Amazon’s blue Prime logos could soon appear in stores all over the internet, even if you’re not on Amazon.com. In an effort to expand the reach of its prized Prime subscription service, Amazon will allow merchants to pay to add the Prime checkout experience to their own online stores, enabling them to offer the company’s signature quick shipping.
On Thursday, the company announced “Buy with Prime,” a new benefit for Prime members in the U.S. that lets them shop directly via non-Amazon merchants’ sites. Eligible products will feature the Prime logo, and customers will be able to purchase the item with the payment and shipping information in their Amazon accounts. In addition, as with a purchase on Amazon’s own site, customers will receive shipping and delivery notifications after they place an order.
Buy with Prime is Amazon’s latest perk for Prime’s 200 million members, who pay a yearly membership fee of $139. Others include one-day delivery, to access to Prime Video, discounts at Whole Foods, and downloadable Kindle ebooks. Considering they can spend as much as four times more than regular customers, Amazon’s reverence toward them is no surprise.
“With the introduction of Buy with Prime, we’re expanding where members can enjoy trusted and convenient Prime shopping benefits beyond Amazon, adding even more value to their membership,” Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in a press release. “Members will have the flexibility to shop from merchants directly, all while enjoying the fast, free delivery, seamless checkout, and easy returns they’ve come to know and love from Amazon.”
Buy with Prime will not replace all checkout options on a merchant’s site, but rather be featured as an additional option.
On the merchant side, Amazon is marketing Buy with Prime as a new way for sellers to grow their own online stores by using a service that customers already know and trust. Merchants don’t have to be selling items on Amazon’s main site in order to offer the Prime checkout option. The ecommerce giant also boasts that since Buy with Prime automatically fills in a shopper’s payment and shipping information, they are more likely to complete a purchase if merchants offer this checkout option.
This all comes, of course, at a cost.
According to FAQ section on Amazon’s Buy with Prime merchant site, the cost of using the service will depend on many factors, such as product dimensions and weight, average selling price, and number of units per Buy with Prime order. The cost of returns, a staple of Prime membership, will be included in the overall price for merchants.
“Merchants pay for what they use, and all fees, except for those incurred for storage, are charged only after merchants make a sale,” Amazon wrote in the FAQ section.
While that may sound reasonable at first glance, it’s the merchants who will have to make the final call on whether this is worth it or not. Let’s not forget that this is Amazon. The company has been known to “squeeze” the sellers that use its platform or even rip off their products to create and sell its own versions. Yet, in a digital marketplace dominated by Amazon, they may have little choice in the matter.
Buy with Prime is currently available for merchants using Fulfillment by Amazon — a service where businesses ship their products using the company’s mammoth-sized logistics network — on an invitation-only basis. It will roll out to other merchants throughout 2022.