Amazon Prime has been around for a while now—15 years to be exact. The subscription service has continued to evolve over the last decade and a half, continually setting the standard for ecommerce subscriptions and delivery.
“Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year. And customers are responding—more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO in the company’s 2019 Q4 earnings report.
“We’ve made Prime delivery faster—the number of items delivered to U.S. customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled this quarter compared to last year. Members now have free two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 2,000 U.S. cities and towns. Prime members watched double the hours of original movies and TV shows on Prime Video this quarter compared to last year, and Amazon Originals received a record 88 nominations and 26 wins at major awards shows,” Bezos continued.
So what exactly has it taken to get Amazon to the growth and dominance it has today? Let’s take a look back to the launch of Amazon Prime and look at the ever-evolving benefits Amazon has added over the years to grow this program to over 150 million subscribers worldwide.
Amazon launched their Prime subscription in February of 2005 at the initial price point of $79 a year, offering unlimited 2-day delivery on over 1 million in-stock items (or as they announced it “all-you-can-eat express shipping”).
This screenshot shows Jeff Bezos initial announcement letter to the public.
This was the beginning of what is now one of, if not the largest subscription programs in the world. Amazon continues to add benefits to its Prime offering, and here are some of the key ones that stood out to me over the years.
Amazon launched Fulfilled by Amazon. This service allows sellers to have an Amazon store and ship their products for a fee. These products then become eligible for Amazon Prime, thus growing available assortment and selection for customers.
Amazon included Prime Video in Prime subscription. Amazon first introduced an internet video service in 2006 (Amazon Unbox) but added the perk of free access to “unlimited, commercial-free instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows” to paying Prime members in February of 2011.
This was a big year for Amazon Prime. First, Amazon raised the price of Prime from $79 to $99. That same year, Amazon also launched Prime Pantry. Amazon Pantry offers Prime members a different way to shop, allowing them to purchase daily essentials in everyday sizes and have items delivered for a low, flat-rate fee in an Amazon Pantry box.
Amazon also launched Amazon Music in 2014. Amazon Music gives subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service access to thousands of songs free and without interruptions from advertising.
Amazon Photos was also launched that year. Amazon Photos offers Prime members free secure unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.
Lastly, Amazon launches Amazon Now in 2014. Amazon Now is a stand alone app offering free two-hour delivery and one-hour delivery for $7.99 in select areas.
Amazon created Amazon Prime Day to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary. Prime Day offered Prime members exclusive deals on a wide range of products for 24 hours. The Prime Day event is so successful it becomes an annual tradition.
Amazon announced same day delivery expanded to 27 metro areas.
Amazon introduced Prime Reading. Prime Reading includes a rotating selection of more than 1,000 books and magazines that Prime members can read for free.
Amazon partnered with Chase on the launch of Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. The credit card is offered exclusively to Prime members and offers 5% back at Amazon (and now Whole Foods) among other benefits.
Amazon launched Prime Wardrobe. Prime wardrobe is a try before you buy service for fashion and accessories.
“Sift through hundreds of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, select up to eight items that spark your interest, and we’ll send a Prime Wardrobe box directly to your door,” the service advertises. Prime members then have 7 days to try on and select any item they want to keep before returning the rest via a prepaid shipping label and a dropoff at the closest UPS location.
That same year, Amazon launched Amazon Key. Amazon Key allows Prime members to receive Amazon packages delivered to their garage, home, or car without a key via an app. Due to COVID-19, this is only available currently for in-garage and in-gate delivery.
Then, Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and began offering exclusive Prime benefits.
Amazon announced a price increase for Prime from $99 to $119—the current price. An Amazon Prime subscription went from $79 in 2005, increasing by $40 over the last 15 years since Amazon offered the service.
Amazon expanded Prime Free One Day to members with no minimum purchase amount on more than ten million products.
Amazon offered Amazon Fresh as a free benefit of Prime. Prime members in select cities can shop for groceries, everyday essentials, and more with Amazon Fresh. Amazon Fresh is available exclusively to Amazon Prime members by invitation only.
Last year, Amazon also launched Amazon Day. Amazon Prime members could then order throughout the week and select FREE Amazon Day Delivery to get all their items in fewer boxes on a single day, rather than separate boxes on multiple days.
Lastly for 2019, Amazon extended additional discounts to Amazon Prime Members on Subscribe and Save orders. Prime members could then unlock 20% savings on subscriptions on items like diapers and baby food when they received 5 or more products in one auto-delivery to one address.
This year, Amazon has expanded Same-Day Delivery. Prime members in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, and Dallas get faster Same-Day Delivery—from click to doorstep in just a few hours. Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted distribution lines at the onset of the year, Amazon has mostly recovered in the months since, at least in the eyes of customers.
Amazon has also launched Prime Gaming (formerly Twitch Prime) this year. Through this service, Amazon Prime members receive free games, exclusive in-game loot, and a free subscription on Twitch.tv.
We hope you learned some new Amazon Prime membership benefits you can take advantage of in our Amazon Prime timeline. Please feel free to reach out and let us know what features we may have missed. You can find Amazon’s comprehensive benefit list here.
If you are a consumer brand looking to grow an established Amazon presence and take advantage of some of the benefits as an Amazon Seller, get in touch with Pattern now.
Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.
Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.