Why Amazon Prime delivery – due in South Africa in 2023 – is such a game changer for online shopping

In February 2023, the “Fela Project” is expected to bring Amazon’s online shopping to South Africa, according to leaked documents. And later next year, Amazon’s flagship service, Prime, is expected to be available to South Africans.

It could change the way South Africans shop online.

Even as Amazon cuts growth in the United States, facing a recession, it plans to launch in Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria and South Africa by next year, according to documents seen by Business Insider.

The Prime service will only be available in Belgium when the Amazon Marketplace launches, but it should be added in South Africa during 2023.

Amazon has vast operations in South Africa, hiring thousands of people at a time to act as service representatives, opening local data centers and struggling to build a new headquarters. Amazon Prime Video is available with rand-based pricing in South Africa, and it has Audible audiobooks in local languages.

To date, however, it has circumvented South Africa and the rest of the continent with its marketplace, which combines its own retail businesses (including its extensive range of Amazon Basics own brand products) with third-party sellers around the world to sell, literally, just about anything you can imagine.

These third-party sellers may ship direct, handle their own logistics and customer service — and charge for different shipping options — but they can also be included in Amazon Prime, which effectively puts Amazon in charge of fulfillment.

This makes the number of items available through Prime in countries such as the US and UK an ever-changing target, but, as a subset of the hundreds of millions of products listed, it is substantial.

After a price increase earlier this year, Americans pay $14.99 monthly subscription for Prime, and the same costs £7.99 in the UK. In local terms, this could be between R160 and R240 per month, although there is no indication yet of what Amazon intends to charge in South Africa.

South Africa’s largest online seller, Takealot, ships for free on orders over R450, and charge R65 for standard delivery below that. If you buy less than R450 at a time, it also charges at least R30 to collect.

At the top of its price range, that makes an Amazon Prime monthly subscription worth around four Takealot deliveries. But Prime becomes much more attractive if you use other Amazon services. It includes the full catalog of Amazon Prime Video and a catalog of two million songs on Amazon Music, although you have to pay a few hundred rand more each month to access all the music.

Prime members can store 5 GB of video and unlimited photos at maximum resolutionat no additional cost (which Google stopped offering for free years ago), and access thousands of books via “Prime Reading” on Kindle.

Delivery benefits are entirely dependent on where you live. Prime means all Amazon deliveries are free – including same-day or next-day shipping for those close enough to major cities to be on a delivery route, and including groceries that can be delivered in a few hours.

Regardless of speed, free shipping offers a very different online shopping experience than South Africans are used to. A pepper mill that breaks while you cook? You can quickly order one before you start stirring pots again. Do you realize you’re running out of firelighters when packing the braai? You can order another box before hitting the match.

For simple economic reasons, Prime products in other countries tend to fetch equivalent prices of around R20, with cheaper products being sold in bundles to reach that price. But instead of keeping a shopping list, so you can buy 20 of these items at a time for free shopping, you can hit the “buy now” button whenever the idea strikes.

Such is the convenience of being able to shop through Prime that Amazon also offers an ‘Amazon Day’ delivery option, where all of your purchases will be delivered on your chosen day of the week – because being available to take delivery can be the hard part. most difficult of the process.

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