Monday, June 14, 2010

Shopping Tips for is unique retail network and a great place to find great deals. But there are things to watch out for. I include a short summary for your quick glance then a detail explanation for anyone who is interested.
  • Free Shipping: Amazon offers Free Shipping on qualifying items for $25 or more .
  • Price Fluctuation: Price and shipping of an item may change when they are not sold by Amazon.
  • Duplicate Item Available at Different Price: Look through the search results can save you money.
  • Variant in Toys: Amazon can not track variant figures. you will get regular or variant figure at random.
  • Outrageous Deals: Clearance sales are usually by 3rd Party retailer and no free shipping.
If you want to know why, read on.

Free Shipping
In many cases, shipping is a big disadvantage when it comes to on-line shopping. Being one of the largest on-line distributors, however, Amazon is able to offer Free Shipping when the combined total of your qualifying items are higher than $25. Qualifying items refer to all items sold by Amazon Directly or their Premium Retailers. This is great, because $25 is not very hard to reach at all.  Compare to $50 for and $100 for  Amazon has the lowest free shipping minimum.  However, since the "Free Super Saver Shipping" only apply to items sold Directly by Amazon, that means when Amazon's stock are out, free shipping may also disappear even if the item is still available through other 3rd Party Retailers. As an added Bonus, Amazon is one of few retailers not base out of California and Tax Free in my case. Buying items at Amazon is cheaper than picking them up at local stores. (Free shipping and no Sales Tax)

Price Fluctuation
Amazon do not constantly change their prices.  However, Amazon is a retail network that a single item can be sold by Amazon Directly or by other 3rd party retailers.  This is a unique system that allow many items continue to be available even after items are discontinued from other retail channels.  Amazon's system places the items with the lowest price+shipping in front.  The price fluctuation you see is when the stock of the lowest priced seller ran out then price automatically goes to the next seller offering the next lowest price.  Same thing will happen when a new seller add stock at lower price for an item, the price automatically goes down the seller offering the lowest priced item.
In the case of action figures, price are usually at the lowest when sold directly by, because they are a general retail store and not a specialty store.  So it's quite often to see the price of an action figure shot up once Amazon run out of the stock. because the specialty store usually offer the same figure at much higher price.
Sometimes you may find some items are cheaper from other sellers even after shipping are added.  Check the other sellers pricing before decide which one to buy. 

Duplicate Item Available at Different Price
This is the fault of 3rd Party Seller, but sometimes necessary.  All the items on the Amazon have an unique ASIN number.  Same item should fall into same ASIN.  But sometimes the items are added by 3rd party sellers who do not want to use the same ASIN number.  Either they choose not to participate in the price competition or feel that the items do not match the ones they sell (as in case of variants).  So when you do a search, look around for other results.  the Same items may be listed more than once at different price.

Variant in Toys or Item not as Pictured
It's quite common variant version are offered in Action Figures.  But with Package being the same with variants, they can not be tracked properly by Amazon ASIN.  That's why when purchase Action Figures sold directly from Amazon, they can end up being the regular or variant version depending on your luck.  This is not the case when dealing the a 3rd party reseller.  A 3rd party retailer can create a ASIN number for specific version of the variant figure and so you know that you are getting.  However some retailers may also use Amazon's ASIN and the figures may not be the one in the picture. The Best way to deal with this is to purchase the item (just in case the stock ran out quickly) then contact the seller before the item is shipped.  Seller will usually allow you to cancel the order if it is the not item you want.  Most seller will not risk a bad feedback for selling item not as described.  This however does not work with items sold directly by Amazon, because Amazon uses big fulfillment house and won't be able to check or understand the different in your individual order. But You can received it first then return your items back to Amazon free of charge when they are sold directly by
Many collectors don't like this, but I think this is great because this allow you get hard to find variant at regular retail price, which is almost impossible at any other retail channel.

Outrageous Deals
On-line retailers will have clearance sales just like regular retail store.  So you can find items time to time at unbelievable prices.  Most of these items are sold by 3rd party retailers.  Shipping is not free.  so be sure to factor in the shipping cost.

I hope this contain some helpful information to give you a good understand how works and help you find good deals on

Toy Deals on

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