Monday, 11 December, 2017

Amazon launches Prime membership in Singapore to attract customers

Amazon Handmade items will be delivered through the online retailer’s two-hour delivery service Prime Now which normally carries household convenience items Amazon launches Prime membership in Singapore amid SE Asia push; stops free shipping option
Garry Little | 07 December, 2017, 02:07

While free shipping and the ability to purchase global goods at lower cost are Amazon's main draw for Singaporeans, it has upped its features to include streaming with the launch of Amazon Prime.

Amazon.com today launched its subscription-based Prime service in Singapore that provides access to fast shipping, streaming and gaming, intensifying competition with incumbent rival Alibaba-backed Lazada in Southeast Asia.

According to a press release, Singapore customers will be able to enjoy Prime benefits including exclusive access to free two-hour delivery on orders over $40 and unlimited free worldwide shipping on orders above $60.

This follows news that the American e-commerce giant has ended its FREE AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping service yesterday, 5 December. A message on the checkout page of Amazon's USA store now states that "items shipped to addresses outside the U.S. are not eligible for free shipping".

A SmarterHQ report claims 82 percent of Amazon's Prime users - consumers who pay an annual fee for two-day free shipping on a good majority of items - would cancel the Prime subscription if that free, two-day shipping was not available.

The local Prime membership benefits do not apply to items bought on Amazon websites in other countries, however, and customers with existing US Prime memberships can not convert them to local ones.

But for a limited period, it goes for $2.99 a month, although Amazon did not specify for how long.

Membership in the USA costs US$10.99 a month or US$99 a year, and provides access to a slew of services such as music streaming, free same-day delivery and even restaurant delivery in certain areas.

But customers who do not have a Prime membership in the United States can enjoy free delivery within the country for orders totalling US$25 or more on eligible items.

Speaking about the launch of Amazon Prime, Jamil Ghani, vice-president of Amazon Prime International, said, "Prime membership is created to offer the best of Amazon".

"The Prime programme in every geography is custom designed for that region".

Mr Amos Tan, a Singapore Polytechnic senior lecturer in marketing and retail, said Amazon's removal of free shipping for non-members is a way of trying to lock in more customers. We found that people aren't going to Amazon to browse; rather, they have very specific items in mind.

Prime membership is country-specific and not transferable, he added, meaning that those with US Prime memberships can not convert them to local ones.

Amazon has just extended its e-commerce tendrils even deeper into the Singapore market.

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