Learning from Amazon

Our price is too low to display

I’m still having a crazy Christmas season here, I have another week of long days and will then be taking my daughter and a couple of close friends to Lapland for a Winter break (I can’t wait). One of the affiliates I’ve been pushing big time this season is Amazon and they are now (normally) my forth highest daily earner (after Adsense, Chitika and Commission Junction). What impresses me most about Amazon is their conversion rate which for me currently stands at over 9% and looking at their site I can see why, I reckon many on-line retailers could learn a lot from from Amazon.

One of the things Amazon has done for a long time is offer you a special price when you buy a related item that they suggest at the same time, which I’m sure has brought them millions in extra sales. One thing I noticed today is they now don’t always display the price but display:

Buy Together Today: Our price is too low to display. Add both items to your shopping cart to see the price. No purchase required.

I think this is a great idea, now the customer has to add it to the basket before knowing the price genius.

Other things they do us display:

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

This is another great way of cross selling and it will take them no additional work as they are just basing this on stored data.

User reviews are another great feature, it’s useful for buyers and is free unique content, what website wouldn’t benefit from that in the search engines.

Towards the bottom of the page you have adverts (more money for them), the way of thinking here is if you get that far down the page you aren’t likely to buy so lets make some money out of you a different way. And the adverts don’t stop there, once you receive an order you’ll often find the box contains leaflets from other companies flogging you more stuff.

Another useful feature the site has is your recent history, so you can quickly go back to products that you were previously looking at.

There’s a lot webmasters like you and I can learn from Amazon, what other revenue maximising features can you see that Amazon do right (and wrong)?

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Do you think the fact that Amazon are a “trusted” on-line site and generally fairly competitive on price helps with conversion?

  2. Yeah I love amazons affiliate program, mostly because they sell everything so just by getting someone to the site you have a higher chance of getting some commission…the one gripe I do have is the awful tracking, I follow my stats closely and like to track which visitors to my sites are buying along with how they got to my site etc. but you just can’t do this with amazon!

    • That’s a good point. It’s nice in the way you can see exactly which products have been sold but other tracking not really. You could create different tracking IDs but that would only be practical for so much information, it would be nice if they added some extra tag that we could use as we liked.

  3. Do you sell a lot of stuff through Amazon on CoolestGadgets?

    • A bit, CG has done just over $60K in Amazon sales so far this month with commissions of ~$3K. I find Amazon does ok all year but really excels in the silly season.

      • Wow, nice … are the Amazon purchases usually fairly small in value, or do you sometimes get commission on surprisingly large purchases (e.g., LED TVs, PS3, etc.) that people might rack up?

        • It varies a lot. I do sell a lot of electrical items (low $xxx) which are a nice value but the commission on electrical goods is fixed at 4% whilst commissions on other items are tiered.

          Looking at yesterdays stats the cheapest thing I sold was a Dilbert calenday at $9.99 whilst the most expensive was WowWee Robosapien at $169.98 (which for some reason isn’t classed as an electrical good so I earned 8% from that). My biggest all time individual item was a $2K plasma TV.

          Yesterday was actually my best Amazon day ever with 139 items shipped, revenue $9,442.63 and referral fees of $447.74 🙂

  4. I completely to the bit about user reviews. Many people, myself included, search for reviews before buying something and not every review site has a review of everything.

    Amazon being a retailer and not a review site has a user review of almost everything.

    • I also find the user reviews really useful, one of the things I’ve been doing this year is writing gift guides and I often use the Amazon review and star rating to learn what is good to recommend.

  5. I like Amazon’s Bestsellers list. They keep a top 100 items sold for all the usual categories and it’s updated hourly. It’s a nice tool to help me choose what to blog about.

  6. Wish I could have the kind of return from Amazon. I have links, but really don’t do much in the way of emphasizing them. They are a great company for referring a specific product. Can’t find that with many other affiliate sites.

  7. Amazon is another good idea to make extra revenue. Usually, everyday can generate about $100 on my site. But your site is very nice, it have uped to $400!!! The high price products is difficult to sell. How many visitors come to your gadget site everyday?

  8. Hi Robin, nice guess 🙂 I’m doing ~$400 a day from Amazon at the moment but that is mainly down to the time of year I think. CG currently gets 40-50K visitors a day but that is also up due to the season.

  9. wow! So large traffic. For your large traffic, it can generating that revenue. Good work boy. I’m reading your all posts, want to learn some new ideas from you. You are my teacher!:)

  10. Look at me. I don’t even buy anything online and yet I usually turn to Amazon when in search of new stuff. Aside from the user reviews (which are very helpful and in-depth), they also automatically provide you with a list of other similar choices. It makes browsing all the more entertaining.

  11. WOW all them sales!!!!

    How DO you do it?

    I tried doing that with http://www.99adz.com and guess what. No revenue at all.

    I gave up on that domain.

  12. Amazon has 1 day cookie. I think that this is a big limiting factor, especially if you use PPC to promote
    their products.

  13. The major problem with Amazon’s associate program is tracking, followed by support. Amazon does not allow for the tracking of SUBID’s. SUBID’s can be thought of as tracking ID’s. To have effective affiliate campaigns you need to track everything. Ad, Time of Day, Day of Week, Link Source, Keywords, Network, etc… Amazon’s program does not allow you to track this. Without tracking this, doing any Pay Per Click advertising is only 1% as effective as it could be. I highly recommend this network if you can send them a lot of traffic that you don’t need to track, for example review sites. If you use PPC, this is not the network for you.

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