When I read Nelson's Amazon Prime post, I realized that he said pretty much everything I was going to, including:

The inflection point for me was when Amazon started offering free shipping for orders over $25. I stopped worrying about the friction of buying things, just ordered what I needed and waited. And thanks to Amazon Prime, I don't even have to wait that long. Now that I'm in the club I get everything I want sent to me in two days.

Yup, I was a very happy Amazon.com customer before and now I'm loving it even more. Amazon continues to be my preferred on-line retailer. Or are we still calling them e-tailers? I lost track.

I continue to be baffled by the on-line retailers who haven't learned from Amazon's many examples.

Posted by jzawodn at February 12, 2005 05:57 PM

Reader Comments
# Morgan Schweers said:

It's nice isn't it...? I think mine paid for itself in the first shipment of books, because I always click the 'send as fast as possible, even if it means multiple shipments' button, and it most recently split my order into 5 second-day shipments.

Sure, things like Froogle will find specialty stores, but that's only good for the unusual things I want to buy, not my bread and butter of life. When I buy bread and butter, I don't go to a bread store, then a butter store, I go to an aggregator, a grocery store. I could get better prices or quality at a bakery maybe, but I have to decide whether slightly better bread is worth a special trip. Amazon is my grocery store for nearly everything else, and the only 'special trips' are the products they don't sell, but act as a storefront for. (Those don't benefit from the Prime membership, unfortunately.)

Amazon Prime really rocks, and is a brilliant approach, and even makes the one-click purchasing work, because it comes quickly, and you don't worry about shipping costs boosting the price egregiously. Smart people, very smart.

-- Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

on February 12, 2005 06:43 PM
# Aaron said:

Already subscribed. Now I don't have to figure out which items I want to get to get the most out of the $25 Super Saver Shipping...

on February 12, 2005 06:48 PM
# Mike said:

$79 per year? What a total waste of money. People REALLY have trouble putting together an order for more than $25? Unbelievable.

on February 12, 2005 10:02 PM
# d said:

It may seem like a ripoff, but I think it actually pays for itself if you use Amazon often.

I would go for it, but I only use Amazon every once in awhile (and buy in large quantities so my order goes over $25).

on February 12, 2005 10:42 PM
# Michael Slater said:

The one thing that made me pause (and ultimately not buy) when deciding was that they left some question in my mind as to what merchandise would be covered under the program.

Now I understand ordering couches and tvs and things wouldn't be, but they really didn't even promise "95% of the books are covered" under this plan. My fear is that it becomes "free shipping on garbage we want to liquidate" sort of program. No thanks, I never open "Michael's Gold Box," either.

Since I mostly buy books there, even that simple guarantee would be enough to cinch me.

I have to say, this will definitely cut into my Amazon USED purchases. Lately 80% of my purchases have been through the used section, and my experiences have been fine.

on February 13, 2005 01:57 AM
# Matthom said:

See, I buy "small" things from Amazon - everything from toothpaste and mouthwash. And sometimes I run out of something, and I just want to re-order that single item.

With Amazon Prime, I can do this, and never worry about shipping costs. Plus I get it fast.

I am lazy. I hate going to the store for "odds and ends." I'd rather click an order, and have it at my front door in two days.

Amazon Prime is very nice.

on February 13, 2005 09:47 AM
# Mike said:

I'm sure we'll hear about Matthom on the news and about how paramedics had to cut out a wall to extract him.

on February 13, 2005 11:31 AM
# Ran said:

I get everything within 3 days from their free shipping anyway. So in my case, $79 is a ripoff to get it 1 day faster. Of course we'll probably start seeing random delays in the free shipping now or it being cut all together, which is bad.

on February 13, 2005 01:03 PM
# Nelson said:

Man, Jeremy, your blog commenters are cynics!

on February 13, 2005 01:26 PM
# Mario said:

Depending on how often you shop at Amazon.com the $79 might be worth the it or not. To me, this seems to be a 'Omnia Omnibus Ubique' approach to online shopping - Offer everything (from books to toothpaste) to everyone (from the nerd to the stay-at-home mum) everywhere (look, we ship everywhere - and NOW we even ship faster, for a smaller price than most competitors!)

Will it work? I think so.

on February 13, 2005 11:55 PM
# Aaron said:

You can split it with 4 members of your household. If you use your office or school address, I bet you could find four people to split the cost...$20 is a much better price for the same service.

on February 14, 2005 05:57 AM
# Kenneth said:

I just placed an order today and while I was debating faster shipping or not I remembered the Amazon Prime plan, and how enthused you were. Well I just signed up! I had been ordering a lot of CD's and DVD's from deepdiscountdvd just because they had free ground delivery. I took that into account when I signed up with Amazon because I figure I'll switch back to them with the free 2 days shipping.

is it a gimick? Sure, but one I think that has value for the customer. Maybe someone who only orders a few things a year online won't see that value, but I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars and $80 for fast free shipping for a large component of those orders is an easy sell. I also usually can't decide on gift purchases until the last minute and this is perfect opportunity to expedite the order for $3.99...

This reminds me of the paypal float, think about it they get to sit on the money, possibly earning them interest until you breakeven on the shipping.

on February 15, 2005 02:00 PM
# Goth said:

I seldom ever order small items from Amazon so I don't think this will benefit me. Spending $25 isn't very hard to do.

on February 15, 2005 05:47 PM
# Liz said:

I signed up for Amazon Prime about 10 days ago. I order a lot from Amazon, mostly DVDs and CDs. Their free shippings used to be great. A preordered DVD would ship out the day before release and I'd usually get it a day or two after the official release date. Then they began holding off on shipping preorders if you chose the free shipping option. The last few preorders I placed through Amazon 9with free shipping) I got a week - 10 days later. I decided to go for the Prime membership, so I cancelled all of my orders, signed up and placed my orders again.

