Amazon’s One-Click Shopping Tool – Helpful or Dangerous?

I’m not a huge shopper, but whenever I shop online, I always check Amazon to see if they have cheaper prices, or at the very least, faster and free shipping using my Amazon Prime membership. Even with Amazon now collecting sales tax in some states You can get just about anything from there. I even got a big 42 inch TV on Amazon!

There is one feature that I’m a little leery of, and that’s the site’s one-click shopping feature. Some say it’s a convenient way to shop; others think it’s a dangerous ploy to bust your budget.

How It Works

You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime account holder or a frequent online shopper to take advantage (or disadvantage) of one-click shopping. Amazon automatically signs you up for it the very first time you place an order on the site. Amazon saves your payment and shipping information, so that you can click the “Buy now with 1-click” button on subsequent purchases; if you use that option – you can easily bypass it – you’ll skip the whole shopping cart portion of the checkout. Instead, your order will automatically be billed to the default address and credit card Amazon has on file.

You don’t have to enable one-click shopping permanently, however. Turn it off by selecting the “1-click settings” option from the settings menu inside the “Your Account” tab. You’ll see a yellow button on the right side of the screen that lets you turn one-click shopping off (or, allow you to enable it if you choose).

Why I Like It

If you’re someone who does a lot of shopping online, or if you have a Kindle, then you already know how great the one-click option is. It saves time by letting customers skip that shopping cart portion of the checkout process.

When you’re in a rush, there’s nothing better than saving time. With one-click shopping, there’s no need to add an item to your cart, then go to the cart and follow the checkout process. Just click and you’re done. This is great for some of the subscribe and save staples that Amazon sells.

Why I Think It’s Dangerous

Let’s ignore the fact that Amazon tried to screw the rest of the online shopping world by attempting to patent the one-click shopping technology. Let’s also ignore the fact that while the European Patent Office rejected Amazon’s repeated efforts to monopolize the computer script that makes one-click shopping possible, for some inexplicable reason, the U.S. Patent Office granted Amazon the patent. That, in itself, is a crock.

But I also think this is merely a marketing and technology ploy – albeit a very effective ploy – to eliminate a buyer’s chance to think twice about a purchase. By decreasing the amount of time it takes for a shopper to make a purchase, I worry you’re going to increase the frequency of buyer’s remorse. This means more last-minute order cancellations or returns. But not everyone is willing to accept that they’ve made an impulse buy, and won’t necessarily take the steps to stop the transaction. This is what Amazon is hoping for when it comes to one-click shopping – that remorseful shoppers won’t be remorseful enough to cancel the purchase.

Reader, do you think Amazon (and other sites that offer similar express checkout options) are taking advantage of consumers and their impulse to buy? Why or why not?

6 Responses to Amazon’s One-Click Shopping Tool – Helpful or Dangerous?

  1. Money Beagle says:

    Never, never, never! It takes just a couple of minutes to go through the checkout process, and there have been multiple times that I’ve stopped during that process and either gave something a second looked, made sure I couldn’t find it elsewhere, and even looked at other things like changing the payment that I wanted to use for that source. I think going through the process adds a verification process to think about important questions such as ‘Do I need this?’ or ‘Is this the best deal’ or most importantly ‘How am I going to pay for this?’. The one step checkout removes those from the equation, and I don’t see an upside there.

  2. I think it is more toward the dangerous side. It doesn’t take much effort to fill out the forms but is just enough to make you think about the purchase. One click takes that away. I don’t think I have ever used it.

  3. Lbergs says:

    That is SOOO dangerous!! I can’t even tell you how many times I put items in my shopping cart only to get to the billing page and decide that I really didn’t need or want those items!

    With a one-stop-shop button my husband would be broke.

    Plus, it really doesnt save you THAT much time, Amazon always saves your billing information and inserts it immediately anyways.

    You sneaky Amazon.

    • Ira says:

      @Lbergs, – I do think whoever your husband is should have been warned ahead of time that you’re an impulse shopper. Was this part of the pre-nup? :)

      Ira

  4. It’s both — Amazon makes it really easy to spend money.

  5. Clark says:

    I don’t think I’d want to use that because of security issues. Not that I don’t trust Amazon, but I think it also becomes easier for Malwares to attack.