Thursday, September 20, 2012

Amazon Prime- The Single's Costco

The other day, I was sitting in suburbia with my girlfriend and we had a conversation about Costco.

N:  I love Costco, we get everything there. You can get a gigantic thing of hummus and even DVD's for really affordable.
Me: That's awesome, but you live in a house. I live in 700 square feet and have no idea where I would put a year's worth of Toilet Paper...
N: True, but if you ever want to get food, steak, chips, drinks... you should give us a call!

Yeah, Costco is awesome.

I think I got a box of 96 Batteries there once, but the membership dues + the amount of things that I could get there... really doesn't make sense for my life style. After all, space + how much I actually consume + what services they offer... I can't justify paying the $50.00 membership fee.

What I really get behind is Amazon Prime.

I got hooked into Amazon Prime a few years ago when they upgraded everyone up to Prime to try it out.

Initially I scoffed at the idea of paying 80.00 some dollars to just get upgraded shipping. At the time Amazon actually delivered their Ground Shipping faster than the 3-7 business days they advertised... so, I didn't really value 2 day shipping. Not sure if was deliberate, but after my free period wore off... it seemed that the 3-7 days actually was taking the 7 days.... and it left me missing the 2 day shipping.

A year later, I decided to try out the Prime Membership again. For three weeks I had the upgraded shipping, but they then added a function that I was actually interested in. I could borrow Kindle books (The Kindle is still my favourite piece of technology to date). However, I decided to cancel the membership having done about 40 some dollars in shipping and didn't pay anything. *Props to Amazon's customer service.

Last year this time I decided to take the plunge.
Already, I was an avid Amazon buyer. About once a month I would make some sort of purchase. With my iPhone and the Amazon Scan It and Snap it app + my Kindle reading habit + the affiliation... Amazon was becoming one of my most frequently visited websites. Before pinterest, I was using the Amazon "ADD TO WISHLIST" button to collect the things that I wanted to find somewhere else. In addition, my Roku player (which has since replaced my Apple TV) had Amazon as one of it's player options... and I had access to many of the TV Shows and Videos...

Admittedly, it wasn't the services that initially pulled me into the membership but ironically the free shipping. In my full time job working with Universities I found myself having to send book samples to professors on a regular basis. Having booked shipped to me, then having to pack it into a Fed-Ex box and ship it to the professor just seemed to be a very inefficient and needlessly resource expensive. Even though I wasn't allowed to put the membership as a work expense, I decided to buy it myself. A lot like when people bring a custom chair or cushion to their work cubicle to make doing their job much more enjoyable... not having to deal with shipping textbooks became appealing.

Shipping over 15-20 books a month + buying miscellaneous things like Soldering Flux, irons, used books, laptop cables, iPhone cases... it was starting to add up.

Then, I decided to try something new.
I travel a lot. Last time I calculated it, I am on the road about 70% of the time. Example: I had moved back to Dallas August 2011. By January 2012, I had been in Dallas a gross total of 34 Days (including weekends). When I am home, I spend my time having to re-pack, do laundry and get ready for my next trip... which leaves very little time for shopping. Needing Conditioner, a new razor, a facebrush replacement, some ziplock bags and ink cartridges for my fountain pen... I decided to buy all of it on Amazon.

Two days later and three boxes, they were all waiting for me nicely piled on my desk when I returned from a day trip to Houston.

Then, I got truffle oil, gesso, a tomato knife, paper towels and shower-gel.

Then Clay picks (had to make a model for someone), photography printing paper, ink for my printer and a USB Battery pack.

It was becoming more appealing to quickly cart something on my phone or computer... and have it sent knowing it would arrive in a few days...

Add in the lending for Kindle
The Free Audible Downloads for Prime Members
The access to Amazon TV
Letting me add three people to my account to use my Prime Membership.
Using a WishList like a shopping list
Being able to manage an address book of Professors.
The upgraded shipping.
and I'm officially hooked.

I don't need the bulk toilet paper, or steak by the cow's entire left side... what I need is something that is convenient and is able to cover my many whims and needs at the time I have them. Add in the added benefit of not having to go to the store and deal with all of the overhead of people... I can spend that time doing other things I enjoy.

Face Lotion
The Ad from Target that gets shipped to everyone.

I'm sure it's a matter of time for Amazon to partner with a grocery chain to do online grocery shopping (I used to do that in Minneapolis at Lunds and Byerlys when the weather was exceptionally daunting.) Amazon Prime can compete head to head with the Costco's and Sam's Clubs.

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