Amazon's tentacles are ever-expanding as it finds new ways to embed itself in the minds and wallets of consumers. The latest innovation is Buy With Prime, basically a way to buy through Amazon without actually going to the Amazon site.
Buy With Prime buttons have started showing up on independent e-commerce sites, according to Marketplace Pulse, a research organization that keeps tabs on Amazon.
The service allows Prime members to order through their Prime account and have the item fulfilled – billed and delivered – through Amazon. It was quietly rolled out earlier this month and is being offered by invitation only at the moment, though there's a waiting list for interested merchants who want to get in on the act.
The button shows up whether you have a Prime account or not. If you don't have one, it suggests you get one and provides a sign-up link.
Prime members simply click the button and sign into their Prime account. Although payment and shipping are handled through that account, the transaction will not appear on the Orders page on the Amazon site or app.
The advantage for merchants is that they can outsource the tricky and sometimes difficult billing and fulfillment functions to Amazon and concentrate on marketing, promotion and other fun stuff.
Amazon says pricing for the service "will depend on multiple factors, including product dimensions and weight, average selling price and number of units per Buy with Prime order."
"The cost includes fulfillment, storage, payment processing, and service fees that are calculated per unit. The cost of returns is included in the fulfillment fee. Merchants pay for what they use, and all fees, except for those incurred for storage, are charged only after merchants make a sale," Amazon explains.