Amazon’s recent changes in the ‘Add On’ service has added to the irritation of customers who were already very annoyed with this feature. The e-commerce giant has started to expand the items with ‘Add-on’ designation which invited a lot of fluke both on the site and social networks. The Add-on service of Amazon designates some items as ‘Add-on’ which cannot be shipped independently due to cost-prohibition i.e. they can be added to the orders above $25 i.e INR 1,622 and shipped along with them.
However, these items can only be added to the orders already costing above $25 and this cost should be exclusive of ‘Add-on’ items completely. For Prime members including Add-on items with over $25 of Prime items shipped by Amazon will give them Prime shipping benefits on these Add-on items. Prime items shipped by other sellers do not apply towards the $25 minimum to purchase Add-on items.
Customers, especially Prime members are quite accustomed to buying whatever, whenever but this feature particularly limits their right to do so. The company is obviously doing this to save money on shipping and packaging of minor items while users consider this as force-it-down-my-throat strategy. The add-on designation currently applies to some low-cost items, but the new rules have expanded the cloud to include most items costing less than $7 from health and personal care category.
Previously, users could buy such single low-cost items anytime they wanted but later this feature was restricted to only Prime Members before the advent of ‘Add-on’ feature. Even a small item like soap or toothpaste could be ordered and delivered to your doorstep within two days. The company was feeding the expenses to sustain the lucrative Prime ecosystem. But of late, Amazon having analyzed the economic feasibility and marginal profits for these low-cost items and finally decided to change its policies. Although the step defines the observed customer behavior like frequent, small sized orders by Prime members, as per public survey reports, and their brand loyalty towards Amazon as a go-to the marketplace in the comfort of their home.
The step can also be inspired by other retailers who just beefed up their own shipping offerings. In 2017, Walmart debuted with free two-day shipping with orders of $35 and over. Target recently launched free two-day shipping for most items in orders of $35 and over. Compared to this, Amazon still costs lesser but the forced buying of items only as an ‘Add-on’ can result in people getting turned off and moving to other such viable options.
Customers might even consider making a list of such small items and doing their monthly grocery shopping from any online grocery retailer which would save their time and cost and facilitate their comforts as well. As for now, people are lashing out at their respective Twitter handles about the new rules. It is yet to see how this step might affect the response of customers towards Prime membership as many would reconsider paying $99 annual or $13 monthly charges for the same.