Amazon Prime is finally here, for users in India, offering free one-day, two-day delivery at no extra costs on products with the Prime Logo next to them. Amazon Video is also headed soon to India, and will offer exclusive video, original TV shows with it for users who subscribe to Prime. But with Amazon Prime available in India, what does it mean for Flipkart First Subscription? Is Amazon Prime a better deal over Flipkart First? Or should a user try and get both services? We evaluate both the schemes, including the benefits offered, pricing, terms and conditions and what kind of exclusive access a user should expect.
First up, we’ll take a look at Amazon Prime and what are the benefits offered. Amazon is introducing the service at a price of Rs 499, which is a Rs 500 discount on the actual Rs 999 price. Customers will get a 60-day free trial to the service, after which they can choose to not continue with Amazon Prime. Don’t worry, you can re-join the service at a later date, should you choose not to continue after the free trial period.
So does Amazon automatically charge your debit or credit card for the Prime account after end of free trial? No, the terms and conditions specifically state: “We will not auto-charge your credit, debit card or bank account saved on Amazon for your Prime membership at the end of free trial.” So what are the benefits of paying Rs 499 per year for Amazon Prime? For starters, on ‘Prime eligible’ products, a user gets one-day and two-day delivery to eligible addresses for free. Same-day, Morning, and Scheduled delivery at eligible addresses will cost only Rs 50 for Amazon Prime customers, compared to earlier prices of Rs 100 for one-day delivery, etc.
Amazon Prime members also don’t have to worry about a “minimum order value”for free standard delivery. In terms of deals and sales, Prime members get early 30 minutes access to Amazon India’s Lightning deals, and deals of the day. Of course, Amazon reminds users: stocks might be limited on deals.
So what should Prime Members look for in order to get one-day delivery free? Make sure Prime and Amazon fulfilled boxes are ticked in the filter for a product. You might not find this logo on all products, but where both are applicable (aka all products sold by Cloudtail) you’ll find free one-day delivery. Prime members will also benefit from Same-Day, Morning and Scheduled Delivery in select pin-codes in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad. Amazon is promising Prime eligibility in over a hundred cities in India, but again a lot of the big ticket items might not be available in smaller cities.
Don’t expect one-day delivery on all products as Amazon warns items which need “special packaging or handling requirements”, will get free standard delivery. Also Amazon Prime benefits will not extend to items fulfilled by other sellers, or goods in the large appliances category.
And what if you want to cancel your Prime Membership? Just go to your Amazon account
and you’ll see a Prime Membership tab as well, where you can go and cancel the membership. When a user cancels their Paid Prime membership, Amazon will refund full membership fee only if you have not made any eligible purchases or taken advantage of Prime benefits since the latest charge. For example, if your paid Prime Membership starts from this month, and you buy products using this advantage, and then decide to cancel the membership within the next few days, Amazon won’t be giving a full refund. For those who purchase Prime membership via cash on delivery, refund is via NEFT only.
Finally and most importantly, Amazon Prime will mean exclusive access to Amazon Videos, which is coming soon to India. This will include original television shows and movies, from Indian and globally. Shows like Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Parks and Recreation are all on Amazon Video, and hopefully will be a part of the India list when the service launches.
So how does Flipkart First match up to Amazon Prime in terms of benefits and offers? It is cheaper of the two: Flipkart First costs only Rs 500 for the entire year, though technically right now Amazon Prime is cheaper at its Rs 499 price.
Flipkart First can be purchased via Net Banking, Credit Card, Debit Card & Payzippy payment options, but no cash on delivery, e-Gift Voucher or wallet can be used to buy the service. Flipkart First gives customers free in-a-day guarantee delivery, free standard delivery. However, Same Day Guarantee Delivery costs Rs 70 for Flipkart First members, which is Rs 20 more than Amazon Prime. Flipkart First customers also get “Priority Customer Service,” access. Customers have to call from the number they used when registering for the service in order to get priority access.
The delivery benefits are limited to select sellers, pin-codes and products on Flipkart, which is similar to Amazon. Flipkart first customers will get standard Returns, Replacements & Exchange Policy applies, so there are no special benefits here. Just like Amazon Prime, Flipkart First users also get Early Access to exclusive product launches, deals, again limited to availability of stocks.
Interestingly Flipkart says, “Early Access may not be applicable to all Flipkart Exclusive Launches & shopping events,” which we think might apply to smartphone flash sales where prior user registration is required.
As a Flipkart First subscriber, customers get access to top offers, which are exclusive only on Flipkart First Day sales, but the benefit is limited to goods under the under Flipkart Advantage logo. Check for products with WSRetail as the seller as these are the ones sold directly by Flipkart, and have the Flipkart Advantage logo next to them.
Subscription can cancelled anytime, but refunds are pro-rated depending on the period of subscription already completed. Meaning if you don’t end up using Flipkart First advantage for a month and then cancel the subscription next month, you will still be charged for that last month, and the refund will counted from the next month onwards. Remember these are yearly subscriptions, so you will pay in one go.
Amazon Prime brings the promise of free video at Rs 499, which might appeal to many, especially if you’ve been wanting to watch some of these Amazon Exclusive shows. Plus we don’t know when the full price of Rs 999 is going to kick in.
Also Amazon Prime’s cancellation policy appears to be better on paper, which ensures you’re not charged for a month where you don’t use the benefits. In Flipkart’s case, the subscription cost is lower, although same-day delivery costs more than Amazon Prime. Also Flipkart First doesn’t have any video content synced with the service.
For customers who’ve wanted free and fast shipping, both services sound like a good deal.