Online retail giant Amazon has opened physical brick and mortar stores in Seattle, Portland, and San Diego. They plan on opening two more stores in Chicago and Boston. At these physical locations they sell mostly books, which is where Amazon originally made their bread and butter. However they’ve started a minor controversy by charging Amazon Prime members lower prices at their physical stores.
Amazon Prime is a paid perk for Amazon.com members where they can receive additional benefits like faster delivery and access to their Netflix-like service, Amazon Video. However, what the Prime membership doesn’t do is give Prime members better prices on their website. By using the stick and carrot of lower prices at the physical stores to get customers to sign up for Prime, it seems that they’re trying to extort their customers into paying close to $100 a year just to get a few bucks off for books at their physical location.
Now some may say that this sounds like any other ‘price club’ that a lot of stores have. The store gives you a card and when you present their card at checkout you get a discount on sale items. So how is that different from Amazon Prime? Well, at most of these stores that have price clubs, membership is free. That’s a far cry from $100 a year just for books. This sounds like it may be a minor backfire for Amazon as the only people they’ll be getting at their physical stores are people who need to have a book right now and will be willing to pay a few extra bucks for the non-Prime price.