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.
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If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.
Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.
At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead.
An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.
A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:
Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance.
Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS.
To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.
A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.
It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins.
Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.
As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.