Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yo, Bezos!!! Fix your website!

Jeff:

I know you like playing with futuristic toys and all, but don't forget about the source of your wealth. Being a billionaire, you naturally don't spend much time shopping on Amazon, and so you don't know about the issues that ordinary users encounter. You must rely on reports from your QA people, who apparently tell you what you want to hear, and as a result problems that need fixing can go unfixed for years. An example is editing the customer's browsing history. Did you know that only one item at a time can be deleted from the browsing history? Every other site on the planet offers check boxes and the option to delete all selected items. If I want to delete several items near the bottom of a page, I can delete only one at a time, and after each item is deleted I am returned to the top of that page and have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to delete the next item, and so on. You try doing that with a dozen items without rolling your eyes! And if I don't want to go through the hassle of cleaning up my browsing history, my front page is filled with promoted items that I'm not interested in. When was the last time you edited your browsing history without administrator status? When was the last time you shopped for something on #Amazon as an ordinary customer with a different name and an ordinary account, just to see what the experience is like for the ordinary user? My guess is that it's been a while.

Here's another issue, if you're interested. When I go to the Men's Shop and click on, say, Shirts/Polos, and then sort by Price: Low to High, why does the category sometimes include women's underwear and kids' T-shirts? In Men's Polo Shirts? It changes all the time, of course. Currently, the category Men/Shirts/Polos sorted Low-to-High includes among the polo shirts an earmuff, a glitter sports headband, a Team USA pin, a short-sleeve hoodie, a pinstripe waist apron, polo stickers, tank tops, muscle shirts, boys' polo shirts, baseball caps, sweat pants, a bucket hat, breath-mints, a juniors' pullover top, a bib apron, a 3-pack of briefs, a flannel shirt, a women's vest apron, crew socks, and cycling masks. There must not be much oversight of retailers to ensure that they categorize their merchandise appropriately. Your results may vary. Similarly, clicking on Men/Pants/Casual/Low-to-High includes velcro cycling trouser protectors, suspenders, a Top Gun patch, a defrost timer, baseball caps, socks, women's underwear, men's garden clogs, cycling masks, a knit cap with pom, a wrist restraint, a girls' sweatshirt, a bucket hat, and a necktie, along with numerous shorts and dress slacks, which have their own categories and shouldn't be included here. Dress Shirts goes a little farther afield with baby girls' leg warmers, bead necklaces, iron-on appliques, fishing hooks, yoga socks, a beanie visor, women's mini-dresses, a body-shaper tank top, hip-hop baseball caps, mesh shorts, and a leather travel pouch. It's humorous now to see the anachronisms, but when I'm shopping for something specific, it's annoying to have to scroll through unrelated items. I understand that there may be thousands of retailers and millions of products on #Amazon, but there could be more control over where items end up in the databases than is apparent now.

From my point of view, it seems that the software running the site is creaking with age. I don't remember seeing many changes to the basic product page layout over the last several years. It's great that you've developed, among other products, the #Amazon #Echo and are "just getting started" on developing more products. But in view of that and your involvement in the Washington Post, Blue Origin and the Bilderberg Group, perhaps it's time to sell Amazon to someone who will focus on the individual user's experience.

1 comment:

John Garvey said...

Addendum: It occurred to me only several months ago that I shouldn't shop exclusively on Amazon. Over the years, when I was looking for something I'd start my search at Amazon and usually end it there by buying my item from the wide array of search results. I'd only do a brick-and-mortar as a last resort. "The convenience" I said. But since it seems that no matter how cool and green an online startup is their success usually makes them go the way of all Walmarts, I've begun to think that spreading the wealth around would be good. Once-cool websites, like Google, become old-school behemoths that, literally, want to rule the world. Recently I was in the market for a digitizer tablet and I thought "Why should I buy it through Amazon? They're not hurting for money." So I bought it elsewhere and Amazon was out a few hundred dollars. Just a fraction of a drop in their sea of revenue, of course, but if enough people decided to spread the wealth around, it would get their attention.