Amazon recently announced that they will be increasing the price of their Prime service to $99 a year. That’s a $20 increase from $79 a year. While this may seem like a huge bump in your planned budget, you’ve got to take into account that Amazon has been running at a loss for quite some time in order to gain and hold dominance of online purchasing. Those in the know have expected the price increase to come eventually, and due to Amazon’s quarterly earnings report, the time is now. Don’t let it put you off though, the benefits of having an Amazon Prime account haven’t diminished, and are still competitive to the alternatives. As we are sure many of you are wondering if Amazon is still worth it, we’ve compiled a list to help guide your decision.
1. Price per Month Isn’t That Bad
With the current pricing schedule being $79 per year, your cost per month for Amazon Prime was 6.58 a month. With the cost for a prime account going up $20 a year to $99, you’ll now have to budget for 8.25 a month. That’s less than having two Venti Caramel Frappuccino’s at $tarbucks. If broken down monthly, the price increase is only $1.67. You probably have more than that just sitting in that random spot where you keep your change.
2. Still Competitive with Netflix
Netflix currently charges $7.99 a month for access to their streaming titles. That’s it. $7.99 doesn’t get you a DVD in the mail once a month, nor any of Amazon Prime’s other offered services. While Netflix has a very robust library of TV Shows you can stream, they’ve recently lost a significant amount of Movie titles from their available streaming options. Amazon however, has been increasing their movie library and even have many cult films that you aren’t likely going to find on Netflix. The $.26 a month difference between each is negligible, and may just be likely to shrink if Netflix opts to increase their subscription costs which is somewhat likely since they’ve opted to pay ISP’s for Bandwidth usage. F&c*ing Politicians!
3. Free Kindle Access
Having an Amazon Prime Account gives you access to 500,000 Kindle titles. Sure, you’ll probably have to access them via Amazon’s free Kindle reading app if you don’t own a Kindle device of your own, but hey, an e-reader is an e-reader, right? How often have you been told about a book that you’ve decided you want to read only to either completely forget the title or forget to head to a physical book store? It’s happened to us twice in the last week alone. With Amazon, all you have to do is type it into the search box and if it’s available, download it.
4. “Free” Two-Day Shipping
This. The biggest perk of having an Amazon Prime account is the free two day shipping on select products. Of course, Amazon couldn’t and wouldn’t apply free shipping to everything they offer, that’s just ridiculous. There are, however, thousands upon thousands of items that are qualified for Prime shipping, all of which can be yours with the simple click of a mouse button. Before Prime, people would have to add an item to checkout, see how much the shipping would cost and then compare that total with going to a physical store and picking up the product themselves. Prime relives people of this hassle as shipping costs become irrelevant.
5. Great for Small Businesses
For those running their own companies, either out of home or in a rented space, Prime is virtually a must have. Especially if your business requires stationary, jump drives or sand for ashtrays. Yes, there are other retailer’s that provide these things through online shops, but how many of them ship to your office for free? Those that do tend to have higher costs per item, not always of course, but often enough to be used here. Also, for a business, $99 a year for shipping costs is amazing. A box of pens and 10 reams of paper can cost that much to ship alone, dropping Prime for a price increase of this size is absurd.
6. Impulse Buyer’s Dream
We’ve all been there. You’re in one store or another and you’ve picked up all the items you require only to step into the cue and see two or three more products that you want at relatively low prices. What do you do in that situation? More than likely, you pick up at least one of those items, thinking you’ve saved yourself another trip. The same thing applies here with Amazon Prime. Amazon, like Google and the oh so many other online companies, tracks what you’ve viewed and purchased and makes recommendations to you based on your personal history. While it may seem like an invasion of your privacy, it helps to guarantee that you are rarely presented with recommended products that you don’t need or want, making your impulse buys far less wasteful. We’ve been saved on several occasions by adding one or two three dollar purchases to an Amazon order only to find out that it was something I really needed just a few days after delivery.
7. Get it ASAP
Yes, there are occasions in which you may find a product available online for a few dollars cheaper than you would on Amazon including shipping costs. In times like those, not choosing that option is silly, especially when you don’t need that item in hand right away. Prime’s 2-day shipping comes in handy most when you’ve realized that you’re out of an item you desperately need in hand immediately. In those cases, price isn’t the largest factor, speed is. If you’ve got a Prime account, you can be certain, that if the product is listed with “Free 2 day shipping”, that the delivery truck will be stopping by in two days’ time without the added cost of rush delivery. This came in handy when a spur of the moment camping trip came up and we were short on camping supplies. We even got the stuff delivered to the campsite office the day we checked in.
8. Consolidation of Payments
Amazon hit a home run when the made the decision to include access to streaming TV and movies, Shipping, eBooks and special discounts together under one service with a single bill. Sure, they’ve increased their competitors by doing so, but at the same time, they nearly negate the need for their customers to even consider their competitors. With all the services encompassed under the Prime banner, subscribers have little incentive to go to Target.com for household items. They’re also less likely to sign up for Netflix or Hulu, although exclusive shows such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are completely valid reasons to subscribe to both. If you’re starting a new family and expendable cash isn’t something that’s in excess, Amazon Prime will continue to be a benefit to you. Allotting $8.25 a month to keep you, your spouse and child(ren) entertained all year, while also being able to have necessities such as diapers, formula and ever changing sizes of children’s clothes delivered to your doorstep is indispensable.
There ya go folks! If you’re seriously considering whether or not you should keep your Amazon Prime account going, we’ve given you eight good reasons to do so. They can also be reason not to, depending on your needs. We’re not here to tell you that it’s a requirement or that it’s a service that you really need to have, we just want to help you make your own, well informed decision. If what we have listed above doesn’t apply to you, then you may end up choosing to end your Prime membership at the end of your next billing cycle. Whichever you choose, make sure the decision is right for you.
Also, you can still get in on the lower price of $79.00 per year if you sign up for Prime before March 20th. That’s one week from today folks. If you’re not quite ready to drop $79 right now, Amazon’s offering a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime which will lock you in to the lower annual price before the increase is implemented. If you chose that Amazon Prime isn’t for you, just cancel your Prime subscription before Amazon auto-withdraws the subscription funds before your 30 days are up.
Jordan Goodson, the geek in the darkness, guiding his readers through the vast catacombs of tech and science. He journeys the interwebs searching for any and all relevant data to be absorbed and shared.