"Work hard. Have fun. Make history."

Amazon lures people into membership incrementally by experiencing value firsthand. Over time, this value accretion drives repeat visits/interactions that lead to a willingness and desire to commit to a deeper relationship with the organization, like membership. The strategy is clearly paying off.

What distinguishes Amazon from other membership-driven retailers is you don’t have to be a Prime member to transact business with Amazon. You don’t even have to have an account to browse Amazon. If you want to buy something, you can check out with a very minimal amount of information and a low-friction purchasing process. Even if you’ve never been to the Amazon website before, you can buy paper clips or whatever other product you want and have it shipped to you in a matter of minutes and a couple of clicks. Amazon offers a simple, convenient and autonomous environment that people today especially crave.

Amazon’s brilliance is they funnel users into an increasing level of engagement. One way they do that is with Prime membership. You get a slew of benefits ranging from streaming television and movies to retail discounts and free shipping. If you buy anything from Amazon on any basis that’s reasonably frequent, then the Prime membership pays for itself through savings on shipping costs. Amazon bundled free video and other benefits into the membership, effectively serving as the cherry on top for an already better deal.

At the same time, Amazon does something other membership-driven retailers don’t because they don’t go to the world and say, “You must be a member to start doing business with us.”

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