But in the end, the person shopping on the site is still an Amazon customer. There's really no other direct marketing from the retail partner. This isn't to say that a customer is somehow being fooled. Though Circuit City recently ended its partnership with Amazon to start its own web business, when the company was a partner, Sadowski says, "We're very explicit if you go into the shopping cart, to tell the customer, 'You are purchasing this from Circuit City.'"
In addition to retail partners, Amazon also offers a used buy and sell option for customers. "There's a link at the bottom [of the product page] that says, 'See all new and used.' And that's what we call the Marketplace," says Sadowski. "If you have a Canon camera and you want to buy a new one—you have last year's and you want to buy the five megapixel—you want to get rid of last year's camera, you could do it in five minutes. You could set yourself up as a seller and list against that product page with your own price and your own availability statement. It is a free marketplace for used products."
The used marketplace is more of a bonus to the shopper than a hardcore revenue stream, which is an example of why it may be that Amazon is so successful. Those details that may otherwise be looked upon as incidental are considered critical to the overall experience. If you accuse anyone at Amazon of not being able to offer a customized experience like one finds in a brick and mortar, they'll each give you several examples of why this is not true.