When Amazon introduced its Amazon Prime two-day free shipping program for $79 per year back in 2005, many investors and analysts thought the idea was plain bonkers.
A year of unlimited free shipping for $79? With no limits on product weight or ordering frequency, and no minimum price?
Way to sink that ship!
Nine years later, Amazon has built its vast retail empire largely around the Amazon Prime program and its power to convert occasional shoppers into hardcore Amazon addicts.
Hard numbers are tough to come by since the company never releases specifics when it can avoid it. But best estimates are that close to 20 million consumers have Prime memberships, and they spend about twice as much in a year as non-Prime customers.