For years, Amazon has offered slightly different pricing for products depending on whether or not a customer was a member of the company’s $99/year Prime service. Now, it appears those price discrepancies have migrated to the company’s physical bookstores as the company works to bulk up its Prime subscriptions.
GeekWire reports that Amazon recently implemented a new pricing structure at its physical bookstores in Seattle, Portland, OR, and San Diego, with employees now asking customers checking out if they are an Amazon Prime member.
Under the pricing structure, customers who pay $99/year (or $10.99/month) for Prime membership can buy books and other products at the store for the same price they are listed on Amazon.com.
Customers who aren’t Prime members will be charged the product’s “list price.”
Figuring out just how much you’ll pay for a book can also be difficult for customers, GeekWire points out, as there are no price tag on shelves. Instead, customers can either scan a book at a kiosk or use Amazon’s app to find out the cost.
GeekWire checked the price of several books at the Seattle Amazon store kiosks, finding that discounts ranged from 6% to 40% for some titles.
In one case, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has a list price of $16, but a Prime price of $9.60. The bottom of the kiosk screen declares, ”Join Prime to save $6.40 on this time. Ask about a Prime free trial at checkout.”
The Amazon.com listing for the book shows the same prices:
The price differences don’t translate to some products sold at the bookstores, GeekWire points out. For example, Amazon’s devices, like the Echo speaker and Fire tablets, are sold for the same price as they are listing on Amazon.com to both Prime and non-Prime members visiting the bookstores.
Still, it’s fairly clear that Amazon is using its new bookstores as an avenue to enroll more Prime subscribers, as signs around the stores explain the pricing model, and provide information about how customers can sign up for a 30-day trial.
Additionally, the bookstore discounts are yet another way the company keeps bulking up its Prime benefits. In recent months the company has added on-demand TV and movies, photo storage sharing capabilities, game streaming portal Twitch, a music-streaming library, and free audio and e-books in order to keep members happy, and encourage sales.
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist