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Amazon launches new shopping portal for customers on government assistance

By Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business

Amazon on Monday launched a new shopping portal called Amazon Access, designed for shoppers receiving government assistance.

The storefront features SNAP EBT at Amazon, information about the Amazon Layaway program that all shoppers can use to pay for their orders over time, and highlights discounts and coupons for any shopper on essential grocery items.

Amazon already offers some services for low-income customers, such as the discounted Amazon Prime subscription. It also accepts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits for groceries purchased through Amazon Grocery, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods. The company said the new portal is meant to be a centralized hub that aggregates these individual benefits in one place.

“Given the difficult economic climate with many people facing rising costs for essential needs, we want our customers to know about all the accessible offers available on Amazon, regardless of their circumstances,” said Nancy Dalton, Head of Partnerships. communities for Amazon Access.

Amazon also announced that it has renamed its discounted Prime subscription to Prime Access. Eligible customers can sign up for the service on Amazon Access.

Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the new portal could be useful for low-income shoppers.

“It’s something positive that Amazon can report, which shows it’s helping struggling consumers during tougher economic times,” Saunders said, adding that Amazon “should be able to drive sales by consolidating the benefits into a new storefront.”

At the same time, he didn’t think Amazon Access would help boost Prime memberships significantly.

“Amazon sees this as a way to grow Prime at a time when it’s near saturation in the US, because there are still many low-income consumers who don’t have access to the program,” Saunders said. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in an April 2021 letter to shareholders that the company has more than 200 million Prime members worldwide.

Earlier this year, Amazon said the price of its annual Prime subscriptions would drop from $119 to $139 per year in the United States and its monthly subscription would also drop from $12.99 to $14.99.

The company said it was increasing costs due to “extended Prime membership benefits”, such as the addition of Prime Video content and the extension of free same-day delivery, as well as to compensate for higher prices. labor and transportation costs in its distribution network.

– CNN’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report.

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