Amazon and Play.com are two high profile sites that have addressed the ‘long tail of search’ and have built their operating model predominantly around selling high volume at low price, where small margins will collectively add up to large profits – and it’s something that seems to be working really well for them. For the regular customer, the two sites provide a first class online retail experience, often undercutting the high street and even other online retailers. However, the prices quoted on Amazon and Play.com aren’t necessarily the best prices.
As long as you’re willing to accept second hand products, then the Amazon Used and New feature and Play.com’s Playtrade offer the same familiar interfaces of these well regarded sites, but the products here are second hand. All listings include an explanation regarding the condition of the products and it’s not unusual to find used products for half the retail price, or even less!
DVDs and books are the two categories I think benefit most from this new channel to market, and there have even been some commercial companies established (eg Zoverstocks) to capitalise on this second hand market.
For example, a quick comparison at the time of writing shows the sort of savings you can expect:
Iron on DVD retailing for £5.00 (HERE), yet if you look just below this price, you’ll see a Used option, which lists the lowest price that the product is available from, second hand. At the time of writing, there are 23 copies of Iron Man available used on DVD, with the lowest of them being just £0.50! That’s a staggering saving of the retail price… and as long as the condition is suitable for your needs, then why wouldn’t you want to save yourself some money this way.
One word of warning though, with Amazon’s Markeplac (unlike Playtrade), you do have to factor in the cost of delivery too, and these are different to the typical Amazon delivery rates as well. The table below outlines the prices you should expect to pay. Where this is better than the likes of ebay though, is that the delivery rates are fixed – so you don’t have people offering products at low bid prices and then adding on huge delivery costs at the end.
To compare, Iron Man on DVD is available new on Play.com for £5.00 also (HERE) – but on Playtrade, there are 29 used copies available, with the cheapest starting at £2.96 (by the aforementioned Zoverstocks). Importantly, this price includes delivery, so the price you see is the price you pay. I personally find this a much more useful approach.
And it’s not just DVDs you should look for – pretty much anything and everything can be bought new and used on Amazon and Play, from mobile phones and computers to consoles, games and books.