I'm in Canada. If prime were available here, I would rarely go into a store except for groceries. Most other things I need I would just get shipped to me, much easier that way.
Not everyone in the US has figured out that free delivery of supplies is usually easier than driving to the store. But once amazon gets someone inside their ecosystem, it will be much easier to convince them to route more
and more purchases through amazon.
Given the broad range of amazon's offerings, it's a huge mistake to treat them as a book company, or an e-reader company.
While Amazon isn't something I'd think of for groceries (we don't have "Fresh" in the area), there are things that it works well for -- deodorant, dog foods, that sort of thing, and where ordinarily, shipping costs would keep me from buying things online, Amazon has made that barrier go away entirely.
Now I prefer to shop on Amazon wherever I can. Even if the only advantage is one less bag I have to haul from the car to the house, that's often worth it enough for me to buy on Amazon vs. brick and mortar. I won't pay more to shop on Amazon, but for things that are same cost or cheaper, it's usually the way I go, if only to justify my Prime membership.
I also use Amazon for "groceries" just not fresh ones. In the past I've bought snacks, ramen, and peanuts from them.
Presumably they have good knowledge of the distribution of consumer behavior and have figured out how to make money in aggregate, despite the presence of people like me. I agree with Manjoo though, at times it's hard to believe.
Your local safeway had to have that deodorant shipped at some point, too.
Then they had a shop clerk unbox it, put a label on it, place it on a shelf, eventually drag it over a scanner and (in america) put it in a nice brown paper bag for you.
The brown paper bag, the scanner, the shelf, the label, the clerk, and no least the brick & mortar store surrounding all that costs Safeway significant amounts of money - in addition to the truck that initially shipped the deodorant.
Amazon pays only the truck.
2) Overnight shipping is cheap if the distance is short, because then it's really just "shipping a short distance, which happens to be during the night".
3) You still have to pay shipping at Safeway, and you also have to pay for Safeway's smaller economy-of-scale inventory system.
4) Amazon wants you to love shopping with them, and they play the long game. They'll take a loss on deodorant to win a customer.
Also, I accidentally learned that pressing ~ twice while focused on a SlideShare presentation gives you their dev log. http://i.imgur.com/e2rBO.png
But once you've paid it, any given purchase is "should I drive down to the store to get it, Amazon it for 'free', or pay some other retailer for online shipping?". And at that point, the Amazon choice wins more often than not.
And while amazon does incorporate the price of 'free' shipping into their base (I often see, ON AMAZON, the same item from a non-prime-eligible vendor for $4 less than prime elligible), I know that when I order something with prime shipping, it gets there within 2 days at most, and has a hassle free return policy.
So really, the $80 serves too reasons: To defray some of amazon's costs, and to weed out serious buyers from non serious buyers -- they'll lose money on "free shipping" for people who only buy 5 items a year, so they pick a price point which is a no-brainer for anyone whom won't be a losing customer for them.
It's irrational not to use Amazon when you're a Prime member.
I know these comments sound dickish, but I really believe that making a habit out of avoiding the sunk cost fallacy is helpful
I have, within the past month or so, bought inner tubes for my bike, other bicycle accessories for the new bike I just bought (pump, water cage, water bottle, wedge pack), a pair of boots, a new Aeropress, one paperback (for the daugher) and a smattering of Kindle books.
I don't shop just to justify the sunk cost, but it should probably go without saying that while some (or none) of those purchases may not have been the very best price I could have found them for, they were all priced reasonably, and I suspect, well below what I would have found them for at the nearby brick and mortars, without having had to leave the house for it.
That said, ignoring the 'sunk cost fallacy', as the chances of finding 'better-than-Amazon' prices locally are slim to none, I am an idiot if I don't buy from Amazon wherever it makes sense to. Obviously, packs of deodorant and shampoo are borderline, but free shipping on a lawn mower that's half the cost of Home Depot? Ideal use of Prime membership. Not exercising it means paying more, and going through considerably greater effort to do so (lugging the box around, borrowing an appropriate vehicle to carry a lawn mower, etc.)
Almost universally, items under $25 that ship free with Prime are more expensive than on other websites and in local stores. Especially as you get into sub-$10 items I'd normally get at a grocery store or Wal-Mart/Target/etc. The shipping cost is being built into the price.
Stuff that's sub-$10 is either not offered with Prime shipping at all, or is only sold in non-discounted multi-packs. For example, say you need some deodorant. Amazon will gladly sell you some Old Spice Classic... but only in a pack of 6 for $18. I can buy just one at a store for $2.50 or so.
That's the value of Prime for us. When we need a pack of double-A batteries. Or Listerine. Or razor blades. Whatever it may be. It's a matter of supreme convenience and time-save for us to be able to just click, click, click, done. Especially so because our car sits in the garage most of the time. We can't just pop into target on our way home from work on the train. It would be a separate, special trip just for whatever little thing we need.
If prime were available here, I would rarely go into a store except for groceries.
> Is that Amazon’s real goal with the Kindle -- is Amazon in the device business only to sell Prime subscriptions, which the company sees as a key accelerant for sales across the rest of its site? And if that’s the case, how well is that circuitous business model working out? Is the Kindle helping to sell Prime? And are those Kindle-fueled Prime subscriptions moving more sales across the rest of the company’s inventory?
The fact that other people made comments similar to mine tells me that the author's post read as though he hadn't thought through the long run advantages to having prime members, and how average people (and not just the author) are likely to behave once they realize they can get almost anything shipped to their door.
However, you're correct that he did show awareness that this might be amazon's strategy. If he wrote more on this specific point, he might actually agree with everything said here, but have some other doubts we haven't addressed. Who knows.
Remember, recycling is not perfect. It takes energy, and unlike metals and glass, often the recycled material cannot be reused the same way. As a raw material, it has degraded in quality and utility.
Regardless though, Prime still seems like a great business model if it is working for Amazon. Every time I have to order something online that Amazon doesn't carry I always feel like I'm going back to the stone age having to pay $20 for 4 day shipping.
When I need a new pack of dry erase markers, I spend 45 seconds giving Amazon $5. Two days later, I don't have a dry erase marker problem anymore.
I don't really know how I feel about the future world that's created by universal delivery like this, but there's something wonderful about every "pick up x at store" chore being reduced to a few moments.
Variations (e.g., used elsewhere in this discussion, "Exactly this.") also get the downvote.
If we all do "this", we can perhaps stamp out this annoying habit.
It gets worse too, now that I think about it, in that I responded to a comment about the article without having read the article.
I suppose it's contagious? Ug. Now I'm having a crisis. Either way, thanks for pointing out it, however indirectly.
Lol, that's gotta suck :-) I'm sure this sort of stuff has happened to me before...
If you don't want to follow the "this" herd, don't :-)
What you are basically saying is "I use the voting system to attempt to ostracise others because they come from another group". It is never appropriate to dismiss someone who actually has something to say because you don't like their way of saying it.
In a post-modern economy of people handing each other money for entertainment, rather than just food and fuel, I don't want any part of the way I express myself to be "stamped out."
Luckily for you your HN karma, which you will probably try to monetize somehow, cannot be devalued by me, but you can entertain schemes of priggish conformity under my nose.
Pretty cool place!