Singapore will be the first country in Southeast Asia, and 16th globally, to launch Amazon Prime.
As part of its promotional effort, membership fees for Singaporeans are offered at the sweet, sweet price of S$2.99 a month for a limited time before they revert to the standard S$8.99 monthly.
Mr Amos Tan, a Singapore Polytechnic senior lecturer in marketing and retail, said Amazon's removal of free shipping for non-members is a way of trying to lock in more customers.
According to Amazon, for this week, Singapore customers who are Prime members get to enjoy exclusive access to free two-hour delivery on orders over S$40.
Today, 6 November, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Prime in Singapore. In nine USA markets, shoppers can purchase gifts from Amazon Handmade Artisans on Prime Now for delivery until 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve.
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The local Prime membership benefits do not apply to items bought on Amazon websites in other countries, however, and customers with existing US Prime memberships can not convert them to local ones.
The company made its first foray into the region with the launch of its fast delivery service Prime Now in July.
However, he encouraged "anyone living in Singapore to leverage the Prime membership package developed specifically for Singapore" and noted that Prime membership is country-specific and not transferable, which means that those with US Prime memberships can not convert them to local ones. Amazon are hoping that the lure of halving the threshold for free global shipping from Amazon US to Singapore and cutting delivery times will be enough to convince Singapore customers to cough up.
Amazon Handmade products are available via Prime Now for members in Austin, Texas; Brooklyn and Manhattan, N.Y.; Minneapolis; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; San Diego; the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle through the holiday season.
Other consumers are looking for more services to be added to Prime.