Amazon Prime hits Singapore with a bang

American e-commerce giant Amazon launched its Prime membership programme for Singapore yesterday, ending a four-year period of blanket free shipping to the Republic.

This will largely be of interest to merchants who sell on, as Prime Singapore offers free 2-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items but more importantly free global delivery on millions more items from Amazon US.

Streaming service Amazon Prime Video and gaming subscription service Twitch Prime are bundled as part of the membership.

A SmarterHQ report claims 82 percent of Amazon's Prime users - consumers who pay an annual fee for two-day free shipping on a good majority of items - would cancel the Prime subscription if that free, two-day shipping was not available.

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 USA, as well as digital content like games and movies.

Another service available to Singapore's Amazon Prime subscribers is video streaming.

But for a limited period, it goes for $2.99 a month, although Amazon did not specify for how long.

This launch will put pressure on Lazada, the e-commerce site owned by Alibaba, which is Amazon's primary competitor in Southeast Asia.

The Prime membership will entitle the customers to have access to more than five million products listed on Amazon's site in the United States.

Customers who do not have a Prime membership in the U.S. can, however, enjoy free delivery within the country for orders totalling US$25 or more on eligible items.

Amazon has just extended its e-commerce tendrils even deeper into the Singapore market.

Speaking about the launch of Amazon Prime, Jamil Ghani, vice-president of Amazon Prime International, said, "Prime membership is created to offer the best of Amazon".

Amazon on Tuesday stopped free shipping options to Singapore for qualifying items over S$168 were reported to be no longer applicable, media reported.

"We have been very encouraged by the strong response and adoption of Prime Now over the last several months", he added. Benefits offered include rebates and discounts for online supermarket RedMart, Netflix and Uber.

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