Prime establishes consumer value by providing a mixed basket of benefits. Depending on what your individual use case is, you may compare Prime to Netflix, Spotify and whole other set of a la carte services. Of course, 2 day shipping is a unique benefit, but thanks to the marketplace, the exact value of this benefit can only be ascertained on a item-by-item basis.

I have been trying to get Prime value in yet another important aspect. By comparing it with big box stores such as Sams Club, Costco, BJs etc..

I went to BJs yesterday, where I have a subscription, with a shopping list yesterday. I told my wife for everytime we need, I would do a quick Price Check in Amazon’s mobile app, and if Amazon prevailed, I would buy it on Amazon. Very specifically, I was okay to get Prime shipments (2 day free) or Prime Pantry shipments ($5.99 for a box full of stuff).

Much to my surprise, BJs beat Amazon on almost every single item and at the end of my trip, I had my BJs cart full of stuff. My wife has been pro-bigbox and I have been pro-Prime. After this trip, I had to acquiesce to her and vote for continuing my BJs membership.

Questions —

  1. If I compare do big box comparison of Prime, and for the purpose of this discussion, exclude other benefits including 2 day shipping, videos, music, kindle etc.., does Prime still offer value?
  2. Are there specific types of items where Amazon would consistently fail in comparison shopping?