There is an assumption that Amazon will own the world of retailing and entertainment and perhaps other business categories as well. The endless articles about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods caught many people off guard but makes strategic sense for food. Then food delivery, clothing and other sectors started to freak out. But there are limitations even for Amazon. I was glad to hear there would be a discount on food prices at their Whole Foods division. I keep saying to myself — ‘my Prime needs to earn it’s keep’. I had no interest in paying for the Amazon Fresh membership at an incredible $299. The product offering was less than compelling and wasn’t missing anything by not belonging. Daily goods is key but if it is more expensive than picking up in person – the equation becomes fuzzy.
And this year Amazon Prime is not earning it’s keep. At $99 it is expensive for what I am getting. I started to notice this in January when I assumed I would purchase a television from the online retailer. And cost comparing I was attracted by Best Buy. I never thought I would buy a television by any other retailer than Amazon. But as it turned out Best Buy had a slightly lower price, better delivery options, I could talk with someone on the phone and all of my confirmations and requirements met. While I have not always been a Best Buy shopper I got airline miles and points in their loyalty programme. I also bought a computer from Best Buy and had a great experience. I could have gone to the company store for the computer but Best Buy had incentivised me to think and act differently. I also harkened back to a previous Amazon television purchase that was less-than-satisfactory as my television was delivered when I wasn’t home and left at my front door (in San Francisco that is a good as gone proposition).
When I need a product I don’t automatically think of Amazon now It was my television buy experience informed me on another way to buy what I needed. Just because Amazon has gotten into the clothing business doesn’t mean I am going to jump ship of the many brands and retailers I like and continue to seek out.
I looked at how I was viewing Amazon Prime for movies, documentaries and television shows but overwhelmingly I have been using Netflix at the fraction of the cost of Amazon. I have found that I don’t always need a product within two days and that waiting 5 businesses day free no rush shipping is often incentivised with $1 credit for electronic media–books, movies, music and is not incentive enough. More incentive and more compelling is say frequent flyer miles I might get with using a retailer like Crate & Barrel, Neiman’s, Bloomingdales, etc. All of my airline frequent flyer programmes all have a way to earn miles with retailers. I have found free shipping on almost all retailers–either because it is generally free or there is a small threshold to reach. And almost all retailers have a loyalty program and I have had some benefit from belonging.
The prices I have found competitive with Amazon. So right now – September 2017 – I am fading in terms of my love for Prime as it is less than Prime but more secondary. Right now if I gave a score it would be Amazon 1; traditional and non-Amazon online retailers 3.
I have to see if there is a savings at Whole Foods because right now Amazon Prime is in the balance and may not make my cut. I need my Prime membership to earn it’s keep–there are always things I can buy and need with $99 that I spend annually with Amazon for just for a membership. And the Amazon name is not magic for me to just keep paying for something and not realise more benefit.
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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