Some Amazon shoppers might have noticed recently that some items are "reserved exclusively for Prime members". Five specific video games and movies were brought to the attention of various websites as being part of this new trend. But as it turns out, this trend is anything but new: It's been quietly happening off and on since at least 2014.
Regardless of when they started, these exclusives seem to be Amazon strategically trying to pressure certain high-value shoppers into getting Prime. And while Prime has many advantages, these exclusives shouldn't necessarily push you into subscribing.
Exclusives for Prime Members Have Existed Since at Least 2014
We first noted Prime exclusive deals on DealNews as early as October of 2014. In December of 2014, Amazon customers were complaining in threads on its site and speculating about what such moves meant. In January of 2015, a post surfaced on reddit about non-Prime shoppers again unable to purchase items listed as exclusive.
In May of 2015, another post appeared, this time regarding the exclusivity of vinyl records. Then, in October of 2015, another thread surfaced, with users complaining about DVDs (including John Wick, one that is part of the outcry this time) as well as computer components.
Amazon Says This Is Yet Another Perk to Prime
So how does Amazon explain this practice? Recently they released this statement to VideoGamer.com: "One of the many benefits of Amazon Prime is access to exclusive selection on a number of great products. Customers who are not Prime members can sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, or they can purchase those items from a Marketplace seller."
However that doesn't provide any sort of explanation about how items are chosen. It's not restricted to extremely popular video games or movies, or even computer parts. Sometimes it's something as mundane as juice boxes or motor oil.
Pushing Shoppers to Subscribe to Prime?
Amazon just introduced monthly Prime subscriptions, and seeing a sudden wave of "reserved" items could be part of a larger push to entice more shoppers to try the premium service. Prime shoppers are used to receiving special treatment in the form of various perks, but it's also true that Amazon will try to tempt them to spend more. For some shoppers, that temptation isn't worth the cost of Prime.
While some shoppers might feel as if they're being given an ultimatum — subscribe to Prime or don't buy from us — there are a couple of things to remember. First, these moves have so far been temporary. Some last a few days, some might even last longer, but eventually it seems that Amazon will remove that Prime member restriction. Second, this isn't barring shoppers from purchasing on the website. While you might not be able to buy directly from Amazon (as in, the product won't be sold by and fulfilled by Amazon), you should still be able to purchase the item. You just might not be able to buy it at the best price.
Readers, what do you think about Amazon making some things Prime exclusive, even if it's for a short time? Sound off below!