The Sneak Peek – How the Free Trial can be the Hook

I honestly can’t remember the first time I heard of Amazon Prime. I assume it was from Amazon emails, website ads and banners when the Prime service was introduced. When Prime first came out, I didn’t really understand how the service could be appealing to customers, I thought: who could order enough from Amazon to make it worthwhile? For several years my opinion never wavered, as an infrequent purchaser of goods from the Amazon website in general, I thought of the Prime service as mostly a gimmick that might appeal to people who bought way too much stuff.

It seemed like every visit to Amazon’s website commenced with the Prime banner on full display at the introduction page, and most if not all of Amazon’s emails included a plug for the service. Eventually, after several years, I was purchasing a large product that carried a $10+ shipping fee. Of course, there was a banner advertising a free Prime trial for the remainder of the year. I thought that a two-month free trial that would save me more than $10 immediately plus allow me free shipping for the holidays was a good deal, so I accepted (not surprisingly without reading the fine print).

I used the service through my trial period, and although I liked it, I couldn’t see myself purchasing the service at full price. As the new year approached, I left the country for work, and with no access to email, I was completely oblivious to the fact that my free trial came with an automatic yearly renewal on the first of the year. I returned in February to discover that I was now a Prime member for the year. As I was now a member, I started using the service, and by the end of that year I had used it enough that I decided to become a consciously paying member of the service. Now, they add just enough in new features and content to the service (free TV and movies, free music…), just frequently enough, that every time I question whether I’ll renew my membership, I feel that the service provides enough utility from to keep me signing up for one more year.


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