Member Exclusive   //   February 29, 2024

Amazon Briefing: Despite hiccups, Shopify brands are warming up to Buy With Prime

This is the latest installment of the Amazon Briefing, a weekly Modern Retail+ column about the ever-changing Amazon ecosystem. More from the series →

After about six months since officially launching, Shopify’s Buy with Prime integration is seeing traction among e-commerce brands.

Amazon first unveiled Buy With Prime in 2022, which allowed merchants to make products Prime-eligible on their own website. But for months, it was unclear whether Shopify merchants could enable the Buy With Prime feature on their website, as Shopify warned merchants that the integration was against its terms of service. But in September, the two companies announced that they would join forces, and Shopify officially released an option within its app ecosystem to add Buy With Prime. Since then, a number of SMBs on Shopify’s platform have adopted Buy With Prime on their websites. They include reusable tumbler maker Corkcicle and Em Cosmetics, whose website features a dedicated Buy With Prime section.

Through Shopify’s Buy With Prime integration, brands that leverage Amazon’s fulfillment network can add the check-out option on a product’s DTC page. Customers who choose the option are then directed to that product’s Amazon page, giving Amazon Prime members the option of paying with their Amazon account and getting free two-day shipping. Brand and agency executives who spoke to Modern Retail said the option is helping reduce cart abandonment. However, there are still some kinks to work out on the backend, as well as additional fees for displaying Buy With Prime on DTC websites. 

Volcanica Coffee is one company that has been testing Amazon with Prime since last September, when Amazon and Shopify decided to move forward with the integration. “Shopify and Amazon went into their separate corners and started fighting,” Volcanica CEO Maurice Contreras told Modern Retail. “Then, they kissed and made up, so we got the go-ahead and installed it.” 

Contreras said that the company has ranked in the top 20 coffee brands on Amazon, making Buy With Prime a natural extension of the direct-to-consumer website. As such, Volcanica’s top goal was to better convert customers coming to the brand’s site by sending them over to the company’s Amazon store.

Contreras said one of the biggest reasons their site visitors abandon online carts is due to the shipping cost, especially on small orders. Volcanica offers free shipping on purchases of $60 or more, or a flat rate of $6.95 on all other orders. Shortly after installing Buy With Prime, Volcanica Coffee saw an uptick in new customer conversions. Contreras also said that 70% of the customers who used Buy With Prime had never ordered from the company’s site before – with the majority of orders being under $60.

Contreras added that existing DTC customers are continuing to buy from Volcanica’s website due to exclusive fresh roasts and to make use of existing subscriptions, negating concerns about channel cannibalization.

For pet brand Earth Rated, adding Buy With Prime to its website has allowed the company to sell products through its DTC website for the first time. Historically, Earth Rated uses its website as a store finder portal and to direct customers to retail partners’ websites, which include Walmart, Target and Amazon. Now, with Buy With Prime, people can add products to their carts on Earth Rated’s website, and then are directed to checkout through Amazon.

Lauren Kendall, senior marketing and content manager at Earth Rated, said the company implemented Buy With Prime on its website in mid-January, and has “already seen great results in a short time.”

“Our website is not currently set up for DTC, so adding the feature is allowing us to drive sales directly through our website — which would not have been possible before,” Kendall said. The company, she added, isn’t currently running any external advertising to drive traffic to the site, “and despite that we’ve seen a good amount of organic sales.” 

Still, others have been slower to embrace Buy With Prime for various reasons. Mark William Lewis, founder of e-commerce development agency Netalico, said the agency hasn’t seen the integration take off with existing Shopify merchants. “That’s because it’s mostly catering towards Amazon merchants that might want to build a DTC presence as well,” he said.

“That’s not to say it’s a flop or anything,” Lewis said. ”It’s just a relatively small use-case at the moment.”

Kendall said Earth Rated did experience some wonkiness in installing the Shopify feature, and that sometimes it still glitches on the backend. “But the Amazon Buy With Prime team has been so helpful and supportive in providing the resources we need to rectify any integration issues,” she said.

Similarly, Contreras said that Volcanica has experienced some hiccups on the backend as well, but said that’s to be expected with new software. “[Amazon] assigned us an account manager to communicate with us, and are also promoting our business on Buy With Prime social media postings.” 

The tech itself appears to be improving. “After Shopify released an official integration a few months ago, the integration isn’t that painful any more,” William Lewis said.

Other agencies are seeing encouraging results among their clients. Yuriy Boykiv, CEO of Front Row, said the e-commerce and marketing agency is strongly recommending Buy With Prime to clients — especially to brands that sell through multiple channels. Front Row has primarily tested Buy With Prime with wellness and beauty brands. “We tested it with one supplement brand and conversions tripled in the first three months,” Boykiv said.

That’s not to say there aren’t any downsides to offering Buy With Prime, Boykiv said. One drawback is paying a 3% fee on each Buy With Prime order value. The other challenge, Boykiv said, is one that has historically plagued DTC brands that choose to sell on Amazon: sharing customer data with the e-commerce giant. However, in the past few years more DTC companies have embraced Amazon as another channel to reach convenience-driven customers. “Now, scale comes first and data capture comes second,” Boykiv said. 

While there are some deterrents for adding Shopify’s Buy With Prime, the brands that have seen success in the early test runs plan to continue offering it. For Earth Rated, for instance, the check-out option gives the company a new way to grow e-commerce without investing directly in DTC. “This really highlights the potential we can unlock if we begin to launch media campaigns that drive more traffic to our website,” Kendall said.

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