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Everything You Need to Know about Shopping on Amazon

Updated on February 23, 2011

Introduction

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the United States, by far. It has 3 times the internet sales as the runner up, Staples. If you're new to shopping online, you can learn everything you need to know about Amazon.com right here.

First an foremost, I've always bought everything from Amazon or Dell, nowhere else. Not to say that other online shopping sites are untrustworthy, but A: This is what Amazon does. There are no stores to drive to, and all of Amazon's income is driven by online sales. B: I have a hard time buying something off of craigslist or Ebay simply because the items are sold by regular people, and there are a lot of shady people in the world. And C: You can buy new items, rather than used stuff which is all that Ebay and Craigslist offer.

You can download full albums for only $5

First Time Shopping

You should really take a look around before you start throwing stuff into your online cart. The options of what you can purchase are endless. As an appetizer, you should consider looking at the cell phones first. Those are the best deals. With any new contract, you can buy virtually any phone you'd like for dirt cheap, and a lot of them will only cost a penny. Here is a listing for Verizon cell phones, for example. Top of the line, new phones for a single cent. For tips on purchasing cell phones on Amazon, consider reading my hub that describes it in more detail. I've had many experiences buying the phones from there, and it's always been painless.

Although Amazon offers everything from clothing, to groceries, to car parts, my best experience has been with the electronics deals. They have great deals for MP3s which are much cheaper than what iTunes offers.

Amazon Prime

When Amazon Prime first launched, I thought it was only a good deal if you purchased from them a lot. Now, it's looking to take on Netflix in the battle of streaming video. For $79 a year, you not only get unlimited free 2-day shipping, but you also get unlimited streaming of over 90,000 of your favorite movies and TV shows instantly to your PC, Xbox, DVR, Xbox360, or whatever you play movies on. This deal is awesome because not only is it cheaper than Netflix (Netflix is about $102 a year with only streaming video) but the selection is much better when it comes to streaming. Not only that, but it streams blu-ray videos, and you can only get blu-ray from a shipped CD from Netflix. It's an amazing offer, and if nothing else, you can Start your 1-month free trial now, if you'd like.

Shipping from Amazon

Amazon deals through many different shipping services, so sometimes it can be a bit unreliable. Since I've had Amazon Prime, I've never had an issue, but before I joined, usually I'd get my shipments on time, but sometimes, if the delivery date was a Friday, I'd have to wait until Monday to get my package. It wasn't a huge issue. However, as I said, since I've gotten Prime, I've never had an issue, but I'm sure it isn't perfect.

Amazon Vs. Walmart

One thing I absolutely love about Amazon is their willingness to beat out all others in competition. In 2009, Amazon and Walmart had a bit of a book selling feud, each dropping the prices of their books to beat out the competition. Click Here to read here about the battle. Small businesses (or average Joes) use Amazon to sell used products, such as books, to make money. The reason I applaud this is because not only does it help the consumer, who is strapped for cash as it is- but it also helps those trying to make a buck as well.

Affiliate Program

Amazon offers an affiliate program to people who own a website or blog and wish to advertise for them. If someone clicks on a link and buys something from Amazon, the person who owns the site earns a percentage. I've dabbled a bit in this, but I've yet to really make any money. But someone who owns a well known website and drives in a lot of traffic has the potential to make some pretty good money on the side. So I'm sure it's doable, but it takes quite a bit of work.

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