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Amazon announced this morning that it is rolling out Buy with Prime, described as "a new benefit for Prime members that will extend the convenience of Prime shopping to online stores beyond Amazon.com. Buy with Prime will initially be available by invitation only for merchants using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and will roll out through 2022 as merchants are invited to participate, including those not selling on Amazon or using FBA."

The announcement elaborates this way:

"Buy with Prime will allow millions of U.S.-based Prime members to shop directly from merchants’ online stores with the trusted experience they expect from Amazon—including fast, free delivery, a seamless checkout experience, and free returns on eligible orders. Prime members will see the Prime logo and delivery promise on eligible products in merchants’ online stores, which signals the item is available for free delivery, as fast as next day, with free returns. When shopping with Buy with Prime, checkout is simple and convenient. Prime members will use the payment and shipping information stored in their Amazon account and receive timely shipping and delivery notifications after an order is placed."

It goes on:  

"For merchants already using FBA, Buy with Prime can be added to their online store within minutes because their inventory is already stored in Amazon fulfillment centers. To get started, merchants sign up for Buy with Prime, link an Amazon Seller Central account, use Multi-Channel Fulfillment to offer one pool of inventory for multiple channels, and link an Amazon Pay account to offer a seamless checkout experience for Prime members. Then, by installing a JavaScript widget in their online store, merchants can easily add Buy with Prime to one or more products. With Buy with Prime, merchants will receive shopper order information, including email addresses for customer orders, which they can use to provide customer service and build direct relationships with shoppers.

"Using Buy with Prime, merchants simply pay for what they use. Pricing is based on a service fee, a payment processing fee, and fulfillment and storage fees that are calculated per unit. With no fixed subscription fee or long-term contract required, merchants can expand selection or cancel at any time."

KC's View:

Fascinating.

How many times do people go on a site other than Amazon, only to wish that it offered the same convenience available with Prime?  Often, I suspect … and this will allow Amazon to offer it … potentially build out its delivery infrastructure in a way that competes with FedEx and UPS … and dip its beak on sales that previously it had nothing to do with.

This latter part is the danger, of course … because suddenly Amazon will have access to customer and transaction information beyond what is happening on its own site.  This will worry some retailers, I suspect, and also could be a flashing red light to regulators and lawmakers already looking askance at Amazon's market penetration.