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When you think about it, there are really two major online players that have changed the way we shop… eBay and Amazon. Brick-and-mortar stores from monolithic malls to mom and pop bookstores have felt the mighty footprints of these two online juggernauts.
Why get in the car and battle traffic and crowds when you can flop on the couch for a little point/click/shop? (And cuddle the cat at the same time!)
We’re taking a look at Amazon here, and specifically, their Prime service for those of us who #needitnow. Doesn’t matter if it’s a garden hose or a Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 CD—chances are if you click before a certain time, in two days it’s on your porch in that familiar box.
(Amazon Trivia: Do you know the smiling Amazon logo has a hidden meaning? It does. Answer is at the end of the article if you want to cheat and find out now.)
Amazon Prime is just coming off another one of its massive Prime Day promotions. Think they do good business this way? Try 398 orders per second for last year’s debut. PER SECOND.
Besides the obvious two-day shipping on almost anything your heart desires, here are some other reasons why you might want to try a $99/year Amazon Prime membership. (Related: Seven free perks you get with Amazon Prime you may not know about.)
Free shipping. Non-Prime users can get free shipping, too—but they have to spend at least $49 dollars for merchandise, and at least $25 for books. This is the biggest hook for most of us. The gotta-get-it-now syndrome.
Prime Video: Similar to Netflix; go to their site and click on a movie. Watch it on most any mobile device. It’s been my experience, though—also just like Netflix, there are a few good titles and a lot of lousy ones. Quantity does not equate to quality—how many Adam Sandler movies can one watch, after all?
Prime Music: You can stream music just like Pandora, Spotify and Google Play. Those services have free options, though if you are considering Prime for other reasons, this is a nice perk.
Prime Photos: Unlimited photo storage in Amazon Drive. Personal observation: I have found uploading to Amazon Drive very frustrating—many uploads fail for no apparent reason, but this is definitely a perk in theory.
Those are the big assets. There are other parts to the Amazon Prime puzzle, too:
- Two adults in the same household can share an account via “Amazon Household.”
- Prime Now is a mobile app where you can get items delivered (you need to live in certain cities) in one to two hours. This includes food deliveries, too!
- Lightning Deals, Prime members get access to Amazon’s limited-time sales a half-hour before mere mortals.
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: Check out more than 800,000 e-book titles. Borrow one per month, with no due date, and one pre-released book a month with Kindle First.
- And then we have Amazon Family. Prime members save 20 percent off diaper subscriptions.
OK, so those are the pros for Amazon Prime, but what about the flip side to that coin?
- As it said on Consumer Reports, the Amazon Prime Day—billed as a big deal for Prime members—was referred to as a “cruddy garage sale.” In other words, they found the stuff under the shelves way in the back, blew the dust off, and said “Here! Get ’em while they last!”
- If you don’t place many Amazon orders, the fast shipping (and overall annual savings) may not be the enticement for you that it is for others. You can try Prime out for a month, however, and cancel anytime. If you don’t cancel before the trial ends, your card will absolutely get billed.
- If you find that Walmart.com carries many of the products you’d consider buying on Amazon, you may want to check out its ShippingPass, which is $49 for a year’s worth of two-day shipping (Walmart also offers a 30-day free trial, so you could test out both memberships). It doesn’t carry as many of the additional perks as Amazon Prime does, but it’s also half the price.
*The secret behind the Amazon logo? They have everything from A-Z: