Amazon extends Prime benefits to merchant sites

Amazon is extending the benefits of a Prime membership to online stores beyond its own site, a move aimed at increasing merchant fee revenue and expanding its logistics footprint.

The company announced Thursday that the new service it calls “Buy with Prime” will initially be available by invitation to merchants who ship their products using Amazon’s warehouse and delivery services. Then it will be rolled out to merchants who don’t sell on Amazon or use its delivery services.

Amazon.com Inc. said the service will only be available to US customers. Launched in 2005, Prime has more than 200 million members worldwide who pay $139 per year, or $14.99 per month, for faster shipping and other benefits, such as free shipping and returns.

The company said Prime members using “Buy with Prime” could see the Prime logo on eligible products on a merchant’s site and make purchases using payment and shipping information stored in their Amazon account.

Merchants using the service will pay various fees, which the retailer says are calculated based on what sellers use. “With no fixed subscription fees or long-term contracts required, merchants can expand their selection or cancel at any time,” he said.