By T. Olsen
As its name implies, Amazon is a veritable jungle full of fabulous finds. Amazon takes the idea of “one-stop-shopping” to a whole new level – allowing you to buy everything from soup to nuts and a whole lot more – including books, toilet paper, printer ink, shampoo, toys, clothing, pantry staples, electronics, furniture, car parts, etc.
From household necessities to school supplies or the perfect gift for someone you love, Amazon is the busy homeschooler’s dream store. Most people are primarily motivated to shop on Amazon by the free shipping, low prices, and convenience, according to an Epsilon marketing survey.
The survey shows that in addition to the free shipping, Amazon’s top benefits for customers ages 18-44 are videos and music; while for those ages 45 and older the top benefits appear to be reading and credit cards.
Today I’ll be listing some of the benefits that I enjoy as an Amazon Prime member. Just so you know, this post is not sponsored by Amazon. I’m simply sharing a program that I like and that helps make my life easier as a homeschool mom. [Note: Homeschooling Teen does receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon when you click through the links on this page.]
In no particular order, here are 20 reasons why homeschoolers love shopping on Amazon:
1. Fast Free Shipping
We’ve all procrastinated on buying a gift for a special occasion or an outfit for an upcoming event. Amazon offers super-fast shipping options and, if you have Amazon Prime, 2-day shipping is free for most purchases. So you need a pirate costume for next weekend’s party? Order on Wednesday and it will be at your door by Friday.
2. Product Reviews
Knowing what other people think of the product you’re about to buy is priceless information. Amazon’s star rating system and candid reviews always come in handy when making purchases, whether they are big-ticket items or super-cheap products. You can even ask a question about a product, and customers will answer.
3. Hard-to-Find Items in Stock
These days it seems like the things you want are rarely in stock at your local brick-and-mortar shops. Luckily, when it comes to finding clothes in the exact brand and color you want, or even furniture or home goods, Amazon always delivers.
4. Large Range of Sizes Available
In the real world, those who cross over into “non-standard” sizes are forced to seek out a specialty shop. What’s worse, these specialty stores often charge high prices for their goods, wreaking havoc on your poor wallet. Whether you’re shopping outlier sizes in undergarments, shoes, jeans or other apparel, Amazon has you covered. By the way, at first I was reluctant to buy clothes online, but then I discovered Amazon’s “Try Before You Buy” program. They let you choose up to 6 items and enjoy a 7-day free try-on period in the comfort of your own home. You will be only charged for what you decide to keep!
5. Awesome Search Functionality
Let’s face it, sometimes walking into a store causes sensory overload. And the bigger the store, the more distracted you get. Amazon is like a huge one-stop shopping mall, but its fancy search engine allows you to quickly and easily narrow down what you’re looking for.
6. Shop by Department
Maybe you know exactly what you want – and maybe you don’t. Not to worry, Amazon lets you shop online at home or on the go without having to miss your favorite pastime of browsing the department store. The world’s largest general store has all of the following departments:
- Clothing, Shoes, Jewelry & Watches
- Games, Music & Movies
- Groceries & Food
- Handmade Items
- Health & Beauty
- Home, Garden & Tools
- Pet Supplies
- Scientific & Industrial
- Smart Home
- Toys, Kids & Baby
7. Curated Product Listings
Within the above departments, you can also find curated lists for specific product types to make shopping easier and help you find the perfect item you didn’t even know you needed. For example…
- Back to School (which you can narrow down by grade level)
- Off to College
- Office and School Supplies
- Educational Toys
- STEM Toys
8. Cheap Prices Across the Board
You’ll have a hard time finding anything being sold at the MSRP while shopping the site. A 30-day low price – or even better, an all-time-low price – is a good signal to click the “buy” button now! And for all you bargain hunters (or older folks who miss K-Mart’s blue-light specials!), Amazon offers limited-time “Lightning Deals” to watch for that let you save even more. Here’s another tip: If you’d like to keep an eye on something (or wishing you could get it) but not planning to buy it right away, you can add it to your shopping cart and mark it as “Save for Later.” Prices on Amazon change constantly, and Amazon will let you know if the price of an item in your cart changes. It’s possible that the price may increase, but if you’re lucky the item will go on sale and maybe then you’ll decide to buy it for real!
9. Subscribe & Save
Amazon’s subscribe & save option automatically sends you the products you use most often on a regular basis – once every month, two months, or whatever frequency you desire. And if it isn’t enough for them to take the weight of remembering off your shoulders, they also offer these products at a discounted price of up to 15 percent off. You can easily skip a delivery, change the delivery frequency, or cancel the service at any time.
10. Gifting Made Simple
Amazon is a great place to go when shopping for gifts. For one thing, lots of couples register at Amazon for weddings and baby showers. Also because it’s such a diverse marketplace you’ll be able to find something for everyone including grills for dad, toys for your siblings, spa products for mom, and unique gifts for the person who has everything. Oh, and when in doubt, you can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card! These come in many different styles (including pretty boxes and tins at no extra cost), with a choice of denominations and a variety of designs for all occasions. They even have gift card bookmarks!
