Amazon to launch Prime membership for Singapore, ends free shipping for non-members

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The launch of Amazon Prime comes just after the company ended its Free AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping option to Singapore on Monday, which enabled shoppers here to get free worldwide shipping with a minimum order of US$125.

However, to succeed in the market, Wang asserted that Amazon needs to play to its strengths because besides its two-hour delivery promise, consumers in Singapore expect Amazon's own products like Echo, Kindle and digital books to be made available to them, have access to more products and brands from the U.S., as well as digital content like games and movies.

For example, a quick search by Channel NewsAsia for "baby bottles" found 171,408 results on the Amazon US site, with 26,358 items eligible for Prime shipping in the US. Customers who make orders above SGD60 using the Prime Now mobile app will not have to pay global shipping fees.

The e-commerce giant had launched its Prime Now fast delivery service in July. The service, which offers free two-hour delivery from its local warehouse with a minimum order of S$40, will also be made exclusive for members. They will also enjoy access to gaming benefits with Twitch Prime, at no additional cost. But for a limited period, it will go for S$2.99 a month, although Amazon did not specify for how long. Members will enjoy a host of facilities, including access to video streaming and free gaming services such as Twitch Prime.

The Vice-President of Amazon Prime International, Mr Jamil Ghani, said that it has learnt a great deal about how to craft the Prime programme through that experience.

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While existing Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Singapore will not be forced into joining Prime, it will no longer be available for subscription as a standalone service.

Free International Shipping on over 5 Million Items: Unlimited free shipping in 7 to 9 business days on orders over S$60 from the Prime Now App on more than 5 million international products shipped from Amazon US.

Prime membership in the United States costs US$10.99 (S$14.80) a month or US$99 a year.

But in what was seen as the first step toward developing a major footprint in the fragmented region of 600 million people, some customers were underwhelmed by its initial limited product categories and it faced tough competition from rivals, such as Lazada. "We will keep making Prime better, adding even more selection and benefits". Benefits offered include rebates and discounts for online supermarket RedMart, Netflix and Uber.