Here’s the good news.
Amazon SG has kicked off Amazon Prime membership for locals, with the first month free, and at an introductory rate of SGD$2.99.
Membership comes with access to the Amazon Video streaming service, and Twitch Prime.
The even better news? The reason it stopped Global Free Shipping from Amazon US here is because a local Amazon Prime membership now allows you to buy items from Amazon US.
Here’s the bad news. And there are a few.
- The free 2 hour shipping for Amazon Prime Now SG is only available to Amazon Prime members. And it looks like unless you’re a member, you cannot buy anything from Amazon Prime Now SG at all.
- Your Prime membership only gives you access to free shipping, Amazon Video, and Twitch Prime. There is no access to Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Reading.
- The items available for international shipping from Amazon US are a fraction of what used to be available under Global Free Shipping. You can browse these items under the new International tab on the mobile app.
Again, if you want access, you have to sign up for a Prime membership. It’s an S$8.99/month subscription and unlike the US, there is no annual fee option. As a hook, those who sign up now get 30 days of free membership, and after that, membership at a special rate of only SGDS$2.99.The wording for this makes us nervous.
While S$2.99 is extremely attractive to subscribe into the Amazon ecosystem, there’s no indication on how long this offer will last.
- There’s no Amazon SG website. EVERYTHING CAN ONLY BE ACCESSED by the Amazon Prime Now SG mobile app.
Remember the part about Amazon ceasing free shipping from the US to Singapore? Yes, that part is mostly true as Amazon has now revised their free shipping policy to all Amazon Prime Now SG members. Free shipping now only applies to orders of items under the International tab that are over S$60, albeit with a very limited selection.
Hey Amazon, don’t you also run a powerful cloud service known as Amazon Web Service? How difficult is it to create a proper Amazon SG website, instead of forcing us to shop via an app. Lazada, Qoo10, Aliexpress and Taobao all have mobile apps, which WE use for quick searches, but most of the shopping is done on a computer, on a browser.
So What’s Missing?
Yes, the threshold is lower now, but it comes with a catch. Many in fact.
Remember pre-ordering video games as a Prime member, getting the 25 per cent pre-order discount and then getting the games shipped here? There’s none of that anymore. The video games selection is pathetic compared to what we had before. Want to pick up Mario Odyssey for the Switch? We did last month via Amazon US, but the game, and many others, are no longer available to Singapore Prime members.
Though you can still pre-order on the US site and pay for regular shipping. Then, why would we need a specific Amazon Prime Now for Singapore again?
Want to order a Nintendo 3DS XL or Nintendo Switch? You could from Amazon US before, but you can’t anymore.
So while the order limit of US$125 has been lowered to SGD$60, we had a larger selection of items to choose from before. Perhaps Amazon knew Singaporean consumers would get a nerfed selection, so it reduced the minimum shipping threshold for consumers to gain free shipping. Pfft.
Our gripe is not about minimum shipping costs or even the subscription price. Sadly, customers in Singapore are being denied access to items they could buy before, at an affordable rate. Amazon is basically saying, we now have local store (sort of), but you have to pay more. Sorry.
As a product of the Internet, the folks at Amazon should know that what attracted users to them in the first place was the price and range of products. Take that away and you’re no more than an online brick and mortar store.
Let us know if you have any questions on the new Amazon Prime membership, and we will try our best to answer them.