Amazon Changes You Need to Know About

Published On September 18, 2015 | Tech Business

For Amazon Prime lovers, the service has become an indispensible part of their online experience. Between speedy delivery and a vast catalog of movies and shows, Amazon users are increasingly buying into Prime status to unlock its many perks. But as the tech giant continues to tweak its popular service, the company has announced some changes to its two-day delivery option and Amazon Instant Video.

Two-Day Shipping by Region

Prime membership is practically synonymous with free two-day shipping, and it’s a perk that attracts many to Prime in the first place. But with increasing demand for near-instant delivery, companies are pressured into paying hefty shipping costs to send heavy items cross-country.

So to incentivize companies to make the leap to offer two-day shipping, Amazon is testing out an option that allows companies to choose two-day shipping by region instead of its previous all-or-nothing model. This means that a Florida-based supplier of 400-pound fire pits can choose to offer Prime shipping in the southeast, but doesn’t need to suck up the cost of getting their giant product to Oregon.

For shoppers, this means that depending on where they live, they may find that more items are now Prime eligible. Or, they may be disappointed to learn that some of their go-to suppliers have opted into Amazon’s ship-by-region test and no longer offer Prime shipping in their region. However, the good news is that Prime-eligible items shipped from Amazon’s own warehouses are not affected by this change and will continue to ship with two-day delivery to every region.

There’s no word, yet, on how long this test will run. If successful, it could mean that more companies will try offering two-day shipping, which ultimately, is a win for shoppers.

Offline Viewing

In addition to Amazon’s extensive library of streaming content available to Prime members, they’ve made a splash with their original content, most recently racking up numerous Emmy Award wins for the hit show, Transparent. With all this great entertainment on Amazon, Prime members want to be able to watch wherever and whenever. Now they can.

Amazon announced it will allow offline viewing for Prime members, which means members can download select Prime Instant Video movies and shows to their phones and tablets to watch later. This groundbreaking move differentiates Amazon Prime Instant Video from its competitors, like Netflix and Hulu, which require an Internet connection to view their content. It will expand the way Prime members can access and enjoy Amazon’s video content.

In a recent statement, VP of digital video, Michael Paull, said, “We are proud to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing — on vacation, in a car, at the beach, on a plane, wherever our Prime members want to watch they can, regardless of Internet connection.”

At the moment, offline viewing is only available on select content, as Amazon needs to secure permission to download for each title.

A Prime membership will set you back $99 per year, but with Amazon putting more focus on refining and improving the Prime experience, the price tag could be well worth it.

– By Samantha Rivers

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