The Cognitive Savings Are Why I Really Love Amazon Prime

As a business owner I’m not always a fan of Amazon’s practices, but as a consumer one of the best purchases I make is the $100/year I spend on Amazon Prime. It’s not because of any of the obvious benefits of free 2-day shipping. It’s because of the cognitive savings.

The definition of cognition is:

conscious mental activities : the activities of thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering

It’s those mental activities that I save big on with Amazon Prime. My shopping habits changed when I got put in a situation where Amazon had my card and address on file, Amazon became universally accessible from any internet connected device, almost anything I could want to buy was on there, and (almost) every package arrived within 2 days. Is the price always better? No, but it’s usually pretty good, and really I don’t care because of what I’m really saving: time and those conscious mental activities.

Compared to how I shopped 15 years ago, when I shop with Prime I don’t need to make a shopping list, plan a trip to the store, navigate the store, wait in line, pay, and then return home. Instead, the moment I think of something I open the app or website, click buy, and two days later it shows up on my doorstep. Often times I’ll get a package and won’t remember what I ordered because it’ll be something boring like socks or vitamins that I thought about for 30 seconds two days prior.

And that’s if I know what I want. If I don’t, Amazon’s search is really good at returning a few good options, and their reviews/Q&A’s are vastly superior to any store salesman.

That 30 seconds vs all of the aforementioned activities of 15 years ago is where Prime really shines. The time savings are great. The mind-freeing is even better. I’ve never been one to particularly enjoy shopping, so for me having the time and energy to spend elsewhere makes Prime worth every penny.

2 comments on The Cognitive Savings Are Why I Really Love Amazon Prime

  1. Rob Sleath says:

    Have you ever toyed with the idea of having a flat rate annual subscription in return for “free postage” at DI to see how it affects shopping habits?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      We have. It’s a really good question Rob. We basically can’t get the math to work. The customers it would appeal to most are the businesses and enthusiasts in our wholesale program. Thing is, those customers tend to order a lot, and order a lot of heavy products so we’d be taking a big loss on their shipping, something we probably couldn’t make up in volume. It is one of those things we should revisit every year or two as things change though. There may come a time where it’s worth experimenting with.

      One thing I am working on doing shortly is saving customers credit cards so they don’t have to enter them each time during purchase. PayPal’s API has this feature called the vault, which lets you “store” a card to charge in the future without actually storing the card info in your database. I think that will be a big win. We have wholesalers placing multiple orders per week this time of year, it will save them time and make it easier to shop on their phones. It removes one area of friction and doesn’t really cost us anything.

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