While the main selling point of the program is cheaper and faster shipping, it also comes with a unique advantage in India — if you are a Prime member, you can jump the queue when participating in flash sales.
Amazon, along with Flipkart, is one of the two main sellers of smartphones under the flash sale model, and as many mobile fans know, it can be very frustrating to stare at a ‘sold out’ button week after week.
“As a Prime member, you are granted 30-minutes early access to select Lightning Deals on Amazon.in. To make it easy for you to find them, these deals will be labeled as Prime Early Access on Deals and the product detail pages,” said the ecommerce giant.
In addition, there will also be special flash sales and lighting deals that are shown only to Prime members.
WHAT IS AMAZON PRIME?
For the uninitiated, Amazon Prime is a service that was started ten years ago in the US. Initially, it was billed purely as a way to save on shipping costs.
Introduced as an ‘all you can eat express shipping’ program, the idea was to offer bulk discounts to regular customers who wanted their merchandise to reach them in one or two days. (see Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ letter at the launch.)
At the time, Amazon offered two-day shipping for free and overnight delivery for $4 under the program.
Over time, the service morphed into a sort of loyalty program for Amazon.
Five years ago, Amazon started offering free online video streaming to members of the program.
It also started giving free access to many ebooks on its Kindle library, as well as discounts on certain titles.
Over time, other services, such as music streaming and online storage were also added in the US.
The company seems to be following the US model as it introduces India to the service in a step-by-step fashion.
Initially, the service is all about shipping (and lighting deals). There is no music streaming or online storage. However, said Amazon, video streaming “is coming” and this will help you to “get exclusive access to Amazon Original Series and Movies, as well as premium movies and TV shows from Indian and global content providers.”
WHO IS IT FOR?
The Prime service, as introduced in India, is for people who purchase regularly from Amazon.
If you are someone who orders from the portal every couple of weeks, the membership will pay for itself in the savings that you enjoy on shipping charges through the year.
For standard package delivery, for example, items marked with Prime logo will be delivered free of charge, while regular users have to pay Rs 40 for orders below Rs 499.
Similarly, Prime members can also get free one-day delivery while regular users have to pay Rs 100 extra for the service.
However, as of now, one-day delivery is only available in 79 cities in India, including smaller places like Salem, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Karnal etc.. (The full list is here.)
Even same-day deliveries will be available at discounted rates, though not free of charge. Same day deliveries, however, are available only in 14 cities of India as of now, including Bangalore, Kanchipuram, Gandhi Nagar, Ahmedabad and suburbs of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.
The company is offering the service for free for 60 days, after which you can renew it for Rs 499 per year during the introductory period. The regular price for the service is Rs 999, which we expect to kick in once ancillary services such as online video and music also start.