The Amazon Prime account, which costs $79 a year, offers multiple shipping benefits including free 2-day shipping for items with the Prime logo. Prime members also receive free Amazon Streaming Video, and up to 12 free Kindle books from the Kindle library each year. Consumer goods housed in Amazon warehouses by both Amazon.com and third party (or FBA) sellers, historically have been eligible for Prime shipping, regardless of their price or size.
Then, in mid 2012, came along the Add-On Program, which disqualified thousands of items from the pool of “Prime” items. An Add-On item, although fulfilled by Amazon, cannot be shipped by itself – these products must be “added on” to an order of $25 or more. The premise of this program is to make shipping more cost effective for Amazon – to cut costs on less expensive or smaller items. If a customer places an Add-On item in his cart, he cannot complete checkout until he adds qualifying products of $25 or more. Needless to say, Prime buyers are not happy with this new system, as they cannot purchase smaller or less expensive items at their convenience.
Not only does the Add-On program affect Prime customers, but also Amazon Mom subscribers. Amazon Mom is a special membership program developed to help parents and caregivers with infants and toddlers. Members historically have received discounts on diapers and receive free 2-day shipping on millions of Prime items. However, the Add-On program has disqualified many products that Amazon Mom subscribers routinely order. See comments here on the Digital Mom Blog.
Prime Buyers have not been happy with this new system for months and have been posting their negative reviews on the Amazon Discussion Boards:
“I spend thousands of dollars a year with Amazon. I am now not able to purchase several items that I normally purchase on a regular basis. Amazon will no longer be my go to site to make purchases and I will not be renewing my Prime membership.” – John T.
“I’ve been a Prime Member for 10 months. Today I went to buy a cable for a hard drive and not only is free Prime shipping not available, I can’t even elect to pay for shipping. The Add-On program negates the benefit of my Prime membership. I’ve just changed my settings on my Amazon account so that my Prime membership does not automatically renew.” – Joel R.
Amazon third party (or FBA) sellers are not happy with the program, either. Sellers have noticed that as soon as 1 seller’s price drops below $10 on a product, it becomes an Add-On, and sales come to a screeching halt. Since Prime buyers can’t buy those items without adding more items to their cart, they are electing not to buy them at all. Many sellers are suffering stalled sales because of the negative customer reaction to the Add-On program as evidenced by the buyer comments above. This means sellers are losing both time and money trying to sell on the Amazon marketplace. The real question is, how effective is this program if buyers are dropping their Prime membership and leaving, and sellers are getting discouraged by the randomly-appearing Add-On status on their products, and choosing not to sell on Amazon?
A great letter to CEO Jeff Bezos was posted on the Amazon Discussion forum, see the copy below. If you are a frustrated Prime Buyer or FBA Seller, perhaps sending a similar email to Mr. Bezos would result in some changes. Also consider re-posting this article on your social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. There is strength in numbers. Maybe if enough people complain about the Add-On program, Amazon will consider discontinuing it.
Dear. Mr. Bezos,
As the company CEO of Amazon, there are several comments and concerns regarding changes in Amazon Prime memberships in the Amazon Customer Discussion Forum that you might like to know about to keep Amazon growing and keep Amazon customers happy enough to give good recommendations of Amazon Prime. Right now, loyal customers are dissatisfied and this negative feedback could be costing Amazon present and future customers.
If you would take some time to review these concerns to see if some of them could be addressed, it would be greatly appreciated by long-time, loyal Amazon Prime Members.
Thank you for your consideration.
Send your email to jeff @ amazon.com
Author’s note: I am an Amazon Prime member and an FBA seller. I am not happy with the program on either side of the fence so I will also be contacting Jeff Bezos with my concerns.
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