Amazon Prime vs Amazon Business: Everything you need to know

You've probably heard about Prime. But did you know it's more than just free two-day shipping? And what about Amazon Business? Yes, Amazon also offers a marketplace with Prime-like benefits just for businesses. Here's what you need to know about both.

Video: Amazon Prime vs Amazon Business: The differences, explained

If you regularly shop on Amazon, whether as a consumer or a small business owner or an employee at a business, it's worth checking out Amazon's membership programs, like Amazon Prime and Amazon Business, both of which include some nice benefits that are hard to ignore.

Read also: Amazon Prime Day 2018: How and when to find the best deals

To make that process easier for you, we've gathered everything you need to know in this in-depth guide. Honestly, those of you who want to know more about Amazon as a whole, should read this as well, because Amazon Prime is essentially the heart of the e-commerce giant, and Amazon Business brings Prime-like benefits to businesses of any size.

amazon-prime-box-caja.jpg

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon offers a monthly subscription service to its shoppers called Amazon Prime.

If you subscribe, you become a Prime member and immediately get access to perks like free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, the ability to stream movies, TV shows, and tunes, and the option to use more Amazon services like Prime Wardrobe and Prime Pantry.

Read also: Amazon wants your business to deliver its packages

Plus, starting a few years ago, Amazon began holding an annual sales event it claims is "bigger than Black Friday." Called Prime Day, it's only available to Prime Members.

How much does Amazon Prime cost?

Amazon recently hiked the price of its annual membership fees for Amazon Prime.

Read also: Amazon: The world's most innovative tech company

New members are charged $119 per year for an annual Prime membership (or $59 per year if you register as a student). Alternatively, you can pay $12.99 per month (or $6.49 for Prime students). Amazon also offers a free 30-day free trial. Keep in mind that at the end of the free trial -- or your membership period -- your card is charged automatically.

What perks are included with Prime?

To learn more about each of the benefits below, go to Amazon's About Amazon Prime page.

Shipping:

  • Free two-day shipping on eligible items in the US.
  • Free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes.
  • Prime Now: Get two-hour delivery on thousands of items in eligible zip codes.
  • Free release-date delivery on eligible pre-order items in the US.
  • Free no-rush shipping: Earn rewards on purchases you don't need right away.

Streaming:

  • Prime Video: Access to movies and TV episodes for members in the US.
  • Amazon Channels: Watch content from HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ channels for an additional $4.99 to $14.99 per month, depending on the channel.
  • Prime Music: Ad-free access to Prime playlists and songs for members in the US.
  • Amazon Music Unlimited: Discounted Amazon Music Unlimited monthly plans.
  • Twitch Prime: Discounts on physical games pre-orders and new releases. Plus, Twitch.tv users who link their Amazon Prime account get ad-free viewing on Twitch, a free Twitch channel subscription every month, and exclusive access to free game content.
  • Prime Reading: Borrow books, magazines, and more from the Prime Reading catalogue and read them on your Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader, or the Kindle reading apps.
  • Amazon First Reads: Early access for members in the US to download a new book for free every month from the Amazon First Reads picks.
  • Audible Channels for Prime: Unlimited listening to original audio series and playlists.
  • Washington Post free trial: Six-month free trial.

Shopping:

  • Whole Foods Market: Exclusive savings and two-hour delivery via Prime Now.
  • Amazon Dash for Prime: The ability to use Amazon Dash Buttons or the Dash Wand.
  • Amazon Fresh: Pay an additional monthly membership fee to receive free shipping on all Amazon Fresh grocery orders of $50 or more, or pay a flat delivery fee.
  • Prime Wardrobe: Try on clothes (eligible items only) before you buy. You will only be charged for the items you decide to keep.
  • Prime Pantry: Members in select regions can shop for groceries and household products and pay an additional delivery fee.
  • Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com.
  • Amazon Elements: Access to Amazon's own line of everyday products.
  • Deals: Regular discounts on diapers, baby food, and 15 percent off eligible products from your baby registry.
  • Prime Day: Access to deals during Amazon's annual summertime sale event.

Miscellaneous:

  • Membership sharing: Two adults in the same household can create an Amazon Household to share certain Amazon Prime benefits. If you have a paid Prime membership under your personal account, you can also share your shipping benefits with your Amazon Business user account (more on that later).
  • Prime Photos: Unlimited photo storage in Amazon Drive.

What is Amazon Business?

Amazon Business is a marketplace that combines the "selection, convenience and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon," with features tailored to businesses.

Read also: Amazon Prime Day 2018: Everything you need to know - CNET

The main thing you need to remember about Amazon Business is that it provides users with a purchasing solution for their business. Each business can assign users that are allowed to buy business supplies on Amazon on behalf of their employer. The administrator can add authorized users, or remove them, as well as manage payment methods.

