Newegg counters Amazon Prime with $50 Premier membership

The online retailer's new subscription service promises free 3-day shipping, exclusive deals, and other benefits.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Newegg has taken a page out of Amazon's playbook with a members-only shopping and shipping service.

Announced on Tuesday, Newegg's Premier Membership offers a variety of benefits for people willing to shell out $50 a year for the privilege. Subscribers receive free shipping with delivery in 3 days or less, discounted rates on 2-day and next-day shipping, special alerts to upcoming sales, exclusive deals, a members-only shopping experience, free returns with no shipping or restocking fees, and a dedicated customer support number.

Anyone who signs up by February 18 can score a 30-day trial to check out the service.

"We always seek ways to improve the customer experience and implementing a benefit program is the latest example of how we're making it easier and more rewarding to shop at," Soren Mills, chief marketing officer of Newegg North America, said in a statement. "Free expedited shipping is in itself a great benefit, but beyond that we're including many other perks to enhance the shopping experience."

Once known mostly as a hardware and software retailer, Newegg now sells a wider range of merchandise, including appliances, furniture, sporting goods, jewelry, and car accessories. The launch of Premier Membership comes at a potentially opportune time.

Amazon has revealed that it's considering a price hike for its $79-per-year Prime service that could increase the annual cost by $20 to $40. Of course, Prime offers benefits beyond free shipping, including a huge Instant Video library and e-book lending. And Newegg doesn't stock the variety of products available through Amazon.

Still, shoppers solely interested in the shipping benefits may be swayed by Newegg's $50 service should Amazon raise its price to $100 or higher.

(Via TechCrunch)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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