What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a membership program that when you subscribe to it, you get member benefits such as free same-day or two-day shipping on eligible purchases. You get to stream movies, shows, and music, and you also have access to optional new services like Prime Wardrobe and Prime Pantry.
About Amazon Prime
Prime is internationally available in countries such as the US, UK, Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia, Singapore, Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and more.
In 2020, Amazon Prime membership increased. Amazon now charges $119/year for new members who avail of annual Prime membership ($59/year for student registration). On the other hand, there is a monthly fee of $12.99 ($6.49 for students). There is also a free 30-day free trial for those who want to test out the service.
- Free 2-day shipping on eligible items in the US.
- Free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes.
- Prime Now: Thousands of items in eligible zip codes with access to two-hour delivery.
- Eligible pre-order items in the US with free release-date delivery.
- Free no-rush shipping: You can earn rewards on purchases that are not urgently needed.
- Prime Video: US members get access to movies and TV episodes.
- Amazon Channels: For an additional monthly payment of $4.99 to $14.99 depending on the channel, you can watch content from HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ.
- Prime Music: US members have access to Prime playlists and songs with no ads.
- Amazon Music Unlimited: Discounted monthly plans for Amazon Music Unlimited.
- Twitch Prime: Discounts on physical games, pre-orders, and new releases. Those that use Twitch.tv and link their accounts to Amazon Prime get benefits such as, no ads on Twitch, a free monthly Twitch channel subscription, and exclusive access to free game content.
- Prime Reading: You can borrow books, magazines, and more from the Prime Reading library and read them on your Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader, or the Kindle reading apps.
- Amazon First Reads: US members get early access to download a new book for free every month from the Amazon First Reads picks.
- Audible Channels for Prime: No limit to the consumption of original audio series and playlists.
- Whole Foods Market: Exclusive savings and two-hour delivery through Prime Now.
- Amazon Dash for Prime: The ability to use the Dash Wand.
- Amazon Fresh: Free shipping on all Amazon Fresh grocery orders of $50 upwards for an additional monthly membership fee or users can pay a flat delivery fee.
- Prime Wardrobe: Eligible clothing items that you can try before you buy. You only need to pay for the items you want to keep and you can return the rest.
- Prime Pantry: For an additional delivery fee, members in select regions can buy groceries and household products.
- Amazon Elements: Access to Amazon’s product line of everyday items.
- Prime Day: Access to deals during the annual Amazon sale event.
- Prime Early Access: Get access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com. 30 minutes earlier.
- Additional deals: Normal discounts on items like diapers and food for your baby, and 15% off eligible products on your baby registry.
- Membership sharing: Two adults living under the same roof can make an Amazon Household where they can share certain Amazon Prime benefits.
- Prime Photos: With Amazon Drive, there is no limit to the number of photos you can store.
Visit the Help & Customer Service section, of the Amazon Prime page for more information.
What is Amazon Business Prime?
Amazon Business is a free version of Amazon Prime with businesses in mind. It allows brands to purchase stock in a more streamlined fashion by giving them access to business products at lower or discounted prices. Multiple team members can be in the same Business Prime account to make procurement even smoother.
Subscribers of Amazon Business also have access to benefits such as free same-day or two-day shipping on eligible items. Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial.
Even with more than 45,000 active sellers and more than 10 million products with options for buying in bulk or business discounts, there are a lot of B2B merchants who are uncertain if Amazon Business is the marketplace for them to sell their products. This program offers a few features that can boost a business’ sales and revenue.
Amazon Business for Registered Sellers
Registered sellers can use Amazon Business for free and it makes it easier to buy things on Amazon. To do this, go to the Amazon Business page and click Create Free Account.
When you do this, there will be a setup process that you will be walked through. The one who creates will be considered the administrator whose information will be used for verification purposes.
The administrator can then add people who can add groups, purchase items, create approval workflows and add purchase order numbers. Additionally, the administrator has the ability to manage the features of the business account like methods of payment and shipping addresses.
Amazon Business services can be linked to existing Amazon Prime accounts to share things like shipping benefits. Visit the main landing page, for more info on Amazon Business
When you begin purchasing products, you can look at Amazon’s Business Analytics and view the data on your orders and make reports.
Registered Amazon Business users get an enhanced experience with more benefits than someone with a regular Amazon account. The experience of buying corporate items and supplies through a business account is more seamless, more efficient and less costly.
Eyes on Your Product
Amazon Business had around 400,000 customers in January 2017. BloomReach, the digital-experience platform, commissioned a study which found that consumers’ online product searches are started more on Amazon compared to on Google. Amazon provides an experience that makes shoppers comfortable going there to look for a product. If you have your products selling on Amazon’s consumer site, Amazon Business will have them too.
Amazon has invested in research and development reportedly allotting funds exceeding $13 billion/year. The user experience on its website has been updated and changed to help in maximizing sales. There are features on Amazon Business that are optimized for business sellers such as quantity discounts, business pricing, integration with procurement software, and tax-exempt purchasing.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) makes fulfilling orders easier by letting Amazon do it for you. Your products would be shipped to an Amazon warehouse. Those items will be stored until a sale is made where they will then pick, pack, and ship them. Some parts of customer service such as refunds and returns are handled by Amazon for FBA customers.
If you are registered as a small business, if the business is female-owned, owned by a minority, or by veteran, that can be listed as a credential on your profile. Product searches can then be refined to see products sold by minority-owned business, small businesses, etc.
Giving up margin
You could pay fees from 6 to 15 percent based on the category of your product, excluding items that are not commonly sold as business products. FBA fees are not included.
Seen as a commodity
There not as much opportunity for building relationships with your buyers or standing out from the competition. Amazon Business makes it simple and easy for buyers to look for and purchase from vendors who sell their items at the lowest cost.
Communication with buyers is limited
Communication between sellers and customers is limited on Amazon. Such rules include restrictions on what can be included in packages shipped to customers. To Amazon, those customers are not yours, but theirs. Because of this, you don’t get much brand awareness and you have less control of the relationship.
Data and administration
It can be taxing to get product data into Amazon. There are respective rules for each product category. The way that the product data is set up greatly impacts your product visibility and the likelihood of those products selling.
What to Consider in the Long Term?
A question often asked by both manufacturers and distributors is if they should create an ecommerce site of their own, or if they should sell on Amazon. They can do both. While Amazon can be a great platform to utilize in terms of business strategy, there are downsides of not having your own site, including being forced to sell largely on price and having less ability to create a relationship with your customers.
Listing on Amazon increases your product visibility, and for services and such that Amazon may not provide, buyers may turn to your company in search of those things like providing customers help in selecting the correct items and providing support in how to use them.
There are several ways in which you can sell on Amazon to complement your own store. Such methods include selling a subset of your products on Amazon, using Amazon as a testing ground for new items, or seeing how ordering online suits your products. Providing services and other things that are of value to your customer on your website that Amazon does not provide on theirs is a good strategy for bringing customer traffic and growing sales on your site whilst still taking advantage of what Amazon provides.
While Amazon Business is available in eight countries, Amazon Business Prime is only available in three: US, Germany, and Japan.
Business Prime pricing has tiers based on the number of users/Amazon Business account:
- Essentials: $179/year for up to three users
- Small: $499/year for up to 10 users
- Medium: $1,299/year for up to 100 users
- Enterprise: $10,099/year for over 100 users
- Public Sector*: $3,499/year for over 100 users
If you have decided on a plan, go here, to try a 30-day free trial.
*The public sector option can only be availed by US federal, state, local, and regional government entities, public education organizations, non-profit private universities, and healthcare facilities.
Benefits of Amazon Business Prime Membership
- Business pricing: You get discounts on millions of products, price breaks on multi-unit purchases, and the ability to see multiple offers from a range of different sellers on a single page. The site offers discounts and tiered pricing discounts for bulk purchases on select items.
