Prime Now: In select cities, Amazon offers one-hour delivery on tens of thousands of products from local stores. For instance, in New York City you can get delivery of beer, wine and spirits from Westside Market, Union Square Wines, or Vintage Grape. Amazon recently expanded its Prime Now delivery to include Annapolis, Cleveland, Louisville, North/Central New Jersey, and Pittsburgh.
The concept parallels Amazon’s bookstores, which largely feature books that are well-reviewed by customers, and use shelf tags to display the average review score and sometimes feature excerpts from the reviews. The 4-Star store sports electronic tags with each item that update dynamically to provide an average of stars awarded in reviews and the total number of reviews.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Amazon is using its own ‘Vine’ reviewer program to dramatically increase the number of product reviews for some private-label products. Bloomberg’s analysis found that the Amazon Basics motor oil product has almost as many product reviews three months after launch as a close competitor, a Valvoline motor oil product. Eighty percent of Amazon’s product reviews are from the “Vine Reviewer” program, an Amazon program where brands pay for selected users to review their products, compared with zero Vine reviews for the competing Valvoline product.
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Prime Pantry: Prime Pantry gives members access to low-priced groceries as well as household and pet care items. Now a subscription service, Prime Pantry costs $4.99/month (in addition to your Prime membership). The service includes unlimited free shipping on Pantry orders of $40 or more. Orders under $40 incur a $7.99 shipping fee. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
Even considering that the teams launching private-label brands at Amazon have unrestricted access to programs like Vine reviews, they are still “paying” for these perks. The Vine review program is not a fully automated process that runs in the background. It requires technical and human resources to manage thousands of Vine reviewers and product review requests from vendors. Amazon is matching reviewers with samples and shipping the samples out, managing customer service, and maintaining the infrastructure of the program. You can bet that there are heated internal battles for Vine review program privileges on new product launches, even if the internal team is not personally dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on the activity like brands have to do.
Amazon, land of 1 million things you need and 5 million options for each of them, has quickly become the one-stop shop for an insane amount of online purchases. For me, that's because they have a wide selection, carry most of the brands I want, list them at near the lowest or the lowest prices I've seen in price comparison research (with shipping in mind), and, last but absolutely not least, because I'm a Prime member and the internet has made me a glutton for instant gratification — something that 2-Day (or two-hour) shipping panders well to.
Lean on Pete flows with such gentle beauty that it may be hard to grasp precisely what it’s about or where it’s going. But the power of writer-director Andrew Haigh’s sublime drama is that it can support myriad interpretations while remaining teasingly mysterious—like its main character, it’s always just a bit out of reach, constantly enticing us to look closer. Based on Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel, the movie is a smashing introduction to Charlie Plummer, who was the kidnapped John Paul Getty III in last year’s All the Money in the World. Here, he plays Charley Thompson, a 15-year-old living with his drinking, backslapping dad (Travis Fimmel) in Portland. Charley has a sweet face and a soft-spoken manner—when he talks, the last few words evaporate into the air, as if he’s too shy to even be bold enough to enunciate—but early on, we get a sense that there’s a craftiness underneath that demeanor. The first indication is his willingness to lie about his age to Del (Steve Buscemi), a craggy horse owner who reluctantly takes him on as a caretaker for his elderly racehorse Lean on Pete. Charley doesn’t know a thing about horses, but he’s anxious to find something to do now that he’s in a new town with his father, their reasons for leaving Spokane unspecified but clearly dispiriting. Familiar narrative tropes emerge in Lean on Pete: the boy-and-his-dog drama, the coming-of-age story, the father-and-son character piece, the road movie. Haigh breezes past them all, seeking something more elliptical in this deceptively slim story. With the patience and minimalist command of a Kelly Reichardt, he doesn’t dictate where his film goes, seemingly letting Charley’s restlessness call the shots. The boy’s journey gathers force and poignancy as it moves forward, and the more we understand about Charley the more unknowable he becomes. Along the way, we meet other people and see other worlds—the life of young military veterans, the reality of homelessness, the grind of the low-rent racing circuit—but Haigh views it all with the same unassuming compassion we see in Charley’s quiet eyes. —Tim Grierson
If I sound too negative, please don't take it that way - I'm just trying to tell you why this isn't a five star book. You have 220 pages of 'awesome and can't put it down' book followed by 40 pages of 'what the hell am I doing reading this' slog, then another 30 pages of fairly decent reading. If you don't read those two chapters, it's a five star book!
While our survey has long shown seasonal fluctuations in Prime membership levels, we have now seen four months of—at best—flatlining membership rates. Moreover, in July last year, Prime Day prompted a month-over-month increase in membership numbers, but this year we saw no such jump. This August, the proportion of consumers we recorded holding a Prime membership was the lowest we had seen in a year.
On July 15, 2015, to commemorate its 20th birthday, Amazon celebrated "Amazon Prime Day", which Amazon announced would feature deals for prime members that rivaled those on Black Friday. Also that month Amazon Prime announced that it would be signing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, formerly of BBC's Top Gear, to begin working on The Grand Tour, due to be released in 2016. On July 13, 2016, Amazon Prime said customers placed 60 percent more orders worldwide on "Prime Day".