After all the hype surrounding the launch of Amazon Prime in Singapore, everyone was dismayed to discover that the product range was nothing like its US counterpart’s.
Worse, they removed the free shipping GlobalSaver option from their website, forcing you to sign up for their loyalty programme to get free shipping. So, should you do it? Here’s the complete lowdown on Amazon Prime Singapore.
Amazon Prime Singapore membership in a nutshell
After 2 years of being a major e-commerce flop in Singapore, Amazon Prime has just revamped its benefits as of October 2019.
But although Amazon’s membership programme has changed for the better, it’s also gotten a lot more complicated, with fine print all over the shop.
|Amazon Prime Singapore fact sheet
|Free trial for 30 days, subsequently $2.99/month
|Amazon.sg (website), Amazon (app), Prime Now (app)
|Amazon SG shipping
|Free 1-day delivery with no min. spend (Prime-eligible items only)
|Amazon US shipping
|Free with min. spend S$60 (Prime-eligible Amazon US items only)
|Prime Now app shipping
|Free 2-hour delivery with min. spend $40, otherwise $5.99. 1-hour delivery available at $9.99
|Prime Early Access, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch Prime
I’m gonna take a stab at summarising the new Amazon Prime Singapore benefits:
Amazon Prime Singapore membership costs $2.99 a month. Members can shop on the Amazon.sg site or Amazon app, and can get free delivery on Prime-eligible items. Of these Prime-eligible items, delivery is free with no minimum spend on local Amazon.sg items. For Prime-eligible Amazon US items, there is free shipping with a minimum spend of $60.
Prime members can also shop for groceries, toiletries and other daily essentials on the Prime Now app. The Prime Now app shows only a limited range of items, but they are all available for 2-hour delivery. Delivery is free if you hit the minimum spend of $40.
I’ll talk a bit more about the points below.
1. Amazon Prime membership costs $2.99/month
Amazon Prime is basically Amazon’s loyalty membership programme, localised for the Singapore market.
Right now, Amazon is offering Singapore customers a free 30-day Prime trial. If you choose to continue subscribing to Prime, it’ll cost $2.99/month.
One thing good about Amazon’s membership is that the service level is quite high. For example, you can set a reminder on your free trial to remind you to cancel it before it ends. If you’re a paying subscriber, you can terminate your membership at any point and get a refund of the $2.99.
For that monthly fee, you get free shipping on Singapore and US Amazon purchases, but there are minimum spends for each. Different amounts apply.
You probably already know this, but I’ll just put it out there that Amazon Prime is not the only membership programme of its kind in Singapore. The other big player is Lazada and Redmart’s LiveUp programme ($5.99 a month).
2. Free 1-day local delivery (no min. spend) on Amazon.sg
I don’t know about you, but when I think “Amazon”, I think of things like books and electronics, and “special occasion” purchases like baby strollers and outdoor expedition gear.
But since the launch of Amazon Prime Singapore, Prime members could only shop on the (extremely limited) Prime Now app, not the Amazon website.
The Prime Now app is kind of a joke: Apart from groceries and toilet paper, it barely has anything. Items on the Amazon website would say “free shipping to Singapore”, only to be completely unfindable on the Prime Now app.
But finally, after 2 years of e-commerce, someone at Amazon has heard our cries for help and made free delivery available on items on the Amazon website — not just the app!!!
Go to Amazon.sg, search for anything that tickles your fancy, and then (important bit) check the “Prime” box on the left. You will see a mix of items; some are sold by Amazon SG, some by Amazon US. For the items sold by Amazon SG, shipping is free and takes only 1 business day if you are a Prime member.
You can also do pretty much the same on the newly released Amazon app. This is basically Amazon.sg in app form, and is not to be confused with the existing Prime Now app.
3. Free international shipping (min. spend $60) on Amazon US
But let’s talk about Amazon US items, because for most online shoppers, Amazon is basically a gateway for cool American gadgets and geeky computer things.
Back in the good old days, Amazon customers could enjoy free shipping to Singapore on products which qualified for the GlobalSaver option so long as they spent at least US$125. There was no membership required; you simply had to select the GlobalSaver option upon checking out.
That’s now a thing of the past. To get free shipping from Amazon US, you have to sign up as an Amazon Prime Singapore member.
Again, if you go to Amazon.sg, key in your search term and check the “Prime” box, you’ll notice that some items are sold by Amazon US instead of Amazon SG. You can also access the Amazon US store directly here; do not go straight to the Amazon US website.
For these Prime-eligible Amazon US items, international shipping is free with a minimum spend of $60. (This is less than half of the previous amount required to qualify for GlobalShipping.)
4. Free 2-hour local shipping (min. spend $40) on Prime Now app
Amazon really needs to re-think their marketing strategy, because right now the names of the various schemes are confusing as hell.
You need to be an Amazon Prime member to enjoy Prime Now, their 2-hour shipping service which is only offered on products in their local catalogue. This includes mainly groceries and household items, plus a few electronics and toys.
In Singapore, this takes the form of a separate app. Its main benefit is free 2-hour shipping for orders over $40.
However, apart from being a very convenient way to order chilled beer and snacks for spontaneous get-togethers, or replenishing your baby’s diaper supply in an emergency, the Prime Now app isn’t exactly a replacement for Lazada, Shopee or Qoo10.
It’s not very user-friendly, nor does it have the widest range of products. As for the products it does have, pricing is not always competitive compared to, say, RedMart. Most annoyingly, the price and availability of items on the Prime Now app are liable to change at random times, so you can’t even count on it in emergencies.
In addition, the 2-hour promise is kinda weak considering we live on such a small island. Even if you live in Punggol or something, you can probably nip down to the nearest shopping mall and buy whatever it is you need so urgently in that time frame.
5. Other “perks”: Amazon Prime Early Access, Prime Video, Twitch
Being an Amazon Prime Singapore member also entitles you to some other benefits, which are not quite as attractive as free shipping but (I guess) still worth a mention.
Prime members get access to Lightning Deals, a random mishmash of “special limited time only offers” along the lines of Qoo10’s Time Sales. Previously, members also got access to the annual Amazon Prime Day deals in July, but I’m not sure this is still offered.
Members can also stream movies and TV shows with the Amazon Prime Video app. It’s no Netflix, but there are some Amazon Originals and old movies on there that are okay to watch.
Finally, you get access to game streaming platform Twitch. Prime members can get in-game loot and play a few games on there.
So how… is it worth paying to join Amazon Prime Singapore?
Amazon is clearly trying to push customers to use their services more regularly. And for the time being, it surely can’t hurt to sign up for a free trial to see what’s on offer, even if it’s just to make a one-off purchase just to make use of the free shipping.
But ultimately, a lot depends on the entire shopping experience — which is equal parts product range, competitive prices and pleasant user experience.
If you’re going to make a customer pay, even if it’s just a few bucks a month, you’d better score top marks in all 3. Unfortunately, Amazon Singapore doesn’t. They might also have entered the game too late as there are already some dominant players in Singapore’s e-commerce scene.
I can see the membership fee being useful only if you will use the Amazon Prime Now service frequently. Personally, I am way too disorganised to order groceries days ahead of schedule, so Prime Now’s short delivery timeframe is a godsend for me.
However, if you have your shit together like a normal person, then paid membership is pointless considering almost every online supermarket has free delivery. For example, RedMart does free delivery with $60 spent, which is not hard to hit.
Do you plan to sign up for Amazon Prime Singapore? Tell us why or why not in the comments!