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Online Shopping Giant Amazon makes Customers pay more for Popular items

At least 94 percent of sellers who won the buy box placement without having the cheapest listing were either sold by Amazon itself or companies paying Amazon

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Amazon, Wikimedia
Amazon insists that its algorithm chooses products to go into the buy box based on a range of factors, including customer service and free delivery
When customers search for and click on a product, the Amazon algorithm chooses one vendor’s offer to put in the buy box
Having the product in this buy box offers a major advantage for the retailer, as most customers end up adding it to the cart and buying it
Sept 21, 2016: The online shopping portal Amazon’s algorithms make customers pay more for popular products giving prominence to items that benefit the retail giant, a study by ProPublica said.
ProPublica on Tuesday said it reviewed 250 frequently purchased products over several weeks to see what all were chosen to appear in the highly-priced ‘buy box’ that pops up first as a suggested purchase.
Amazon that bills itself as the “Earth’s most customer-centric company”, not only sells products directly itself, but also allows other retailers to sell their own products through its platform.

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This means that the same product could be offered by dozens of vendors at different prices and with different shipping costs.

When customers search for and click on a product, the Amazon algorithm chooses one vendor’s offer to put in the buy box.
Having the product in this buy box offers a major advantage for the retailer, as most customers end up adding it to the cart and buying it.
ProPublica found that almost three-quarters of the time Amazon would place its own products or those from companies that pay Amazon to fulfil orders into the buy box, even though they might not always be the cheapest.

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If a customer bought everything recommended by Amazon’s buy box they would end up paying 20 percent more than if the same products was bought at the lowest price on the platform, the study said.

Amazon, however, offers a tool to allow customers to compare product prices by producing a list that ranks sellers of the same item by “price and shipping”.
ProPublica. Wikimedia
ProPublica. Wikimedia
Although even there, the company gives itself an advantage by omitting the shipping costs for its own products.
This would mean the rankings were accurate for Amazon Prime members, who get unlimited ‘free’ shipping for $99 per year, but for anyone else the ranking is misleading.
Amazon insists that its algorithm chooses products to go into the buy box based on a range of factors, including customer service and free delivery.
Amazon founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeff Bezos had said in 2007 that it uses “very objective customer-centred algorithms” to automatically award the buy box to the lowest priced seller, which is clearly no longer the case.
At least 94 percent of sellers who won the buy box placement without having the cheapest listing were either sold by Amazon itself or companies paying Amazon.
The companies that do not pay Amazon hefty fees (between 10-20 percent of sales) to fulfil orders, find themselves sidelined.
ProPublica concluded that it shows how hidden algorithms govern online interaction from Google search results to Facebook news feeds. (IANS)

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Tips and Tricks: Know the difference between Fake and Genuine Leather!

One of the easiest ways to check whether it is genuine or not is by pressing the texture of the leather

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Leather jacket, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 10, 2017: With a number of options available in leather jackets, it’s easy to get duped. Know the difference between fake and genuine leather by the texture and odour, says an expert.

Arshbir Singh Bhatia, Director at Voganow.com, an online platform for buying leather garments and accessories, has given tips and tricks to check the authenticity of the leather:

 1. Easiest ways to check is by pressing the texture of the leather. If it is real, the texture would seem wrinkled and pulled. If it is fake, it would hardly make any difference to the texture when affected by the pressure.

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Also, genuine leather does not crack easily and is quite durable. It can last for more than 10 years. One can easily see a drastic change in jackets crafted in faux leather after using for just one season.

2. Try to check and feel the texture of the leather before making a purchase as little imperfections like creases or scratches are considered to be a good signal while testing the authenticity of genuine leather.

Genuine leather does not smell like plastic or give an odour of chemicals which is obvious with faux leather. A jacket crafted in genuine leather gives more of a natural and swanky touch.

3. On pulling leather, one can see very fine holes which are the hair follicles while on synthetic leather, they are artificially created and disappear on pulling.

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4. Feel the texture of leather. Genuine leather should feel soft and smooth like a skin while faux leather would give a hard and solid touch and feel.

5. Genuine leather can easily absorb water while goods made of faux leather cannot absorb it and the droplets of water would puddle on the surface of the material.

6. Similar to the wrinkle test, another way is by bending the leather as real leather has a unique elasticity while bending it might change the tone. Faux leather remains rigid and regular when bent. (IANS)

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Cambodia’s Postal Service to launch an Online Shopping platform to tap current rise in e-commerce Activity

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Online Shopping (representational Image), Wikimedia

Phnom Penh, Jan 4, 2017: The state-owned Cambodia Post will launch an online shopping platform in March in a move to tap the current rise in e-commerce activity, a media report said on Thursday.

Ork Bora, director-general of the Cambodia Post, said that after a year of studying e-commerce, the enterprise decided to launch the platform to allow all business owners to sell their products with the postal service.

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Bora said that the enterprise had already served as an agent for China’s biggest online shopping company Alibaba and has delivered their products to customers in Cambodia for four months, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We plan to launch in the first quarter of the year, maybe in March. I have been conducting a study and working on online shopping for about a year, so now we decided to launch an online shopping platform,” Bora was quoted as saying.

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“You see that online shopping is getting popular among our people now. If you look at the number of internet users with the Telecom Regulator of Cambodia, there were some seven million,” he said.

He said that currently the Cambodia Post has a nationwide delivery and transport service, so an online shopping platform would be convenient for both sellers and customers. (IANS)

 

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Popular App Paytm likely to merge Wallet Business with Payments Bank Operation

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Paytm Logo, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Dec 5, 2016: One97 Communications, the firm that owns Paytm is merging the virtual wallet business with payments bank operation. Reserve Bank of India has also awarded `in-principle’ approval to Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of One97 Communications to set up a Payments Bank. But, how exactly will the Paytm Payment Banks work? Well, it is basically the transfer of business.

Wallet business will move to payments bank while One97 will be managing the sales part for the wallet business. The transfer will be complete once payment bank licence is obtained.

Alibaba Group and its affiliate Ant Financial pumped in USD 680 million into Paytm’s parent One97 Communications last year, taking its total shareholding to over 40 percent in the country’s largest mobile wallet operator Paytm with close to 160 million customers.

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However, the Chinese entity will not have a direct shareholding in the payments bank. A spokesperson from Paytm said, “We are working hard towards the launch of the payment bank and expect it to launch in due time. We are working with Fidelity, Infosys and Oracle to deploy a scalable platform that will be able to meet the requirements of the bank when it launches. There are no timelines.”

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RBI had initiated the era of differentiated banking with SFB (small finance bank) and PB (payments bank), and 21 entities, including 11 for payments bank, who were given in-principle nod last year.

However, three big firms ie. Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company and a consortium of Dilip Shanghvi, IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services — backed out of the payments bank licensing race.

Further, last month Airtel became the first entity to go on board with the Payments Bank operation. With the onset of government’s demonetisation move, virtual wallets like Paytm, Freecharge and Mobikwik have seen a rise in their users.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks