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Praise for personalisation and achieving her prime purchasing objective – pleasing number one. Robyn Bechelet doesn't worship Amazon Prime but she does pay respect.

By Robyn Bechelet


Why praise Prime? It is just a simple media streaming service containing films and a bit more, yes? Oh, and Prime-flagged products are delivered quicker and for free, plus you can seamlessly upgrade to get more of the products and services you want – that’s pretty much it, right?

No lessons for publishers here? I invite you to think again.

• Be here now! 24/7 Amazon are there to magnificently attend to my mundane problems (those pebbles in the shoe that stop me climbing my mountain). I needed a precise-sized piece of hand luggage at the 11th hour…

Are you ‘available’ to contact 24/7? If that’s what customers want? When are your fans and detractors sending emails? Would a later shift on a customer helpdesk win you the hearts of your customers who are just too busy during the day? Can they track their orders so you are not interrupting profitable work to find them? Is there an app for the entire customer journey?

• Me, me, me and my household: My preferences. My previous purchases. My needs. My household – if I want to share the free-shipping with my family I can, you did know about that one, right? My access to lightning deals 30 minutes ahead of the rest feels special too. Never used it.

Are your systems fixed up in such a way that you can offer personalised product sets (including personalised content) en masse? Are you set up so that ‘unsubscribe’ is not an end to the relationship? Are notifications about things your audience is excited about reinforcing their sense that you are there and looking after them? Can your audience bring more customers to you via an equivalent to household access to a limited offering?

• Upsell with my permission: Simples. It’s trial ‘unlimited’ free on Prime.

Can your customers trial a new paid-for service (unlimited) free yet? If not, how are you going to learn from them what is relevant to them and offer it to them when unlimited ends? If you are way off a personalised store, should it be the next strategic move rather than boiling the rest of your ocean? Learn about your best customers’ behaviours one-to-one and in segments. Maybe start with a new paid-for product (with trial all-access) and pull customers to your main offering via that? What is making you think people won’t pay? Test a minimum viable product where they will.

Make it easy to find previously published material. Marketing agencies will be your first customers, finding editorial you did about their clients.

• Free storage: Prime membership started for me when I wanted a backup of my photos, all in one place, and yes it would be nice to have them as a slide show on the TV and not have to pay (apart from the £79.99 annual sub).

An Amazon shopper since ’05, I had photos on accumulated clouds, and couldn’t really see the benefit of subscribing to Prime. I don’t buy more than twenty items a year to justify shipping savings.

But my cousin, my very clever cousin, said he bought a Prime subscription just for the image storage. And if I bought a ‘fireTVstick’ (around £35), I could effectively upgrade my pre-internet TV and get catch-up.

Can your customers use you as a go-to for their ‘stuff’, perhaps the user-generated imagery you want to share too? Are you using that place to remind them of your other great services like ‘unlimited’? What parcel is your customer leaving with you to collect when they need it?

• Less stuff. No, really: Prime on the TV ‘stick’ appealed to the frugality gene in me. I was not really wanting to add my TV to landfill because it worked fine, nor get Sky. I have broadband thank you.

Catching up on Gardeners’ World when it is raining outside is always an alluring prospect. I get ads on commercial TV catch-up though and you don’t get that with Sky. Yet, and Yet, what with the free and quicker parcel delivery, and the free TED talks on the fireTVstick, (you can only take so many of those, though) and the music. Yes the Music!

Publishers – are you offering relevant and useful partner content to build a platform if you don’t have one? What’s your Ted? What’s your ‘stick’?

• Tunes are in: Get in! Switched off my £9.99 a month iTunes subscription (recouping £79.99 Prime sub and more in one swoonish swoop), after discovering curated playlists on Amazon Music.

Downloaded the app (it’s also on the fireTVstick for my TV) and, hey presto: Pop Hits for The Kitchen was changing my ambience.

Prime offer video on-stream of course, and, as with the music, and the Kindle, you can go ‘unlimited’ for extra cost after trialling free, so Amazon can get a peek at what you like.

What is your ‘peek’? How do you follow up?

• Razor sharp? The really clever part for me. Somehow it feels like I haven’t completely got sucked into a life on subscription. How did they do that?!

Light touch personalised content in a lovely place, where it feels like I am in control because it serves my needs, on any device, that’s how. Reliability.

What content do your target audiences want to engage with that makes them happy / informed / browse / buy every time? Content they can only get through you?

Losing my kitchen dancing – not a chance – one reason for me to not want to end my subscription.

Can you create a phenomenal customer experience which delivers non-stop forever and have readers happy to pay for entry?

Prime. It’s just enough for me and that’s plenty.