A third of respondents to a new survey from Brooks Bell say they were disappointed by the quality of merchandise from Amazon and that items regularly arrived later than expected.

Amazon.com Inc. has a customer-satisfaction problem. A new survey shows almost one in every three Amazon shoppers received a product late or of lower quality than expected at least once a month.

In addition, nearly half (44%) of 1,000 shoppers surveyed reported that the product they wanted was not in stock at least once a month. More than a third (36%) of respondents said they could not find what they wanted quickly.

Customer experience vendor Brooks Bell conducted the survey in Q4 2021. 

Given the global supply-chain crisis that shook up the entire retail world in late 2021, it’s not surprising that survey respondents said they received shipments later than expected. The problem, according to Gregory Ng, CEO of Brooks Bell, is that Amazon had set different expectations.

“The challenge is that Amazon spent quite a bit of time pre-pandemic, saying, ‘we are taking control of our own logistics, we have our Amazon trucks, we have our Amazon Prime shipping,'” Ng says. “Yes, there are things out of everyone’s control, but they’ve spent so much time talking about efficiency and scale that it is actually hurting them.”

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Product shortages were a problem across the ecommerce industry during the holiday shopping season, according to a Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,033 online shoppers in January. 25% of consumers said they noticed many products out of stock and 37% said they noticed some.

Amazon is the leading online retailer in the world’s largest markets other than China and No. 1 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

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Amazon disappoints shoppers, who come back anyway

Despite concerns about quality and delivery time, Amazon shoppers in the survey continue to frequent the ecommerce powerhouse.

  • 74% of consumers go to Amazon daily or weekly with the intent to purchase, the survey said.  In addition, 68% of consumers go to Amazon.com daily or weekly to browse.
  • 13% of respondents report that more than half of their monthly budgets, excluding gas, grocery and household expenses, are spent on Amazon.

A shopper’s age plays a key role in how they feel about Amazon.

  • 73% of those over the age of 60 feel good about Amazon shopping compared to just 63% of those under 29.
  • However, younger generations are more hopeful about the ecommerce giant’s impact—42% say they agree Amazon makes the world a better place, compared to just 27% of those over 60.

Other findings of interest:

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  • 81% of respondents do not view Jeff Bezos favorably.
  • Fewer than half of respondents (43%) had a favorable view of Amazon’s Alexa device
  • Retail properties like AmazonGo and Amazon Fresh saw 29% favorability.
  • Product comparisons were identified as the top area of improvement (37%), followed by text-based support (32%).

The full report is available here. 

Amazon’s problems are rivals’ opportunity

There are lessons, and opportunities, for other retailers in looking at what shoppers find disappointing about Amazon, Ng says.

“In my opinion (the survey) shows why other retailers should not feel intimidated by the Amazon platform. Because the world is shifting and the expectation is shifting with it,” Ng says. “The way to interact and build brand loyalty is not to be big and fast. It is to is to understand your customer and provide value. And a lot of the great retailers that aren’t Amazon that are succeeding figured it out. You have to do the research. You have to know your customers. You need to experiment and validate what you believe to be true and improve that customer experience.”

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