How can Amazon still have such suckass search a quarter century and billions into it?

ditto, with expansion of “try on” to include many things beyond clothes where the precise color, shape, texture, size, whatever is important.

That is “the internet”.
Nothing about that is a property of Amazon.
(In fact this thread is about how much Amazon sucks at that)
Order stuff from the manufacturer, or from a retailer you like.

I think you may be missing @Keeve’s point, about Amazon being one single store/site that sells “everything.”

@Keeve’s example was a long-handled shoehorn. If I wanted to buy a shoehorn (with or without teeth), I would have no clue who manufactures them nor what retailer might carry them, so my first thought would be to look on Amazon, thinking that, if anybody has it, they would.

My first thought for that specific item would be either a men’s shoe store or clothing store that caters to the business class.
Even that’s less certain than Amazon.

Yes, that was exactly my point, thank you.

My experience is that even were I to invest the hour or so of driving to such a store and back, the store would probably have a very small selection to choose from, the longest being 16 inches if I was lucky. Why bother?

In some instances, I’ll buy things in person because it’s quicker. The round-trip to the store, plus the time in the store, is usually no more than an hour. Compare that to days, or even weeks, for an internet purchase to arrive.

That makes sense if it’s something you can’t wait a few days for, like food, for example. It also depends to some extent on where you happen to live.

I live in a rural town with only a few local stores (grocery, hardware, etc.) within a few miles, so if I need something, it’s either a 30 or 90-minute drive, depending on the store I need to go to. If there are a few things and they’re likely to be in a store, I will sometimes drive, especially if I need them sooner rather than later; otherwise, Amazon or eBay work just fine, and almost everything I buy has free shipping and returns. Why spend the time and gas to physically buy something when it can be delivered to my door in usually 2 days? For those of us that don’t live anywhere near a mall or shopping center, it’s a godsend.

The is more to online retailing that just Amazon.

Some manufacturers have gone all-in on Amazon, but most have perfectly serviceable retail channels.

That only makes sense when you know which manufacturer you want. How can I know which manufacturer to shop at?

As an experiment, I tried Google Shopping. If I find something good, then I’ll know the manufacturer, right? In the first two dozen hits, every single offering was either more expensive than Amazon, and/or actually from Amazon, and/or charged extra for shipping, and/or needed more than two weeks of delivery time. From Amazon the shipping was free (admittedly because I pay for Amazon Prime) and instead of arriving today as promised, it arrived yesterday.

Depends. I’m not going to go very far out of my way at all specifically for a brick-and-mortar store, but sometimes it’s really handy to be able to put actual eyes on products. Or ask questions, if the staff is half-competent.

And some things are just not quite there online yet. I mean, I can go buy paint online, but the experience is far less of a hassle just going to the local HD or Sherwin Williams and buying it vs. trying to figure it out online.

“Supply chain issue” = “The dog ate my homework”

To add on to this, Amazon is a store that already has our credit card info, and we trust it. We know how the return process works. We know it’s a real store.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years analyzing online stores for friends who found good deals on cool stuff on other online stores and I’d say about 1/3 of the stores are complete frauds. Google shopping seems to have gotten better at vetting stores but not everyone knows to use that. It’s still really easy to run into an online store that is never going to send you the thing you think you’re buying.

Even though Amazon itself has let some of that same crap element seep in to its listings (see my earlier post in this topic) you still have the protection of buying through Amazon when you use Amazon. It’s way more secure than the wild west of the web.

Was searching Amazon yesterday for two specific products. Kept giving me results that were did not match all the keywords at all. I just gave up. I have no idea how to actually find these products on Amazon.

You’re not going to tell us what they are, so we can try?

The problem with Amazon’s search algorithm is that it is explicitly an “OR” keyword search.
Unlike any other reasonable search engine, the more keywords you add to your search, the more hits you get, instead of what should happen, which is the search should become more specific.

I was looking for toner for my laser printer, so I search for “HP 305A toner,” and instead of getting only toners that match “305A,” I get all kinds of toners, some of which are 305A. I’m sure Amazon is trying to be clever, and “suggest” items that might interest me, but it never works. I ended up buying the wrong toner once because of this, and I made them eat it.