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Make Amazon Prime Work for Business

Make Amazon Prime Work for Business
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Amazon Prime, a membership program designed to offer customers perks for loyalty to the retail giant, is a secret weapon for businesses seeking to control their equipment spending. For $99 each year (or you can go monthly for $10.99), you get some consumer advantages as well, such as free streaming of video, music and e-books. But you also get free shipping and exclusive discounts. Plus, you can extend your personal Amazon Prime membership to your Amazon Business account.

What is Amazon Prime?

There are about 63 million Amazon Prime shoppers, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. That’s more than half of all U.S. Amazon shoppers. A membership starts with a free 30-day trial that rolls over into a $10.99 monthly or $99 annual fee. You can cancel a subscription, or the free trial, at any time. Just log onto your account, select Manage Prime Membership and click Do Not Continue or End Membership.

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Shipping benefits

Who wants to wait six to eight weeks for delivery? If you need a new UPS, you need it now. That’s one of Prime’s biggest selling points. Amazon offers free two-day shipping in the contiguous U.S. Most Amazon products qualify for Prime shipping, but there are exceptions, such as products sold through the Amazon Marketplace.  

You can also get same-day delivery in eligible zip codes. Plus, in select cities, you can get one-hour delivery for thousands of products from local stores.

It’s worth mentioning that Amazon Business, as a separate but related program, comes with its own shipping deals. For orders of $49 or more you can get free two-day shipping.

Savings benefits

Prime members enjoy a 30-minute head start on Lightning Deals on Amazon. A recent survey of current Lightning Deals uncovered deals for 57 percent off a Tonor Network LAN Cable Tester Tool, 17 percent off a Chamberlain Wireless Motion Alert Security System  and 21 percent off a PNY SATA SSD. Sure, those won’t do anything for your new laptop deployment. But every little bit helps.

During Amazon's annual Prime Day (Tuesday, July 11, 2017), the company will offer hundreds of thousands of deals exclusively for Prime members. The "day" consists of 30 hours of deals starting at 6 p.m. PST on July 10, with new deals being released every five minutes. Deals are organized by most-shopped-for themes such as pet lovers to techies. 

For those who own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV or a Fire tablet, you'll have access to Alexa-exclusive deals accessed through voice shopping. Also new this year is the ability to preview, track and shop for specific items as you are alerted to new ones from the Amazon App or at amazon.com/watched

Increased Sales

Many of those deals offered on Prime Day will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs who will take advantage of the increased traffic to the site to sell their goods. According to Amazon, on Prime Day 2016 small businesses and entrepreneurs offering deals saw orders triple in year-over-year. The company expects nearly 40 percent of all Prime Day Lightning Deals will come from those companies. 

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Shared memberships

You can share a Prime account with another adult, and Amazon would prefer you both live under the same roof. You just create an Amazon Household to get the advantages.

Perhaps more importantly, you can extend your personal account to your Amazon Business account to take advantage of some of its benefits on business purchases. Just log into a personal account, then click Your Account > Your Prime Membership > Share Your Prime Benefits before selecting Extend Prime shipping to your Amazon Business account. Enter those credentials and click Extend your Prime shipping benefits.

If you don’t yet have a Prime account, you can do this process in reverse. Log into your Business account, then go to amazon.com/prime to complete the sign-up process.

Amazon store card

Prime members are eligible for an Amazon Prime Store Card, with no annual fee. It earns you 5 percent back on every Amazon.com purchase, as long as you’re not using promotional financing. Store Cardholders can choose promotional financing on orders of more than $149, to be paid back over the course of six months. For orders of more than $599, you get 12 months. Interest starts accruing on the purchase date if you’ve not paid your balance within the given time frame. The APR was 26.24 percent as of press time.

Cash back

Through a rewards program called Amazon Prime Reload, members can earn 2 percent cash back on purchases when they first load funds into their Amazon Balance using a debit card attached to their bank's checking account. Your Gift Card balance never expires and there is no fees associated with this perk. You'll have to provide Amazon with your driver's license number and bank account information. The process of adding funds takes about 5 minutes, but can be delayed by as much as 4 hours. 

Other perks

Amazon offers neat streaming media benefits for consumers. It’s unlikely to help your business, but sure doesn’t hurt at home. Through Prime, you get access to free streaming of Prime Video, which comes with popular original series such as “Transparent” and “Man in the High Castle.” Prime Reading lets you read more than 1,000 e-books and magazines for free with no limits. Twitch Prime lets subscribers watch Twitch game streaming without ads. Prime Music can stream 2 million songs to eligible devices, while Audible Channels lets you listen to exclusive, original audio series.

Amazon also throws in some other fringe benefits. Prime Photos gets you unlimited photo storage from any device. Prime Pantry can help you stock up on perishables and other household goods for less. And gamers can get special, exclusive deals on new titles.