AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Fri Jan 20 2023 23:56:16

Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Shoppers say they are rethinking Amazon in light of its decision to end its Amazon Smile charity program. "Well, if @amazon is cutting back spending and ending #AmazonSmile, then I similarly can cut back spending and shift all of my family's necessities and consumables to other vendors," a customer tweeted upon hearing the news.

The Amazon Smile program allowed customers to sign up and select their favorite charity and - as long as they shopped by visiting smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com - Amazon would donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the chosen charity. There was no cost to the shopper - as the Amazon Smile landing page explained, "Same products, same prices, same service."

But on January 18, 2023, Amazon announced it would end the program on February 20th. "In 2013, we launched AmazonSmile to make it easier for customers to support their favorite charities. However, after almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations - more than 1 million globally - our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin."

But what Amazon called "spread too thin" was what small organizations considered so crucial. One person using the program to raise funds tweeted on Wednesday, "Amazon claims the Amazon Smile program didn't have an impact. I can tell you as an animal not for profit it made a huge difference to us. That $9400 meant the world. That isn't nothing to us."

Amazon said in Wednesday's announcement that while it was ending the program, it would continue to make charitable donations "where we've seen we can make meaningful change." But that message did not land as people reacted with shock, disappointment, and cynicism.

Josh Goldman, a prominent Venture Capitalist with deep ecommerce and Internet background, was among those questioning the reason behind the decision to end Amazon Smile, tweeting the following on Wednesday evening:

"Boo @amazon - shutting down AmazonSmile. This was such a great way to support many worthy organizations. Their excuse that it didn't live up to expectations doesn't ring true. Seems more like corporate pressure to eke out a few more points of margin."

An EcommerceBytes reader who called AmazonSmile "a godsend for many local and regional charities over the past decade" did say it was commendable that Amazon intended to continue making donations to various projects of their choosing, but said they believed Amazon was shooting itself in the foot. 

"The main reason I have been such a loyal shopper on Amazon for so many years is because it gave me the ability to help charities I support through AmazonSmile, namely animal shelters and rescues. Now I won't have the same enthusiasm for Amazon, or brand loyalty," the reader stated.

Amazon said in its announcement that once AmazonSmile closed, "charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists." But that requires shoppers to pay for donations out of their own pocket.

Amazon may have been surprised by the attention the announcement garnered, from social media to television news programs. In a world where everyone is of divided opinion, many seemed united in their feeling of disappointment.

Will the demise of Amazon Smile have a lasting impact on shopper behavior and impact sales of third-party sellers who account for nearly 60% of unit sales on the marketplace?

Comments (10) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

This user has validated their user name. by: COVID-19

Sat Jan 21 00:35:15 2023

Meh. Of all the reasons to avoid Amazoo (horrible search engine, scammy 'Buy Box' favoritism, etc.), this is the one to do it over?

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: StayFoolish This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 21 14:32:32 2023

To me, it seems Amazon is turning its back on small charities in order to bankroll a few mega-size vanity projects. Undoubtedly the future donations they make will be greatly appreciated by the select beneficiaries whom they choose to fund, but it will be at the expense of many thousands of worthy nonprofits that have worked hard at the grassroots level to urge supporters to buy through AmazonSmile. Shutting down AmazonSmile will take away the one and only method local nonprofits have at their disposal to reach such an immense global audience of shoppers whose purchases automatically translate to donations. Amazon should have thought this over more carefully. It will change my buying habits because I will no longer have the incentive to buy items from them that are just as easily purchased at the supermarket or drugstore. I hope they will reconsider.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 22 10:40:16 2023

Well, it sure can’t be good news for the ‘charities’.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: Nonesuch This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 00:08:27 2023

I doubt it will have much if any impact on buyer decisions.   Aside from that, just another unfortunate example of corporate greed at the expense of the less fortunate or on good works.  Obviously Amazon made the announcement BEFORE they spoke to Wall Street analysts.    

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: Dragonfyree This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 06:09:05 2023

I support DNA Doe Network on it and I do actually use it more because of that.  Instead of getting things at my local store, I will purchase from Amazon, I had my two sons put it on their Amazon accounts as well.  

With some of the smaller charities it might make a difference.  I do support them directly, but it was so convenient to use at Amazon to give them just a little more.  

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 08:06:20 2023

Our collectible association was receiving over half their yearly budget from the Amazon donations from member purchases so this will have a major impact and most members nationwide are already saying they will no longer shop on Amazon.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: Momcat55 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 08:22:36 2023

Amazon has no clue how much the "small" donations from them helped our local no-kill animal shelter. We know. I always liked the ability to control where my donations went, as opposed to someone choosing where they wanted the funds to go.

I will continue to control where I spend my money, and it will be less and less on Amazon. You guys really blew it.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: MrTommy7 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 11:33:15 2023

We have used AmazonSmile for years to help support the arts commission where my spouse works. Unfortunately, very few others have (a few dollars per month coming to them through Smile), so this change is not significant to them or us personally.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

by: kvl1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 23 13:29:29 2023

I totally agree with StayFoolish. I also will add that Amazon does not realize the goodwill feelings they are losing with this action, not only from the small charities, but also from customers like me. I felt really positive when buying from Amazon knowing a portion of my purchase was going to a charity of my choice. That's gone, and will definitely influence where I choose to buy things in the future.

Perminate Link for Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?   Will End of Charity Program Hurt Amazon's Sales?

This user has validated their user name. by: Working It

Wed Jan 25 14:32:14 2023

The small, local non-profit that I have supported through Amazon Smile is choosing NOT to have an Amazon wish list, at this time.
They feel that if Amazon is withdrawing support for their organization, then they will withdraw support for Amazon.
They have, instead, chosen to post a wish list on their own website, allowing supporters to purchase the items wherever they choose. It may be Amazon, but it may be a different online store or local outlet. Donor's choice.



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.