11. Easy Return Policy
Whether you regret an impulse purchase, hate the actual color of the product, don’t like how something fits, or the product arrived damaged, Amazon makes it easy to return anything. Their “A-to-Z Guarantee” protection covers buyers at no additional cost. In most cases, all you have to do is bring the item to a UPS store, and they will take it from there. You don’t even need to print out a label or pack it in a shipping box! Just show the UPS employee the return barcode on your phone and they will scan it in. Your Amazon account will be instantly credited and UPS will send the item back for you.
12. Shop From The Comfort Of Your Own Home
One of the biggest perks of any online store is that you get to shop from the comfort of your own home, at any time of day or night, even in your pajamas. Clearly, shopping online makes it a lot easier for you to compare prices, shop around and make a decision you feel comfortable with – while also saving on gas and time. No need to go out to the store in bad weather while bringing a bunch of kids along! Instead, you can stay home and spend some quality time with them – plus they will get a nice cardboard box to play with or use for a craft project when your order arrives at the front door. 🙂
13. Read or Listen to Books for Free
I recently learned about the Prime Reading benefit, which is available to anyone with an Amazon Prime membership. Prime members have access to thousands of free ebooks, magazines, and audiobooks through Prime Reading.
14. Listen to Music Without Ads
Amazon Prime members can take advantage of Prime Music, a collection of over two million ad-free and on-demand songs. Prime Music includes access to non-stop music channels and curated playlists that are perfect for playing at barbecues, parties, or just as background music during your work day. Access Prime Music through your computer browser, or download the Amazon Music app on your smartphone.
15. Stream Your Favorite Movies, Shows, and Educational Videos
Prime Video is on par with major streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and it’s free with your Prime membership! You can access the Prime Video offerings through your web browser, or download the Amazon Prime Video app on your smartphone, smart TV, or game console.
16. Get Discounts on Your Favorite Video Games
Twitch Prime, marketed towards gamers, is included free with your Amazon Prime membership. Twitch Prime lets you get discounts on video game pre-orders as well as release day delivery on those games. Twitch Prime also gives gamers access to exclusive content for popular video games – including special characters, vehicles, and player skins. If you’re a gamer, or if you are mom to a gamer, Twitch Prime can be another convincing reason to spring for an Amazon Prime membership!
17. Teen Logins
Teens ages 13-17 can have their own Amazon login (unique username and password) that is connected to a parent’s account. This allows teens to browse on their own and then pay with either their own gift card or a payment method chosen by their parent (“parent’s card”). When a teen places an order, the parent receives all the order details via text or email. Depending on the parent’s preference, orders are either automatically approved up to a certain spend limit or manually approved by texting back “Y.” If a parent is a Prime member, the teen will receive select Prime benefits at no additional cost including Free Two-Day Shipping, Prime Video (not including purchased video library sharing) and Prime Gaming. Sign up for a teen login here.
18. Prime Rewards
Prime Rewards is another easy way to save money if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon. The Amazon Rewards Visa Card gives you 3% back on Amazon purchases, 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% back for all other transactions. They also have an Amazon Prime Store Card that’s better in one way but more limited in others. Prime members who use the Store Card for Amazon purchases will earn 5% rewards, but you won’t be able to use it at other stores for additional rewards. Apply for either of these credit cards and get an Amazon Gift Card instantly upon approval. There is no annual fee for either one.
19. Amazon Cares About the Environment
Amazon makes it a goal to reduce their environmental impact. For example, the majority of Amazon orders are shipped in corrugated containers that contain 43 percent recycled materials and can be recycled or reused. In addition, Amazon uses “frustration-free” packaging. That means no hard plastic “clamshell” cases or plastic-coated wire ties, and a lot less–if any–tape. Yay! They also offer Amazon warehouse deals – big savings on quality pre-owned, used, open box and refurbished merchandise. I’ve had pretty good luck with those, and usually the stuff is just like new. Plus you can feel good about giving these items a second chance!
Amazon’s customer-centric strategy is another tool of success for the company. Indeed, Amazon’s rapid growth and popularity can be attributed to the fact that they have been delivering a branded experience repeatedly and consistently to such a superb level that no rivals can match. I know for me it’s been difficult to find any e-commerce retailer that can reliably compete with Amazon on “fast and easy.” It seems like a lot of competitors still have no idea what they’re doing and how to get ahead.
Walmart is trying and they do make returns super easy, but they still haven’t mastered order processing and delivery. I’ve had orders that were delayed and arrived late. This summer I waited weeks for a pair of shoes from Walmart before finally being told they were out of stock and no longer available. On another Walmart order, I purchased a quantity of three but only received one. The final straw was when the Walmart delivery person left my package on a rock in a vacant lot (according to the photo they took). After searching for it in vain, I had to reorder. But I’ve ordered and received hundreds of things on Amazon on the date they said it would be delivered, with no problem.
To experience all of Amazon’s benefits for yourself, you can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days. And if you do decide to stick with it after the trial period, I think you’ll find that it’s worth every penny. 🙂
Amazon Prime offers 50% off memberships for:
College Students | SNAP and Medicaid recipients