Sunday, April 7, 2013

Prime the pump!

Do you use Amazon Prime? I've been an Amazon Prime customer for a long time now, and I am still wondering how they came up with the amount of $79 per year for the service.

Prime works like this: For $79 annually, you get unlimited movie and TV streaming, one free borrowed eBook per month, and automatic two-day shipping on nearly everything you buy (with no minimum dollar amount). Awesome, right?

Let's start with the streaming. Amazon has vastly expanded its movie and TV show libraries over the past year, to the point where it's much more competitive with Netflix. However, not everything I found on the latter was available on Amazon Prime. But there is plenty of good stuff to watch, and Prime streaming has expanded to more devices -- including, most recently, the iPhone and iPod Touch. If you're already a Netflix subscriber, there's no reason to join up with Amazon Prime - if you're motivated (solely) by the free streaming.

What about the book deal? Although the Prime Lending Library now includes over 280,000 titles, including the Harry Potter series, they're mostly older reads. I think in my Prime membership, I've found exactly one book I wanted to borrow. And Amazon still makes it a pain to browse the catalog, especially on your PC. So as much as I like the e-book loans in principle, for me the book lending is of no value. If you are a student, this might be a great value.

Now, let’s talk free two day shipping.

Two-day delivery, with no minimum purchase, no weight limits is the best thing ever. I buy a lot of stuff online, especially around the holidays, and Prime makes this kind of shopping pure pleasure. Not only does it rescue me when I'm late to buy a gift, it also makes impulse shopping a lot more fun.

Recently we made a list of all of the household items that we buy weekly. All the non-perishable stuff like paper towels, soap, dog food, cereal, canned foods, etc. Guess what - you can get all of it from Amazon, shipped to your door, with free shipping and save the sales tax. Now going to the grocery store is a breeze - more than half the shopping list is taken care of with free delivery and automatic built-in savings. No more “coupon clipping” as Amazon does this for you as well. If you find something cheaper, they give you a free $25 Amazon gift card. Sales tax here in New Jersey is 7%, so we are saving $7 per $100. The government might change that one day, but for now, no sales tax for online purchases is 7% off the weekly grocery bills. That 7% makes up for the $79 annual fee fast!

I see a book or a video that I want to watch, I have it in seconds on my iPad. I need a gift for someone, they have it at their door in 2 days, gift wrapped and via free shipping. I have saved untold hours in shopping for groceries, and we never run out of toilet paper.

Got a kid in college? Elderly parent living alone? Amazon Prime makes it easy to setup automatic delivery of goodies to those that you love (like your dog or cat).

Is Amazon Prime worth $79 per year? I say hell yes.

Why is everyone not doing this?  If you are looking for a great gift to give someone, give them a $79 Amazon Prime membership. Why Amazon is not spelling out the guaranteed savings (like the free shipping and the built-in savings in both time and money) is beyond me. Someone in the Amazon marketing department needs to be fired, in my humble opinion.

Maybe I should write an eBook on this topic and sell it on Amazon.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

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