We joined Amazon Prime last fall. Tjey offered a $32 discount on their normal $99 price as a one-day promotion for new customers. Since we had considered it in the past, we decided to take the leap. Now that we've had it for just over three months, I figured it would be a good opportunity to evaluate things. There are a number of Amazon Prime benefits that we enjoy.
2-Day Shipping / Convenience
Having access to two-day shipping definitely opens worlds of opportunities. I took a look at my account as well as my wife's account. Between October 1, 2015 and January 11, 2016 (when I started writing this article) we placed 23 orders from Amazon. In the same period one year earlier, we placed 6 orders. That's nearly a 400% increase in the number of orders. We definitely increased our cardboard recycling output!
Not all of these are directly attributed to having the two-day shipping, but I can tell you that quite a few of them definitely are.
One area to watch for is to make sure you look for deals. It's easy to just look at Amazon as the only option. Remember, it's not.
We recently realized that we needed a new car seat for one of our kids. The old seat had ‘expired' as it was past six years old.
I whipped out my phone and looked up booster seats. I settled on one that we liked that was around $24. My wife pointed out that I should look it up on Target.com. I did and it was $20. Plus, with our Target card, we save an extra 5%, which brought it to $19. Plus, it was available for pick-up at our local store!
It just goes to show that Amazon makes it very convenient, to the point where you need to remind yourself to shop around. Since then, I've made it a point to better pay attention before simply clicking the Purchase option at Amazon.
Movies and TV
With Prime membership, we get access to their video library. We can rent or purchase movies, often at a discount, and they also have a rotating library of streaming content that is available at no charge.
My wife has been using the streaming option for awhile, having found a few things that she likes. I just recently set it up on our Roku so that I could watch it on TV. The only thing that I've gotten through actually watching is the 8th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Outside of that, I've only browsed. The content seems rather limited compared to Netflix, but the price is right, I suppose.
Bottom line, I wouldn't sign up for Prime solely for their free watchable content, but as a side perk, it's nice to have.
Last year, I had a free three month subscription to Google's streaming music service, and I fell in love with it. However, the $10 per month charge was pretty steep, so I sadly let it expire. They had a great selection of music that I could pull up and listen to, and the app was really easy to use on my mobile phone.
When I found that Amazon Prime included access to streaming music, I was pretty excited. I downloaded and installed the app, and started using it pretty regularly. My thought is along the same lines as the Movies and TV element, in that it's nice to have as a free add-on, but it wouldn't be worth paying for on its own. In fact, it doesn't really even compare to Google Music in terms of my experience so far. Let me explain:
- App Navigation – I really don't care for the navigation of the app. It's just a little clunky. Plus, whenever I open the app, I'm never where I want to be.
- Basic Info – I like to see things like the album release date when I find an album I like. Amazon simply doesn't have this info at first glance. I can't find that you can customize it, either.
- It's Not Shared – Even though you can share many Prime benefits between people in your household, Music is not one of them. My wife signed in and tried to use Music with her account, and no bueno.
To be honest, I haven't set up the Kindle app or even tried to see if I can use any type of e-reading benefits from being a Prime member. I don't have an actual Kindle, so I suspect that some of the benefits are limited or non-existent.
You get a few GB of cloud storage plus unlimited storage of photos, but we haven't yet set this up.
Would We Pay Full Price?
At this point, we definitely enjoy the convenience. As we get more used to using some of the features on the streaming music and video side, I think we'll capture even more benefit. It's hard to say what we'll do in the fall when our membership comes due, but I would lean toward us renewing the Prime membership if we had to decide today.
Readers, are you Prime members? What are your experiences with any of the items I've noted above or anything that I might not have mentioned?