After months of speculation, Amazon Prime Now released their shopping app on iTunes and Google Play stores last Wednesday in Singapore, the first market in Southeast Asia. I love Amazon and always shop on their website back in the UK where it’s my go-to online store for everything from electronics to books. It’s also the website that most people will check to compare prices with other online and high street shops as Amazon is usually the cheapest. I’ve never used their Prime Now service in London as it was launched after I moved to Singapore so I was excited to try it here.
Amazon Prime Now usually requires a paid subscription to the service where not only would you get fast delivery of items purchased from them but you would get access to Prime Video which gives unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows, Prime Music for streaming of songs, Prime Reading which gives you unlimited access to thousands of ebooks, as well as other benefits such as discounts and photo storage. For a limited time in Singapore, everyone is able to try their shopping and delivery service for free where you get free two-hour delivery if you spend $40 or more. If you spend less than $40 then two-hour delivery is $5.99. Two-hour delivery is available to all areas in mainland Singapore and Sentosa but not outlying islands. One-hour delivery is also available in certain areas too (I suspect near their fulfillment centre in Jurong) and costs $9.99.
I installed the Amazon Prime Now app from iTunes last Thursday to have a browse at some of their items. First impressions was that the app is very user friendly and easy to use. If you already have an Amazon account in the UK or elsewhere then you can sign in with the same login details. The Amazon Prime Now app has several categories listed on the home screen so that it is easy to find what you’re looking for or you can use the search bar to look for what you want. They stock tens of thousands of items including cosmetics, electronics, household items, groceries, baby care products, toys, kitchen accessories, Amazon own brand products and much more. Looking at the prices of items they are still not as cheap as what you would find in the UK or US and are generally in line with Singapore pricing. There are certain items that are more expensive than other online retailers and on the high street but there are also some that are cheaper so it’s good to know your prices and compare Amazon prices with where you would normally purchase from in order to get the best deal. For example I got a 250g Perfect Italiano Parmesan Block Cheese on sale for $7.75 on Amazon Prime Now whereas in online supermarket Redmart it is usually around $9.70 as it is in physical supermarkets such as Cold Storage and Giant unless it’s on sale. Whereas a bag of Kettle Chips is around $4.50 on Amazon Prime Now and you can usually find it for around $3.25 elsewhere. Before Amazon Prime Now came along I would normally purchase most of my groceries from Redmart, Giant and Fairprice as these supermarkets were usually the best value but a lot of the grocery items on Amazon Prime Now are generally the same price however the current selection of groceries that they carry is no where as large as what you would find in Redmart or other supermarkets. I’m sure this will change in the future though.
Also Redmart and other supermarkets usually have discounts for bulk purchases which Amazon Prime Now don’t have so if you’re looking to purchase more than one of the same product then it could work out cheaper to shop elsewhere.
If you really look hard you can find some great bargains on items in other categories such as this Melissa & Doug baby toy for only $7.48 which is a steal considering how expensive baby stuff is in Singapore and it’s even cheaper than on the UK Amazon site where it is £5.99 (currently around $10.65). But generally most of the non-grocery items are expensive compared to prices on Amazon sites in other countries.
After installing the Amazon Prime Now app last Thursday at around midday and having a quick browse, there were lots of delivery slots available at the time, however when I returned to place my order at around 4pm all the slots were fully booked. I was lucky though to get a slot for the next day when I logged in later on just after midnight but by the next morning the slots were again all taken. They’ve actually been fully booked for the past few days but since yesterday they have opened up a few time slots again. Their availability problem is probably due to the fact that they were having a great promotion when they first launched, where you could get $20 off a $40 spend when you pay using a Visa card and use the promo code VISA20 and if you don’t have a Visa card then you could get $10 off using the promo code 10PRIMENOW. This promotion has unfortunately since ended. Knowing how Singaporeans and expats love a great bargain considering the high prices of everything here, everyone must have jumped at the chance to redeem the offer and hence why Amazon couldn’t cope with the sudden influx of orders due to a shortage of staff and delivery drivers. Now that the promotion has ended though it is a little easier to find a delivery slot although they are still limited and also you’re unlikely to get one within two hours. There are also quite a few items that are currently not available for purchase anymore as they are out of stock.
I booked the delivery of my order for 12pm to 2pm last Saturday, received updates on where my order was via text message and it was delivered by a friendly delivery driver at 12.52pm. It’s also possible to track your order on its way to you on a map when you log into your account on the app and view your order. The six items I ordered came very well packaged in the standard Amazon Prime Now brown paper bags that they use in other countries and they’re surprisingly made in the USA too! I purchased five blocks of cheese and some ice cream which was divided into two very large bags with ample space (they could probably have just fitted it all in one bag) and inside each bag was a sealed padded bag containing the items with ice packs. Strange how there were four ice packs in one bag which contained three blocks of cheese and not in the other where the ice cream was though… However the ice cream was luckily still cold.
Overall I’m very happy with the service that Amazon Prime Now provided. I think that after they have overcome the initial teething problems with availability of delivery and increased their product range as well as adjusted some of their prices in line with current offers in other supermarkets and stores then they could very well dominate the market. When Amazon eventually roll out subscription prices to Prime Now, if the price and perks are right and with two-hour delivery, Redmart and the like better watch out as they’re going to be hard to beat!
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Amazon Prime Now Singapore review, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review or if you have any questions!