The Incomprehensible Amazon Glorification

Books are written, blog posts are published and E-commerce conference speakers have it in their slide deck. The constant glorification of Amazon. I just can’t understand why! It amazes me to my very core. Let me give you a couple of examples… “When it comes to e-commerce, Amazon is king. Not only does the online retailer offer…

Books are written, blog posts are published and E-commerce conference speakers have it in their slide deck. The constant glorification of Amazon. I just can’t understand why! It amazes me to my very core.

Let me give you a couple of examples…

“When it comes to e-commerce, Amazon is king. Not only does the online retailer offer millions of products, but it also provides a good user-experience with its digital best practices”

If you want to look at the UI and UX of an e-commerce site, then Amazon is one of the best around.”

What?!

So, let’s jump into it! Let’s take a look at the UX & UI of Amazon on my Macbook. (By the way.. The product page isn’t responsive under 1070px in width.)

The product page

Below, I will walk through the various parts and the anatomy of the product page. A recommendation is to have the product page open in another tab, so you can see what I mean.

Sharing

I’m not even surprised that Amazon haven’t embraced Facebook’s new feature “Save to Facebook” (which is an awesome feature!). Also, isn’t it more likely that someone who is viewing a product page on Amazon saves the link to Facebook with one simple click, instead of sharing it on their timeline? Who does that? Well, I did when I tested it. For some reason – the fetched description of the link is “Nintendo 2227246 – POKEMON ALPHA SAPPHIRE”? Maybe a developer at Amazon should review how they’re working with the open graph protocol? Also, who would want to pin an Amazon product to their Pinterest board?

Skärmavbild 2016-06-03 kl. 09.52.33

Top of product page

Just take a look at the information shown in the top of the product page (screenshot below if you don’t have a tab open). The lack of symmetry is palpable. The variation of line heights, colors, boldness, indents and other style elements is making it look very incalculable.

Skärmavbild 2016-06-03 kl. 10.12.50

The section just reminds me of a chaotic ingredient label:

Skärmavbild 2016-06-03 kl. 10.44.32

But let’s move on. The product page is really long, so let’s keep analyzing in order to find some really curious things…

Below is the chronology of the product page. Each bullet is a horizontal section.

  • Image, selected information, share.
  • Frequently bought together
  • Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
  • Related Materials
  • Special Offers and Product Promotions (which in this case is empty?!)
  • Game Information (which has a link to “More system requirements” which takes you to a totally different page, looking like this. I can’t even see any system requirements on that page).
  • Product details
  • A section with Google Adwords ads (linking to competitors in my case!)
  • Product Description
  • From the Manufacturer
  • What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
  • Customer Questions & Answers
  • Customer Reviews: Top Customer Reviews + Most Recent Customer Reviews (along with a section with “Amazon ads” that brings me to a blank page when I’m clicking them).
  • Look for similar items by category (along with a section with some more non-working Amazon ads).
  • Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations

This raises a lot of concerns, here’s a few:

  • Before product description (which is a pretty basic thing), they have a myriad of other sections. It’s interesting that the optimal flow looks like this. I really expect they’ve made some kind of A/B test on this, so I’m not saying it’s not optimalt – I’m just saying it’s giving me as a user a weird experience. Even if it is personalized, it’s weird.
  • Why isn’t the following 4 sections bulked into 1?: Selected information, product details, product description, from the manufacturer. Why do I have to scroll up and down like a crazy person, just to read the standard information about the product?

The purchase process

I live in Sweden. Therefore, I need shipping to Sweden. Luckily, I’ve previously made 10 purchases on Amazon.co.uk and therefore I have my delivery address saved. So, I’m sitting here with my IP from Sweden, logged in to my Amazon account with my saved (Swedish) delivery address, filling my cart with miscellaneous items. Then, it’s time to pay.

These are the steps I have to go through before the order is made. (Note: Every bullet is a new page).

  • I go to my shopping cart and click “proceed to checkout”
  • I confirm my delivery address (which is the same I’ve used 10+ times)
  • I select delivery option (standard or express delivery) and click “Continue”
  • BOOM! Several items can’t be shipped to Sweden. Oh, you’re telling me this now?! How about hinting about this on the product page? You know I’m physically in Sweden based on my IP and that my previous order has been shipped to my Swedish delivery address. So, I have to remove these items.
  • I select a payment method (note here: Amazon can’t even process the Swedish letter “Ö” properly.)Skärmavbild 2016-06-03 kl. 09.41.06
  • I review the order.
  • I confirm the order.

Skärmklipp 2016-06-03 13.13.31

This major barrier for foreign buyers was luckily recently fixed (about not warning earlier that shipment can’t be made outside UK). Although, the product page keeps showing me how much the shipping costs in the UK and not to Sweden. A new problem emerged in this though: If I visit a product page of a product which cannot be shipped to Sweden – the copy insinuates that it cannot be bought at all (see image), even if there are over a hundred other Amazon retailers selling this specific product. How about giving me a suggestion of a seller that has this product and ships to Sweden?

I guess Amazon is the definition of “fat and happy”

With a revenue of US$ 107 billion and a bottom line of US$ 596 million – why bother fixing basic UX/UI issues?

These are just a few of all concerns I have with “the king of UX/IU” Amazon. Maybe I’ll write a part 2 of this post listing some more.

Happy shopping! :)