It's 2am and I can't fall asleep: my sheets are thick in the new summer heat, the down comforter weighing heavily, and the mattress feeling lumpy. And this is only May. With a sigh I wiggle myself from the sheets and sit up with my phone, unlock it, and let 4G and Amazon Prime solve my problems.
I first experienced the wonders of Amazon Prime when I joined Amazon Student in my first year of college at an urban campusâ€”a program that offers the Prime services for free to students with an .edu email address. Accustomed to suburban prices, the urban consumerscape was pricier and more limited than I had expected. As an alternative, Amazon offers Tide to Go, Levis, leather shoes, Egyptian Cotton sheets, paper towels, Solo cups, wine glasses, celery, Goldfish and of course, all my text books at extremely competitive prices and free two day shipping. And, let's be honest, what is more fun than opening a package?
I don't want this to sound like a plug for Amazon Prime; that said, this is one very satisfied consumer confessing here. Let's establish the fact that nothing seems to stop Amazon growth and expansion in 2013: Business Insider included Amazon as the leader of e-commerce on their list 51 Companies that Are Changing the Way We Shop. As Amazon diversifies into fashion, grocery items, and media, the company's video service recently announced that it will produce five new TV shows Ã la Netflix's Arrested Development. Every time I thought it was Amazon's moment, it got better.
Amazon Student (by the way, there is also Amazon Mom) enticed me into joining the classic Prime program for 79$ a year after graduation. For that price the membership includes: free punctual two day shipping on Amazon items, access to Amazon Instant Video, and a free Kindle book each month. There is no minimum you have to pay for free shipping: if I need to do laundry on Friday I can order all of my detergent on Wednesday for $8.67 and have it on Friday afternoon. Moreover, customers can subscribe to products they use often. Let's say you know use two bottles of Tide a monthâ€”Amazon will automatically deliver these two bottles each month to your doorstep at a low cost you can realistically never get at the CVS around the corner. This is not to say that I haven't had my dark moments on Amazon Prime: AM orders of Lindt Lindor Truffles and midnight orders of utterly extraneous coffee products. This, however, is part of the fun.
The price also includes incredible customer service. Last month I began my move to New York City. This presented a new challenge to my Amazon Prime service: how can I sign for packages if I am not home? How will I get them? My fears were confirmed when my new bike seat was left unattended under the stoop of my apartment building andâ€¦was stolen! I called Amazon that day and they promptly overnighted me a new seatâ€”no questions asked with a delivery time confirmed for my schedule (the bike seat was only $15 to begin with). The MSRP for this seat was about $30â€”a price point that often signifies how brick and mortar stores set prices. The light turbulence I encountered with my move proves that Amazon's commitment to customer experience and expedited service still, quite frankly, rules.
This is a trusting customer service experience. I don't just order things I want on Amazon Prime, but also day to day things I need for my life: everything from Sharpies to juice to organic soap. And so by 2:10am I had ordered new thinner and breathable bed sheets that would arrive just in time before the summer heat waves shore up tossing and turning across the city. I'm in luck if I need a fan fast.[Image: Scottish Government - Flickr]