Amazon Business is also designed to provide access to business products, like IT and lab equipment and education and food service supplies. Plus, similar to Prime members, Amazon Business members get perks, including free two-day shipping on items. It also includes business-tailored features, such as multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support, and more.

How much does Amazon Business cost?

You can apply your existing Amazon Prime account to your Amazon Business account at no additional cost, if you plan to use it as a single-user business accounts.

Read also: What is Amazon Prime? - CNET

As far as shipping goes (more on that later), the cost is based on how many users you have in your business. Up to 10 users is $499 a year, up to 100 users is $1,299 per year, and more than 100 users is $10,099 per year. Also, like Prime, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

What perks are included with Amazon Business?

Some of the standout features include:

  • Business experience: A shopping experience that is tailored to businesses.
  • Business accounts: Create a single or multi-user business account, invite additional users to join, and define groups of users to share payment methods and shipping addresses.
  • Business Prime Shipping: Free two-day Shipping on eligible items for all users on your business account.
  • Multi-seller marketplace: View multiple offers on a single product page for price comparisons.
  • Business-only pricing: Select prices and quantity discounts on eligible items.
  • Business-only selection: Business-only item, including hard-to-find items like traffic signs, industrial deep fryers, antibodies, 55-gallon steel drums, dent pullers, and more.
  • Purchasing approval: Create approval workflows to enable better spending controls.
  • Purchasing system integration: Integrations with third-party procurement solutions.
  • Amazon tax exemption program: Make tax-exempt purchases and manage tax exemption permissions across an organization.
  • Order tracking: Add purchase order or reference numbers to purchases to assist with reporting and account reconciliation.
  • Amazon corporate credit line: Place orders and finance purchases using a credit line.
  • Amazon Business customer support: Amazon customer service dedicated to registered business shoppers.
  • Analytics dashboard: Look at spending activity and total costs on purchases at the individual, purchasing group, or type of spend level.

How does Amazon Business work?

The Amazon Business platform is for business users to shop for business-related items. But the shopping experience is a bit different. Here's a walkthrough of what to expect.

Register

Before you can actually go shopping on Amazon Business, you need to register for an account, which includes providing some information about your business.

Read also: How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day - TechRepublic

You can then manage your account information, sign up multiple users, and organize people into groups (like by different departments) to keep them separated. You can even designate different payment methods and spending limits for each group or user.

Amazon Business also allows you to set up approval workflows if you'd like to be notified of purchases or have a supervisor approve any or all purchases through the platform. Also, if you're a non-profit or any other business that gets tax-exempt status on purchases, there are options for that too. Anyway, once you've set all that up, it's time to shop.

Shopping

On the Amazon Business home page, you'll see office supplies, electronics, software, and books. You can browse by category or enter the name in the search bar. Once you click on an item, you'll be taken to the product detail page, which looks similar to a normal product page on Amazon. You can even compare offers of similar products.

Read also: Your Amazon Business Playbook - TechRepublic

If you have questions, you can chat directly with the manufacturer via either live chat or email right from the product page. But pricing is one of the main reasons businesses choose to sign up for an account with Amazon Business. Many of the prices are exclusive to account holders. You can also get free two-day shipping on eligible items of $49 or more.

Checking out

Once you've picked an item through Amazon Business, you can put the item in your cart and click the Proceed to Checkout button like normal. To help track your orders and spending, Amazon gives you the option of adding a purchase order number to your order during the checkout process, and then you can choose your shipping location and preferences.

Read also: Amazon's roadmap for the future - TechRepublic

If there is an approval workflow added to your account, then the designated person will be contacted via email to approve the order before it's completed. You'll also get an email confirmation letting you know when to expect your shipment.

How does Business Prime Shipping work?

With Business Prime Shipping, a Prime-branded service, everyone in your business account gets free two-day shipping on eligible items when making purchases on behalf of the business. Amazon offers several plans based on the number of users in your business.

If you want purchase Prime on your Amazon Business account, go here. To add Business Prime Shipping to your Amazon Prime membership, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your business user account.
  2. Go to Your Account, then select the Business Prime Shipping icon.
  3. Select Manage or Cancel your Amazon Prime membership.

Previous and related coverage

Amazon wants your business to deliver its packages: Everything you need to know

Amazon has launched a plan to expand its logistics network by helping create small businesses that will operate 20 to 40 vans each.

Amazon's platforms, ecosystems and speed herald a voice-first transformation

As the adoption of voice assistants overtakes smartphones, the most disruptive force in business today may lead the voice-first category into even more disruption.

Which Amazon Echo to buy? How to pick the best Alexa device for your needs

Amazon now has an entire army of Echo devices. Some listen to you. Some also watch you. Which should you choose? We help you decide.

Amazon launches Echo Look in U.S., could popularize computer vision via Alexa

Echo Look's first mission is to give you wardrobe tips and get you to buy clothes. The second mission, popularizing computer vision and enabling Alexa to see, will have a far bigger impact.