You can click Request a Quantity Discount if you want to see these discounted items from participating sellers. Access to Business Prime exclusives and Prime Day deals. (More deals can be made available to you if you use an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus, Echo Spot, Echo Look, and Tap, as well as Fire TV, Fire tablets and other third-party devices for voice ordering via Amazon’s Alexa.)
- Spend visibility*: Powered by AWS QuickSight, this feature provides visualizations of company spending, to more easily analyze data and spending trends.
- Guided buying*: Administrators of an account can indicate preferred suppliers and products, set restrictions on certain product categories, and more. This improves compliance and consolidates suppliers.
- Extended terms for Pay by Invoice*: “Extended Terms for Pay by Invoice” can be requested by members. What this does is extend their terms of payment for an Amazon Business invoice to 45 or 60 days, based on their plan.
- Business delivery: Free same-day, one-day, and two-day shipping on eligible items, free delivery on special items, discounted expedited delivery, and consolidated deliveries that arrive on a pallet at your receiving dock or your personal address. You can sign up for a Business Prime Shipping annual membership that is based on the number of their business account users. The membership costs that range from $179 to $10,099/year.
Note: Business Prime does not include Amazon Prime features, like Prime Video.
*These cannot be availed by Essentials plan users.
Other Small Business Benefits
If your business meets the requirements for tax-exempt purchasing, you can sign up for the Amazon Tax Exemption Program which allows customers of Amazon Business to apply their status to eligible purchases from Amazon, Amazon Digital Services, Warehouse Deals, Amazon Services or other participating sellers.
With Amazon Tax Exemption Tool, users can be walked through the enrollment process. Your status can be updated and certificates can be edited or uploaded. Once you’ve reviewed your order, you can apply the tax-exemption certificate to the qualifying items.
How Amazon Business Works
There is virtually little to no difference between how an Amazon Business account works as compared to a regular account. If you’ve bought something using Amazon, you know the essentials of how Amazon Business works.
To get started on Amazon Business after registering for your free 30-day trial, go to Amazon and log into your new Amazon Business account. Once signed in, upon browsing Amazon for business products, you will find discounts available only to customers of Amazon Business.
To use the free tools that Amazon Business provides, you must log in, move your cursor over your name in the top right-hand corner, and there you can access the Business Settings and Business Analytics- the two main categories of Amazon Business tools.
An Amazon Business account is free; however, it costs extra to upgrade to Amazon Business Prime. The Business Settings tools available to free users are:
- Manage all your Amazon Business account users
- Set up order-approval procedures and spending caps
- Make a company credit card that specified account users can access.
- Open a corporate credit line with Amazon Corporate Credit
- Integrate purchasing systems so your customers have a punchout option.
- Set certain qualifying purchases for consolidated delivery on a pallet to your personal address or you receiving dock.
- Mark preferred suppliers
Included with your free Business membership is a Business Analytics tool. With this, you can view charts and other infographics that keep track of your business spending.
Should I use Amazon Business?
Amazon Business can theoretically work for any type of business. For small businesses, making regular delivery of essential office supplies automated or for larger businesses to which is vital that their goods are delivered.
Amazon Business can be used by businesses making a profit by selling to other businesses making the platform a marketplace where they can reach their customers. If you are a business who sells these business essentials in bulk at discount prices and want to move into e-commerce, you can register as an Amazon seller here, and then make an Amazon Business profile.
How to Join Amazon Business
First, navigate to the Amazon Business landing page. Using the orange button on the left-hand side signs you up for your 30-day free trial. Register your account using your business email, then proof of your business information. This includes your business address, business tax ID and credit card. Your business will be verified by Amazon within 24 hours and, while waiting for the status of your verification, can be monitored here.
While it is possible for a business to join with Amazon Prime and get the same free shipping and delivery (sales tax is still charged), Amazon Prime does not have the tools and heavier discounts available on Amazon Business due to it being intended for single-user personal use.
After going over these different services hopefully you have an idea of which one is better for your needs. Options on Amazon Business relate to more choices on shipping and things such as purchasing permissions and user accounts.
Amazon Prime, however, caters more to the individual user providing media particularly but not necessarily catering to the needs of a company.
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