3 New Ways to Make the Most of Amazon Prime (And Even Score Free Stuff)
Did you miss Prime Day? Don’t fret, bargain shoppers: Amazon quietly rolled out three more programs this year to help you save big and have fun doing it.
Between the new #TreasureTruck rolling through cities, starting with Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, to basically free sample boxes and a new shoppable feed of photo stories called Spark, the retail giant wants to surprise and delight you with savings throughout the year — maybe even help you score a bunch of free stuff.
Here’s what we know so far about the three new(ish) programs in more detail:
Yes, we’re talking a literal truck here — a carnival-themed retail shop on wheels, sort of like everyone’s favorite food trucks. “Revving up and rolling out in select cities” starting with Seattle, where the Amazon #TreasureTruck has been in beta testing since February 2016, it’s a way for customers to shop special deals through the Amazon app and pick up the items at the truck on the same day — with special surprises in store from Amazon and partners for lucky shoppers.
“At Treasure Truck, we hand-pick our favorite new, trending, local, or delicious items, load them on the Truck, then cruise around town spreading joy for everyone with a smartphone and an appetite for fun,” says the new landing page at http://ift.tt/2vY4gV9.
Previous “surprise and delight” tactics on the Truck in Seattle included Oakland Raiders runningback Marshawn Lynch getting behind the wheel, rolling up to crowds of over 2,000 fans and signing Beast Mode hats, Amazon Echos, and thousands of bags of Skittles. Amazon employees even surprised one lucky customer with a free trip to Rio, delivered via Samba dancers during a giveaway for free bags of Lay’s potato chips. A Prime Day mini music festival, free food giveaways (hello Ben and Jerry’s!) and more fun have been ‘grammed by the @TreasureTruck so far.
To find Treasure Truck in the Amazon app, tap on the main menu, then tap “Programs and Features” and then “Treasure Truck.” Customers can also sign up for text message alerts by texting “TRUCK” to 24193 to get offer-day notifications (text messaging rates apply).
Like free samples and subscription boxes? Then you’ll love Amazon’s new(ish) Sample Box program for Prime members — presumably rolled out to compete with the likes of popular monthly discovery boxes like Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, BarkBox, Graze, and more.
Quietly launched in March of 2016, the site now offers low-cost sample boxes that come with a promotional coupon of the same value, essentially cancelling out the cost. Each curated, themed box of samples is only available for a limited time at http://ift.tt/2sFPW1F, and the boxes are exclusively available to Amazon Prime members in the US. There was no official announcement about the release of the boxes, but Amazon consumer public relations representative Catie Kroon recently told Real Simple that Amazon is “constantly testing ways to add value to the Amazon Prime program.”
Current offers as of publication included a Dog Food and Treats Box for $11.99 (with $11.99 credit), Crest 3D White Sample Kit ($4.99 with $4.99 credit), Glanbia Sample Box (fitness + nutrition samples, $7.99 with $7.99 credit), Men’s Grooming Sample Box ($9.99 with $9.99 credit), Luxury Men’s Grooming Sample Box and Women’s Luxury Beauty Sample Box (each $19.99 with $19.99 credit).
Last but not least, just last week the retail giant launched Amazon Spark, “a new feature aimed at improving product discovery, which is seemingly inspired by Instagram and its use of shoppable photos,” according to TechCrunch.
Borrowing engagement features from social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, Spark is designed to shift some of the social activity around products taking place off-site back to Amazon, and all from within the Amazon App, where inspiration and engagement can then directly translate into sales with the click of a button.
For consumers, this might mean seeing more of the products that interest them — or their friends and connections — with actual relevancy, rather than generic deals. In addition to categories and “interests” that match the Amazon.com website, Spark also has added some niche categories like “TV Bingewatching,” “Cats,” “Internet of Things,” “BBQ” and others — presumably to keep up with the speed of memes and trends on social media.
Spark is now available through the Programs & Features menu option in the Amazon App, where you’re asked to select at least five interests you want to follow to get started. You can check out more about Amazon Spark on TechCrunch this week and at Amazon.com/Spark.