Amazon in Singapore: Why Is It Such a Big Deal

amazon prime now singapore

Amazon‘s Prime Now service launched a few weeks ago in Singapore, and they had a rough start. Their delivery services were falling behind, and initially excited Singaporeans were now furious at what seemed to be false advertising. Can’t say I blame them, I too had my own share of disappointment when I’d spent 1 hour carting my items just to find I can’t check them out ‘cause they ran out of delivery slots.

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See, when Amazon Prime Now first came to Singapore, their main selling points were….

  • Super fast delivery service (1 or 2 hr deliveries, depending on where you live)
  • Low minimum order ($40)
  • Low delivery fees (If your order doesn’t hit $40, you’ll have to pay $5.99 for the 2-hr delivery)

What’s more, you got a promotional $20 off your order using a Visa credit card with the code “VISA20”, and $10 off your first order with “10PRIMENOW”!

Given the freshness of this app, and the above benefits, you can imagine the craze that was about to descend.

I pictured Singaporeans carting out 2 separate orders of $40 and above, just so they can use both vouchers…

(It’s okay to admit it, I would do the same too.)

 

And these are all fine and dandy! Except…

1. Amazon failed to fulfil their fast delivery selling point, just 1 day after their launch.

I don’t know if they’ve not done sufficient market research, not enough time to gather a sufficient pool of drivers, or they just went “F**k it. We’ll just dip our toes and see how this goes”.

But either way, they’ve underestimated Singaporeans’ excitement over Amazon.

Also, this MIGHT not be Amazon’s fault…But some write-ups about Amazon Prime Now’s launch had failed to clarify that their 1 hr delivery option is only available to select postcodes.

So… Amazon Prime Now’s 1 or 2 hr delivery as a selling point, is…Well, moot. For now.

 

2. VISA Promotion is no longer there.

It doesn’t matter whether Amazon placed a limit there due to the overspill of orders or you just plain missed the boat, everyone’s still sad. Because that’ll mean there’s no more “50% off” minimum orders.

It’s like placing something delicious into someone’s mouth and taking it out again.

Plus it’s not like Singaporeans were sitting around not wanting to use their vouchers, they weren’t allowed because there were no more delivery slots.

 

3. Low minimum order/ delivery fees..?

If you’d compare a competitor (e.g. Redmart) to Amazon Prime Now, the latter has matched Redmart’s current delivery charges.

Redmart: Minimum orders of $40 (or pay $5.99 for delivery)

Amazon Prime Now: Minimum orders of $40 (or pay $5.99 for delivery)

But people forget that Amazon‘s Prime Now actually requires an Amazon Prime membership. They just haven’t started charging for it since they’re now trying to penetrate into the Singaporean market.

When Prime membership fees become mandatory in future, will their low minimum order and delivery charges still matter?

Just as an idea how much the subscription may cost you, here’s how much Amazon Prime costs overseas:

Country

Subscription Cost

UK

GBP79 per year / ~S$142.13 per year

USA

USD99 per year / ~S$134.66 per year

Germany

EUR69 per year / ~S$111.04 per year

Canada

CAD79 per year / ~S$85.19 per year

Japan

JPY3900 per year / ~S$47.94 per year

Italy

EUR19.99 per year / ~S$32.18 per year

Spain

EUR19.95 per year / ~S$32.11 per year

Truthfully, we can’t predict the exact costs of an Amazon Prime membership in Singapore, but seeing how it ranges from about S$32 to S$142 a year globally, we can definitely be sure that there will be added costs on top of their “low delivery fee/ minimum order”. 

Which brings us to the main point…

 

Why is Amazon coming to Singapore STILL a big thing?

The whole hype of Amazon coming to Singapore lies in the possibilities of what the e-commerce giant WILL BRING to Singapore’s market. Amazon’s Prime Now is JUST A STEPPING STONE towards something bigger.

It’s already been announced that Amazon intends a gradual rollout of all other Prime services in time, alongside their Kindle and Echo and other Alexa devices. And that’s what’s going to send their competitors packing.

Think about it with me for a second here…

Once the rest of Amazon’s tech offerings gets rolled out in Singapore, Amazon’s not going to be just another mega e-commerce giant. You’ll get to enjoy a higher level of convenience with online shopping.

Imagine ordering your groceries with just voice-activated commands while your hands are busy chopping up veggies in the kitchen. Or even better, letting smart devices throughout your home automatically order your groceries and supplies from Amazon when necessary.

It’s a game-changer. Like how the Apple iPhone redefined mobile devices in an industry dominated by Nokias and Blackberrys.

 

What Singaporeans should REALLY be excited about:

Other Prime related services made available

As a US Prime member, I get access to all Prime benefits from all Amazon sites. But imagine enjoying Prime Day superdeals on our very own Amazon.sg! And then getting them delivered free without a minimum order.

Potential credit card tie-ups with banks

In US Amazon sites, Prime members earn 5% back whenever they use a Amazon Prime credit card and 2% cash back if they don’t. With Amazon now in Singapore, expect banks here to tie up with Amazon to provide us with even more incentives to shop there, maybe even a co-branded credit card.

Technologically advanced customer experience

With Echo and other Alexa devices, shopping online just got a whole lot easier. Although it’ll be a long way before Singaporeans adapt to the “no hands needed” approach to buying online, it’s still great to have options like a dedicated voice assistant for shopping online, accessing your Audible books, and controlling other devices in our households.

Amazon’s Prime membership program can also be used globally on Amazon sites across the globe. Meaning you can go to any Amazon site and still enjoy non-shipping related membership benefits.

…But all that’s provided Amazon actually simplifies its product offerings. Even when I was researching this article, I nearly fainted trying to understand all their products and programmes.

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What are your thoughts on Amazon in Singapore? Let us know!