I’ll admit, I’m biased. I used to work for Amazon and I enjoyed working there. Amazon hires a lot of bright, energetic people with good ideas, and they also hired me.
That said, I think Amazon’s fixed-price ($79) all-you-can-ship policy is the wave of the future. Back in 2001 (or so), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a great idea: to offer free shipping for purchases over $25. Most of his staff was against the idea, or so the story goes, but Jeff held firm, and was (eventually) proven right.
So when Bezos unveiled his idea for Amazon Prime in 2005, the opposition was more measured. I heard about the program not long after I left Amazon, and Kathy and I were quick to sign up. The way it works is that you pay $79 for a full year’s worth of free, two-day shipping, no matter how much you buy or how small your orders are. No more worrying about whether your order is $25, and no more paying extra for quick shipping. We can order a book on Tuesday afternoon and have it in our hot little hands on Friday, with no shipping charges (apart from the $79 we paid up-front). Overnight shipping is only $3.99 and you are able to share the membership with other members of your household.
Joshua works on his math.
In 2007, Kathy and I placed 45 individual Amazon orders, many of them for multiple items. By my calculations, we paid an average of $1.75 for shipping per order, and (in most cases) received the items within a few days. Comparing this with the rapacious shipping and handling charges common with eBay and other online merchants, I’d say we did pretty well.
There are a few caveats:
- Amazon Prime only works for items that Amazon ships directly from their warehouses. Many items are only available through third-party merchants, who do not (currently) participate in the program.
- $79 is a lot of money to pay for shipping, especially up-front. If you order fewer than 20 items over the course of the year, or if you are a careful planner and don’t need the two-day shipping, this is probably not for you.
- Two-day shipping means exactly that — sometimes it takes Amazon a couple of days to fill your order. Also, UPS and FedEx are, in my experience, only about 80% reliable on the “two-day” part.
Even so, it is very cool. I remember needing a textbook for a class I was taking — I ordered it on a Monday afternoon, and it was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I paid nothing extra for shipping.
Stop by Rocks in My Dryer to find some other online faves.
Project 366 – Day 36