I was listening to a The Motley Fool podcast this morning in which their product promotion segment referred to the Eero home WiFi system and provided a promo code of “fool” to get free shipping off of the Eero web site. I have of late been having a crappy experience with my NetGear router and so thought I would give it a try. I went to the web-site on my iPhone and… it didn’t load. I went on with my morning and a little bit later tried pulling it up on my laptop.
While there I decided to search for it on Amazon to see what its reviews were. Lo and behold it was playing very positively. And its list price was $50 cheaper. And I could have free shipping with a guaranteed Tuesday 2 January delivery.
But it felt crappy to learn about the product from TMF and not have them get credit. And I’ve been hearing increasingly unhappy stories about vendors getting bullied by Amazon over pricing. So I went all the way to the check-out step on both Amazon and on Eero to see what the delta in cost and experience would be.
To Amazon’s lower list price would be added $22 in taxes. Either that was already in the Eero website price or it was not being taxed. For shipping, Eero’s site would provide free one-day FedEx shipping (thanks to the promo code), but also said that “orders ship within 1-2 business days”, leaving with poor clarity on when the item would arrive.
So, with a $28 higher price, a worse shipping experience, an unclear product return workflow, and order history fragmentation, I couldn’t bring myself to buy directly from Eero. If the total difference in experience had been just a small delta in price, say within $20, I would have probably on principle purchased directly through Eero, but the holistic Amazon experience was too superior to pass on, and their site reliability and review system pulled me into their gravity well on this purchase before Eero could close the deal directly.
Oops. It’s actually even worse. The 5% cash back my Amazon Prime Rewards Visa will give me almost entirely closes the effective pricing gap.
Ironic Fail: The TMF podcast had as one of its topics the runaway dominance of Amazon in the e-commerce space