Is Amazon’s Customer Satisfaction Declining?

Are third-party outsourcing and complex, dated architecture leading to declining customer satisfaction at Amazon?

John Herrman, contributing editor at the New York Magazine, spoke to Jon Sarlin, host of CNN’s Nightcap, on how it feels like Amazon is making itself worse.

Herrman questions why it feels like the core product of Amazon—its shopping experience—is ‘degrading’ while, at the same time, the company continues to experience exponential growth.

Listed several common complaints that Amazon users have mentioned:

  • Things are messy.
  • It’s hard to find things.
  • The products have become unreliable.
  • Strange product brand names that are made of numbers that are hard to pronounce.

Herrman believes that this might be because Amazon has built its e-commerce operation on many complex systems, “some of which are 10, 20 years old.”

On top of that, Amazon has outsourced much of its core shopping experience to third-party sellers. 

Herrman explains that many products sold under the guise of Amazon are sold by other companies through Amazon, so you’re actually dealing with another business.

What’s also quite interesting is that Amazon has historically had a very consumer-centric approach, taking customer satisfaction very seriously.

Customers are starting to feel like this has changed. To them, it feels like Amazon’s focus has shifted towards making sellers happier and customers are feeling frustrated.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that Amazon is so popular that the more people you speak to, the more likely you are to talk to someone who’s had a complaint.

Interestingly, George Iddenden of Charged reported that in January 2023, in the UK, Amazon topped a customer experience survey of 1,000 UK consumers.

The “phrase ‘easy’ came up often, with Amazon topping the table for ease and speed after investing heavily in technology,” Iddenden explained.

So, all in all, the picture is not so black and white.

The Bottom Line

Amazon’s potential customer satisfaction issues remind us of the importance of not relying too much on one sales channel. It’s another case of ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’

Amazon will likely remain the top e-commerce platform for a long time to come with a significant market share, but that might not always be the case.

If you solely sell products through Amazon, you could be putting your operations at risk if Amazon comes into difficult times.

One way to reduce that risk is to use various e-commerce platforms.