce strategies, or you want to chat to us about Amazon or a sauce, just feel free to get in touch and one of us will happily have a chat with you