Amazon Wants You to Buy Fewer Things: Here’s Why

Unhappy shopper
Photo by Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

It’s rare for a retailer to encourage you to buy fewer items — but Amazon is doing just that.

As shoppers stuck in their homes make a virtual stampede to Amazon to buy things for delivery, the online retailer has “taken a number of steps to get customers to put fewer items in their carts,” according to a Dow Jones & Co. report published by Morningstar.

According to the report, which sources unnamed people familiar with the matter, Amazon has done the following to discourage buying:

  • Removed most of its popular recommendation widgets. These widgets usually tell a shopper about additional purchases made by others who had the item in their basket.
  • Reduced the number of coupons offered.
  • Canceled Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotions. Amazon has not publicly announced this move yet, according to the report.
  • Postponed Prime Day.

Why is Amazon taking such unusual steps? It appears that a huge surge in orders tied to the coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed the retailer.

In a letter to shareholders that was included in an April 16 corporate report, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, wrote that Amazon staffers were “working around the clock” to get ordered items delivered on time. He added:

“The demand we are seeing for essential products has been and remains high. But unlike a predictable holiday surge, this spike occurred with little warning, creating major challenges for our suppliers and delivery network. We quickly prioritized the stocking and delivery of essential household staples, medical supplies, and other critical products.”

For now, Amazon sources say the retailer wants customers to focus on purchasing essential items — such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper — rather than encouraging customers to make impulse or additional purchases.

It may be more than two months before Amazon is back to running at pre-pandemic capacity, according to the Dow Jones report.

Amazon’s unusual decision to discourage buying is just one of the many strange ways the coronavirus has changed our lives. For more, check out “9 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Daily Life as We Know It.”

While Amazon may be discouraging “retail therapy,” you can still get some great bargains right now — whether at Amazon or another store. To find out more about the sinking cost of some types of goods, read “11 Things That Are Cheaper Due to the Coronavirus.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask

With these companies, it might be easier than you think to negotiate your monthly bill down.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things
How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things

Find out where to sell, donate or recycle items — and feel good about it.

Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off
Want a Healthy Retirement? Turn This Device Off

A common behavior becomes increasingly dangerous for those who are 50 or older.

13 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less
13 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less

Before shelling out for more expensive options, check out this diverse list.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.