Amazon will expand “Buy with Prime” to all U.S. merchants by Jan. 31, allowing Prime members to shop on outside websites, using their saved checkout details and accessing Prime benefits like free delivery and returns. The option launched in April last year by invitation only.
The e-commerce giant also launched Reviews from Amazon, enabling merchants to display ratings and reviews from Amazon customers on their own sites for no additional cost, per a company press release.
Software-as-a-service e-commerce platform BigCommerce on Tuesday said it will integrate the Buy with Prime app in the first quarter, allowing its merchants to add the option without coding.
As Amazon scales back its retail operations to some extent, it’s looking outside for opportunities to expand.
Clicking a button to “buy with Prime” theoretically expands the suite of perks and conveniences available to Prime members. But the e-commerce company is pitching the program to U.S. merchants, including those that don’t necessarily sell through the Amazon marketplace. On Tuesday Amazon said its Buy with Prime program “has been shown to increase shopper conversion by an average of 25%.”
“We’ve been working closely with merchants since the launch of Buy with Prime and have been thrilled to hear the results it’s helped drive for them so far,” Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president of Buy with Prime, said in a statement. “We’ll continue innovating and investing in new features, such as Reviews from Amazon, to help merchants of all sizes succeed and give Prime members the shopping benefits they love, whether it’s on Amazon or beyond.”
Despite the expansion announced Tuesday, Amazon likely understands that it could take a few years to know if it will scale, according to Rick Watson, founder and CEO of RMW Commerce Consulting.
“At the end of the day, it's not going to be meaningful for some time, because this is such a small program,” Watson said by phone. “There's something like a thousand sellers every day that joined the Amazon marketplace last year. How many are going to join with Buy with Prime every day this year? Not nearly that many.”
Like Amazon Pay, which has shown up as a payment option on some websites for over a decade, the Buy with Prime button is something of a time saver for customers because their payment and shipping details are automatically available, but it’s “not terribly unique,” according to Watson.
Moreover, even some of the merchants touted in Amazon’s press materials Tuesday don’t apply the Buy with Prime option to every product they sell, he said. That introduces pain points for customers, who want to easily see shipping options and costs.
“If you look at the history of direct e-commerce, I don't think that's going to work at scale, and I think that will limit the success of the program,” he said. “And so, what percentage of merchants will let Buy with Prime have run of site? That is a question that they need to answer.”