Everything I ordered was a future release, except for one CD that was already out. I got the CD *the next day*. I placed an order last Friday for a CD due out on 2/15, and it showed uo on Monday the 14th, the day before the official release.

However, I had an order in for a DVD set also due out on 2/15, and they said it would ship on 2/14, to get to me on 2/16. On 2/15 I saw it still hadn't shipped. I e-mailed them and they said it was a computer glitch and they would ship it ASAP with free Next Day shipping upgrade. I got it today, 2/17. Just one day late but I hope this doesn't become a regular thing with them.

I like not worrying about the $25 minimum for free shipping. Now I can order just one CD or one DVD if I want and know that fast shipping is already taken care of.

on February 17, 2005 09:55 PM
# Nicole Simon said:

I would pay these $79 immediatly but they don't deliver for that price to Germany ;o(

(And the usual shipping costs are really bad too)

on February 20, 2005 05:42 PM
# David Anisman said:

My take on this: it is an experiment to test if they should make this feature available for all at no charge.

I speculate that Amazon has noticed that most customers have no trouble ordering on average at least $25 worth of products and that even with the free delivery option (ie, the "longer" delivery time), most of deliveries happen in 2 to 3 days anyway (that's my experience). FedEx is really good at this, better than UPS.

So after mining their database, they probably believe that the additional elasticity of people buying "everything they need" from Amazon (since this feature pretty much makes that a no-brainer) would more than compensate for the "inefficiency" of those few that order many small items.

So why charge for it now?

I think that they want to first try it before they commit to it. By charging for it now they get a smaller audience to test this with and they reserve the right to cancel this feature without retribution from the customer base (or just leave it as is, with the membership rate)

Based on this, I would not be surprised if this feature becomes available for free in about a year.


on February 21, 2005 06:53 PM
# Rick Mo said:

RE: Amazon.com
Signed up for prime a few weeks ago. What a great idea. Now I notice that a huge chunk of the items sitting in my shopping cart have just had price adjustments--upwards! I guess that's how amazon is going to cover some of the cost of their prime service. I'lll still use 'em cause they're the best. But I'm a little disappointed in the since their come on to sign up indicated that they thought they might take a hit introducing prime. Maybe, but not too much of a hit, given the incremental price increases on tons of items.


on March 2, 2005 04:47 PM
# John said:

I just noticed that Amazon Prime seemed to raise all the prices on my wish list as well. Now CDs are suddenly list price.

I guess it was too good to be true.

on February 25, 2006 04:00 PM
# Jason said:

I have also noticed that Amazon has started to raise the prices on items that are available in the Prime program, probably in response to the increasing pressure to curtail the costs of this program. Even worse, I even found that when I logged in from another machine, the prices DID NOT increase for my anonymous shopper, which was very discouraging. Even though I loved the service, I would have to say that I would no longer recommend Prime to anyone. After paying $70, I now have to pay MORE for my items as well? No thanks, Amazon.

on May 20, 2006 05:49 AM
# Nikk Folts said:

Yeah, I've been a prime member for over a year and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made... I hate paying for shipping, and now I don't have to... I hate waiting, and now I don't have to...

on August 4, 2006 01:33 PM
# Gerry said:

Jason, thats down right criminal!! if I found an instance of that sort of thing I'd take screenshots and make it known that Amazon.com screws their loyal customers!! those bastards!!!!

on August 18, 2006 05:08 AM
# asdf jklsemicolon said:

yeah, that's definitely not true, sorry.

PRIME ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

on October 27, 2006 12:46 AM
# ranron said:

I've been on the Prime program for over a year and half now and it's paid off. I've always paid for overnight shipping before Prime and now with it, I've save thousands of dollars on shipping. Yes, I buy a lot. It used to be just a lot of books and DVDs, now I buy electronics such as TVs, DVD players, etc. The great part is now I don't have to waste time running to the local shops and then finding out that the model I want isn't available and have to settle for a compromise.

I can't understand how some people find it hard to believe that I can't get up to $25 to settle for super-saver? I simply want my items fast and not buy five books when I want one. I hate it when my item costs $5 and the shipping is $15 or $20.

Prime solves my problems, saves me tons of money on shipping (even if I buy more now-->which is justifiable), and definitely gets me to buy more from Amazon (because I save and get it fast!).

on November 19, 2006 09:26 PM
# said:

I knew Amazon Prime was going to suck when I ordered something a week before Christmas, they shipped it with DHL, and DHL handed the package off to the US Postal Service. So, the package didn't arrive in two days (didn't even arrive by Christmas), and I had no options. I got a half-apologetic/half-condescending email from a customer service rep in India, and no promise that I wouldn't have to deal with DHL again.

You might be able to tell I'm still pretty steamed about it. I'm waiting for a package right now that I ordered two days ago. It shipped today. Where did my free 2-day shipping go? I wish I could just get my money back for Amazon Prime...

on May 15, 2008 01:02 PM
# ChrisV said:

For those of you with Prime memberships, here’s a good website for searching for Amazon Prime items:

on September 7, 2008 06:28 PM
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