A friend gave us an Amazon gift card to bid us good luck when he heard about our move to Silicon Valley. He also suggested we look into the Amazon Prime membership because its services are available only in the United States. Since this introduction, we’ve been Amazon Prime members and fans.
When we first landed in Silicon Valley (a new country and area), I didn’t know where to shop for specific items – like which store carried my favourite La Roche-Posay sunscreen or where to buy more Kusmi Tea. Every time I was stuck on a shopping problem, Amazon usually had the answers.
Fast forward 2 years since our move to Silicon Valley, and we are still avid Amazon customers despite being pretty familiar with the shopping scene here now. Amazon has changed our shopping lives.
The $79 per year Amazon Prime membership fee seemed steep at first, but after using its range of service benefits during our free trial month, we were happy and hooked. Amazon Prime’s best feature is their free no minimum 2-day shipping. No more cases of forcing to find items to purchase and make Amazon’s $25 USD minimum order size for free standard shipping (3-5 business days)! I decided to put their free 2-day shipping to the test and purchased ONLY a set of 3 compact letter openers for $1.78 USD. This package arrived in the mail in 2 business days. We bought a 42″ LCD television, and received it on our doorstep within 2 days of completing the order. Fantastic!
Here are what the Amazon Prime benefits look like (as of 2014):
— free 2-day shipping with no minimum order size *
— unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and tv episodes **
— one Kindle book to borrow for free each month with over 350,000 Kindle titles to choose from
— up to four household members can share Prime shipping benefits for free
* The free 2-day shipping applies only to the items that Amazon sells (millions of items). If the item is sold by a third party, then shipping costs and times may differ. You’ll find the blue “Prime” logo beside items that are eligible for 2-day Amazon Prime shipping.
** My previous article refers to Amazon’s Instant Videos – see article “Happy Without TV Cable“.
Amazon also has similar membership programs catered for students and moms – check out Amazon Student and Amazon Mom.
|This is how the different Amazon programs stack up to each other (as of 2013/2014):|
|$/year (USD)||Trial Length (FREE)||Shipping Time (FREE)||Instant Video Streaming||Kindle Book Rentals||Membership Sharing||Promos|
|Amazon (non-membership user)||free||3-5 business day shipping w/ $25 USD minimum order||paid selection only||paid selection only|
|Amazon Prime||$79||1 month||2-day shipping||free and paid selection||free and paid selection||up to 4 family household members|
|Amazon Mom||$79||3 months **||2-day shipping||free and paid selection||free and paid selection||up to 4 family household members||20% off diapers/wipes subscriptions
20% off family essentials subscriptions
|Amazon Student||$39||6 months **||2-day shipping||free and paid selection||free and paid selection||YES|
|** Amazon Mom and Amazon Student free trial months exclude access to Prime Instant Videos, Kindle book rentals and membership sharing.|
|Amazon Prime, Amazon Mom or Amazon Student memberships do not have special benefits to other Amazon websites, like MYHABIT or Woot.|
Amazon shopping is easy, but exchanges and returns can be a little complicated depending on your method of payment and whether the item was sold by a third party. Make sure the item is returnable, and always review the return policy before making your purchase – just in case things don’t work out as expected. Don’t forget to keep ALL of the packaging materials – boxes and inflatable air bags too. You’ll need those to send back your items.
Amazon pricing is usually comparable to brick-and-mortar stores and other online retailers. But don’t take my word for it 🙂 Browse Amazon for yourself, or use the Amazon App. The Amazon App has a handy feature that automatically searches for a product on Amazon (including its description, customer reviews, pricing, etc.) when a product’s UPC bar code is scanned into the app.
Amazon Prime has been working really well for us. Perhaps you may find the membership suitable for you too.
CAUTION: After signing up for Amazon Prime, you may experience over eagerness to shop on Amazon at all hours of the day and night. You may find yourself purchasing a few too many items too easily. When the packages start piling up at your door/mailbox and you find yourself making too many runs to the cardboard recycling bin, you’ll know you’ve been bitten by the Amazon bug. We definitely did. But don’t worry, you’ll be in good company, there is a community of Amazon Prime addicts.
• Confession: I’m Addicted to Amazon Prime (ApartmentTherapy.com)
• Time Tech: Why I’m Addicted to Amazon
• HubPages: 5 Reasons Why I am Addicted To Amazon.com
• 3 Reasons I’m addicted to Amazon.com (JGWaters.com)
• San Jose Mercury News: Confessions of an Amazon addict
Happy Amazon shopping!