As if consumers needed another incentive for shopping on Amazon, the mega merchant is making its Prime membership even more enticing.
There’s no question that Prime is the engine driving Amazon’s retail domination. The fast, free shipping in exchange for a $99 membership fee builds loyalty, makes online purchases a no-brainer and often leads shoppers to spend nearly double the expenditures of non-members. Market intelligence firm L2 estimated that in 2016 membership swelled to 58 to 65 million people—which translates to about half of U.S. households.
Read more to learn Amazon manages to afford to offer free shipping: Target Launches Next Day Deliveries, the Secret to Amazon’s Free Shipping Offers
Impressive numbers maybe, but Amazon is never satisfied with anything, so the urgency to enlist more shoppers to the program hasn’t abated. Earlier this month, the retailer introduced a discounted monthly Prime offer for consumers on government assistance in order to compete with Walmart, which currently courts this crowd. But the latest carrot is Prime Reload, a new program that rewards Prime members with 2 percent cashback on purchases made via the retailer’s gift card function.
This new reward builds upon the Prime Rewards Visa card, which gives cardholders 5 percent back with each Amazon purchase and other cashback perks for purchases made elsewhere. Reload is designed to capture those consumers who either don’t want to get the card or wouldn’t qualify for it.
In order to join the program, shoppers need only join Prime, enroll in the gift card program and add funds to that account, either via a bank account or debit card. In as little as five minutes, the funds—plus the bonus 2 percent—are available to be used.
In addition to attracting more Prime members, Reload could also entice people to spend more than they’d planned to since they know there’s something in it for them. Additionally, as long as the money stays in the gift card account, Amazon has more working capital.