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Anyone can shop on Amazon for personal use. But, for those wanting exclusive deals, discounted shipping, and other perks, Amazon offers a membership program known as Prime, which is paid on a monthly or annual basis. Small business owners can access all the benefits of Amazon Prime with a personal account -- but they can get added benefits from a Business Prime account.
Here are some comparisons (and differences) to consider when deciding which is best for you.
Also: What is Amazon Business and how does it work?
Amazon Prime is a paid membership that, for an annual or monthly fee, gives access to a number of Amazon services and enhancements. It's now used by millions of people who have signed up to receive a swathe of benefits, such as free same-day or two-day shipping and streaming of movies, TV, and music. Prime Day is an annual sales event offering discounted products to Amazon Prime members as an added benefit.
With an Amazon Prime personal account, your membership fee unlocks a number of benefits for shopping, streaming, delivery, reading, and more. Some of these include free shipping at shopbop.com, two credits to try Audible, and upgraded shipping at Zappos. You also have the option to link one other adult to your Amazon Prime account to share all the same benefits for free.
Amazon Prime has a flat cost for everyone. You can choose to pay the annual fee of $139 for an account or pay monthly at $14.99 per month. If you pay monthly, you'll pay a total of $179.88 per year.
The cost of Business Prime membership varies by the amount of users:
Existing Amazon Prime accounts can add a Business Prime Duo (single user plan) to their personal Amazon account for an additional $69 per year. This allows you to keep all the shopping and entertainment features while also accessing work benefits including free analytic tools, discounts, and business shipping.
The size of the nonprofit will determine how much you pay for Amazon Prime. The annual fee can be as low as $69. Most 501(c)3 charity organizations can qualify for multi-user, tax-exempt status with Amazon Business. Amazon also provides access to AmazonSmile charity lists, COVID-19 supply hub, a Live Amazon nonprofit business advisor, and more.
The benefits of an Amazon Prime membership can be shared with other family members to make up an Amazon Household. The Household can hold up to two adults each with their own accounts, four teens, and four child profiles. The main account user has primary control of the account.
With a Business Prime account, the number of users depends on the plan. Business Prime accounts can have anywhere from a single user to more than 100. The primary business owner can limit access and create roles in the admin account for other users.
With Business Prime, business owners can access perks like creating logins for their employees, applying purchasing rules, getting corporate credit, collaborating on documents, and more. With a 30-day free trial, they can take their time considering whether Amazon Prime or Business Prime is right for them.
Users can sign up for a free Amazon Business account to become a registered seller, get incentives and discounts on purchases, and other benefits. The Amazon Business account also comes with free Business Analytics tools to track business spending, monitor sales, make adjustments as needed, and make plans for future growth. Other free tools include:
Registered sellers can use their Amazon Business account to make fulfilling orders easier by taking advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you ship your products to an Amazon warehouse. When someone places an order, Amazon picks, packs, and ships the item to the customer. Amazon will also handle refunds and returns. FBA comes with a fee that varies by product and order.
The benefits offered in the Business Prime account depend on the membership plan. All plan levels have the same shipping and shopping benefits. Not all shipping speeds and methods are available on all items or in all areas. Deliveries default to business days only, but can be changed to daily if requested.
Shipping benefits include:
Shopping Benefits include:
Amazon WorkDocs allows for collaboration on invoices, receipts, and other business documents in one secure location. Amazon WorkDocs is available on:
These same plans allow the business owner to set rules for preferred and restricted buying for employees who are provided user access. Owners can also use spending pattern insights to plan budgeting and buying decisions. Small and Medium membership plans include 45-day fee and interest-free payment terms on invoices, while Enterprise plans get 60 days plus Amazon Business Professional Services assistance.
Small businesses who are tax-exempt can use the Amazon Tax Exemption Tool to enroll online for the Amazon Tax Exemption Program. Once approved, you can apply tax-exemption status to qualifying purchases when reviewing your order.
The Amazon Business Prime account does not include TV, but you can link a standard Amazon Prime account to your Business Prime account to access TV features. If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can add the Business Prime Duo plan for $69 per year to access both standard and business benefits.
The cost for Amazon Business Prime varies by how many users you have. The annual fee is as low as $69 for one user and up to $10,099 per year for unlimited users.
An Amazon Business Prime account has perks that are beneficial to small businesses compared to a personal Amazon Prime account. With Business Prime, you can get discounts on large quantities of products and may qualify for tax exemptions. You also have access to business analytics tools to track business spending and Amazon Workdocs for team collaboration.
Amazon Business Prime prices can be cheaper than a standard Amazon Prime account. If you're buying in large quantities, you can get discounts or tiered pricing on certain items that the general public can't access. You can also flag preferred suppliers and products using the Guided Buying tool. Amazon Business Prime members can also consolidate shipping to a personal or business address for large purchases.
An Amazon Business account can provide sellers exposure to a wide range of consumers and B2B merchants, which can boost sales and revenue. FBA also helps sellers by letting Amazon do the work of shipping orders and handling refunds and returns. However, disadvantages to an Amazon Business account include limited buyer communication and limitations on what can be shipped to customers. Selling on Amazon can both increase and limit brand awareness and restrict the buyer/seller relationship.
Should you choose Amazon Prime or Business Prime? If you're a business owner, the perks offered by Business Prime may be worth the extra cost. However, if you're only purchasing products as needed and aren't purchasing in bulk, you may not need Business Prime. You can still take advantage of the free tools offered in your Amazon Business account, even if you don't purchase Business Prime.
Both Amazon Prime and Business Prime come with a 30-day free trial. To register for Business Prime, use your business email and provide your business address and tax ID. Amazon will verify your business within 24 hours, and you can track your status online. To help you determine if Business prime is right for you, Amazon Business has partnered with Forrester Consulting to calculate the potential return on investment (ROI) for your business if you purchase a membership.