Amazon’s Blockbuster Innovation
In 2005, Amazon introduced its Prime Free Shipping program. This yearly subscription program promised free two-day shipping on any purchase the subscriber made from Amazon. Five years later, 13% of Amazon’s 130 million active users are Prime members. More significantly, 20% of the subscribers who purchased products from Amazon in the last twelve months are Prime subscribers. These Prime subscribers purchase two to three times as much as non-Prime subscribers over the course of a year. This Performance innovation removes an impediment to purchasing on Amazon. In fact, it increases the odds greatly that online purchases will be made on Amazon rather than on a competitive site. This has been a blockbuster innovation for Amazon. The innovation holds a special appeal to the larger customers in the market.
The Prime subscribers may also offer Amazon an entry into a business that it has longed to gain, for several years, subscription video rentals. It appears that Amazon will introduce a streaming video product for its Prime subscribers. This new product will not cost the Prime subscribers any more than their normal subscription. Netflix’s Watch Instantly service cost about $96 a year so Amazon may have a price advantage on Netflix. Of course, Convenience and Price are only important provided Amazon offers equivalent Function, that is, streaming video content. We don’t know about that yet.
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