Amazon.com HQ signage

Amazon.com

We are in the midst of an internet shopping revolution. We can order any product at any time using any device we have with us. To top it all off, we can have it sent to us within 90 minutes or less. How has this changed shopping? Why does it become necessary to have access to millions of products at the touch of a button?

This intermediate lesson explores the new and fascinating world of amazon.com and how online shopping is shaping our everyday behaviour.

  • Language level: B1+
  • Aim: To discuss the development of online shopping, consumerism and how business developed around a growing trend.
  • Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
  • Time: 45 – 60 minutes
  • Activities includedDiscussing quotes, conversation questions, presentationimage discussion
  • Topic: Online shopping and consumerism
  • Language: Any (could pre-teach modals to prepare for this lesson)
  • Materials: Text and images

Useful vocabulary

  1. window shopping – when you’re not buying but simple looking through the shop window to see what they have for sale.
  2. tight budget – when you have little money and you want to spend it wisely.
  3. to be careful with money – spend money wisely.
  4. high street names – big companies that are very common in a country.
  5. independent stores – single owner shops who work for themselves.
  6. snap up a bargain – quickly find items that are cheap and grab them before anyone else does.
  7. give me the hard sell – when a salesperson is perhaps a little too pushy is selling something.
  8. value for money – when we feel you paid a good price for something, not cheap, and not expensive.
  9. loyalty cards – customers have these cards to collect points when they shop at a store. The points can be used to get discounts.
  10. carrier bag – British English for a plastic bag.

Online shopping (Amazon etc) printable worksheet

thumbnail of Amazon.comthumbnail of Images for class

Did you know?

  1. The founder, Jeff Bezos, started the company in his own house.
  2. He wanted to call the company “Cadabra” like a magician says “Abracadabra”
  3. When the company started, it only sold books.
  4. The first books sold was about philosophy.
  5. In the early days, when the company sold an item, Jeff would ring a bell in the office. Great for motivating people.
  6. Amazon now has more than 125,000 employees in 2018.

Quotations

“The terrible thing about the Internet and Amazon is that they take the magic and happy chaos out of book shopping. The Internet might give you what you want, but it won’t give you what you need.”
– Tom Hodgkinson

“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
– Jeff Bezos

Questions

• Have you heard of Amazon.com? Do you use their shopping services?
• Does the company offer value for money?
• How did the company start? What was the first ever sale?
• Has Amazon made online shopping more enjoyable?
• Do you trust the company?
• How does the company treat its employees? Are they paid well?
• Does the company encourage consumerism?
• Amazon has been revealed to be paying extremely low levels of tax in almost every country they operate in, should they pay more?
• Should they be punished for paying the legal minimum amount of tax?
• The company now sells almost all types of products from food to household goods. Should there be a limit to the scale of their operations?
• Independent books shops have made repeated claims that Amazon has deliberately tried to run them out of business by operating without a profit. If true, what should be done about it?
• Are companies like Amazon good for the environment? Why or why not?

Presentation

Imagine you work for a rival online retail company which is losing money to Amazon. Create a presentation which can be used to persuade the directors to implement changes and make your company a real competitor to Amazon again.

Links

You can read more about the company here on Britannica

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