Amazon has been a big disappointment for Singaporeans. After all the hype surrounding the launch of Amazon Prime Now 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 Now in Singapore.
Amazon Prime Singapore membership – quick facts
|Amazon Prime Singapore fact sheet|
|Membership price||Free trial for 30 days, subsequently $2.99/month|
|Shopping interface||Prime Now app only, no desktop. Does not have full range of Amazon US products. Local and US products are split|
|International shipping||Free (minimum spend S$60 on Amazon US)|
|Local 2-hour shipping||Free (minimum spend S$40 on Amazon Singapore)|
|Other benefits||Amazon Prime Video & Twitch Prime|
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. But you’ve got to remember to cancel your subscription when the trial has expired, otherwise you could find yourself getting charged.
If you choose to continue subscribing to Prime, it’ll cost $2.99/month for a promotional period. Once the promotion is over membership will cost $8.99 a month. They have not announced when the promotion will end.
For that monthly fee, you get free shipping on Singapore and US Amazon purchases, but there are minimum spends for each. Different amounts apply.
By the way, it’s not the only membership programme of its kind here. The other big player is Lazada and Redmart’s LiveUp programme, which, by the way, has a 60-day free trial, and membership costs $28.80/year.
Prime members get free international shipping with min. order $60
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.
You didn’t have to be a member of any of Amazon’s programmes to enjoy this free shipping offer. You simply had to select the GlobalSaver option upon checking out.
That’s now a thing of the past. Now you have to sign up as an Amazon Prime member to get free shipping from the US.
The minimum spending requirement for free shipping is S$60 for Prime members, which is less than half of the previous amount required to qualify for GlobalShipping.
Members also generally pay less for shipping of regular items and can take advantage of free shipping offers that Amazon offers from time to time.
The major catch is that you need to shop through the (shitty) Prime Now app, and not everything from Amazon US is available on it.
And also free local 2-hour shipping (Prime Now) with min. order $40
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 groceries, electronics and toys, amongst other things. Prime Now 2-hour shipping is now free for orders over $40… for Prime members only, of course.
There are few problems with this.
One, in terms of product range and pricing competitiveness, Amazon Singapore cannot hold a candle to Lazada or Qoo10. Two, why on earth would anyone want to pay for local shipping?
The 2-hour promise is kinda weak as well. Unless 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.
But you’re forced to use the Amazon Prime Now app
Another major flaw of Amazon Prime Singapore is that you can ONLY shop through their Prime Now app, which is buggy and a terrible way to peruse the 7 million products listed on there.
One of the worst aspects is that Amazon Singapore and Amazon US are entirely segregated on the app. That makes it very tricky to do comparison shopping and to look for the best product.
For example, if you want to find a coffee maker, you have to trawl through two different sets of listings and do separate computations of how much you need to spend to get it delivered free.
You do get Prime Day (16 Jul, 12pm) discounts though
Amazon Prime Day starts at 12pm on 16 July 2018, and is Amazon’s signature sale for good deals, especially for electronics and home stuff. These deals are only open to Prime members.
This is also the first Amazon Prime Day in Singapore. Already, we are worried about it being but a shadow of the US Prime Day.
In a Business Times interview, the director of Amazon Prime Singapore said that for Prime Day, Singapore Prime members can get a “customised set of benefits” and “curated set of deals”. We all know that’s corporate-speak for ha ha, you suckas aren’t going to get the full range of discounts.
But as it has yet to happen, maybe it won’t hurt to sign up for a free trial to see how it goes. Maybe our skepticism is entirely unfounded.
And also access to Amazon’s video and gaming channels
A fringe benefit of signing up for Prime membership is being able to stream films and series on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.
Considering the fact that Netflix in Singapore is extremely limited, this could be a good alternative. Amazon Prime membership also costs less than a Netflix subscription, which is currently $10.98 for a basic subscription.
Members also get access to Amazon’s Twitch Prime, which enables ad-free streaming of gaming channels, as well as bonus gaming loot such as indie games, characters and skins.
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 three. Unfortunately, Amazon Singapore just isn’t good enough. They might also have entered the game too late as there are already some dominant players in Singapore’s e-commerce scene.
That said, there is a way consumers might benefit. The launch of Amazon Prime signals an aggressive bid to lure customers, which could well push other players on the e-commerce market to offer more competitive prices and shipping.
Do you plan to sign up for Amazon Prime Singapore? Tell us why or why not in the comments!
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