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Amazon launches Buy with Prime services for merchants

Amazon has unveiled a new benefit for Prime members and merchants which extends beyond shopping on Amazon.

The new Buy with Prime feature will allow US-based Prime members to shop directly from merchants’ online stores and get the Amazon experience of fast delivery, a seamless checkout experience and free returns on eligible purchases.

The benefit is initially available to merchants using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) services by invitation only. It will be rolled out to other merchants who don’t sell on Amazon or use FBA.

For merchants who use FBA, the Buy with Prime feature can be added to their online store directly since their inventory is already stored in Amazon fulfilment centres.

Merchants will have to sign up for Buy with Prime services, merge an Amazon Seller Central account, use multi-channel fulfilment to offer a single inventory pool and link an Amazon Pay account to their checkout. Then, by adding a JavaScript widget to their online store, merchants can add Buy with Prime to one or more products. 

Peter Larsen, VP of Buy with Prime, says the service will allow merchants to build strong customer relationships and brand loyalty.

“Allowing merchants to offer Prime shopping benefits on their own direct-to-consumer online stores is an exciting next step in our mission to help merchants of all sizes grow their business – whether on Amazon or beyond.”

“With the introduction of Buy with Prime, we’re expanding where members can enjoy trusted and convenient Prime shopping benefits beyond Amazon, adding even more value to their membership,” said Jamil Ghani, VP of Amazon Prime.

Retail commentator Neil Saunders, MD of GlobalData, says the new service shows that Amazon is continuing to look for ways to boost its revenue. 

He says Buy with Prime may help Amazon gain more insights into consumer behaviour as it will be able to gather data on things like orders from the new companies it works with. 

“Of course, this aspect may deter some merchants from doing business with Amazon. That said, the benefits of being able to offer a Prime guarantee on things like delivery will outweigh the concerns for many as Amazon’s service levels will help traffic and conversion rates.”

Saunders does see a potential downside to the concept – that it might draw consumers away from Amazon’s own marketplace, at a time when the company is struggling to generate growth and consumers tend to be more frugal. 

“Interestingly, the move is also part of a trend among retailers of looking for incremental and ancillary revenue streams,” he said. 

“This includes areas like advertising – where Amazon is already successful – and using logistics expertise. This is a pivot that many firms are making in recognition of the fact that retail growth is likely to slow and margins are likely to come under further pressure as the economic mood sours after a long boom.”

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