The Amazon Index: 21 Amazon Features and Services Explained
You thought Amazon was all about retail shopping, right? Ok, you might have also heard of Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music. You might even know about Amazon Web Services.
But what about everything else? There’s a lot more to Amazon than you probably realize. Here is every Amazon service, explained. We start with two of the obvious ones.
Amazon.com needs no introduction. It’s the primary site of the company. Today, it sells hundreds of products every second across every retail category imaginable.
2. Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime launched way back in 2005 as an expedited two-day shipping service in the United States.
Today, the service has more than 100 million subscribers across more than 200 countries. The shipping benefits remain, but Amazon has since tagged on lots of additional services.
3. Prime Photos
If you live in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, India, or Japan, and you have an Amazon Drive account, you’ll also get access to Prime Photos. It’s a competitor to Google Photos.
Residents of the United States and Canada can even order prints of their images using the Amazon Prints service.
4. Prime Music
If you live in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, Austria, India, or Japan, you’ll receive access to Prime Music as part of your subscription. It provides free access to two million songs.
5. Prime Video
All Amazon Prime subscribers receive access to Prime Video. It’s similar to Netflix; you will find a mix of Amazon Originals, TV shows, and movies.
Prime Reading is a digital library service. It lets you borrow and return books, magazines, and comics from Amazon’s collection. It is supported on any device which has an official Kindle app.
The service is available in the US, UK, France, Spain, Italy, and India.
7. Prime Pantry
Prime Pantry is a shopping service for Prime subscribers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, India, Japan, Italy, Spain, and France.
It ships non-perishable food and household products in a single box for a flat fee. You can load up the box with your own selections, using the on-screen graphic to determine how much more space remains.
8. Prime Now
Prime Now is an instant delivery service for the Amazon Essentials range. You can receive products within one hour for a fee, or within two hours for free. It is only available in selected major cities.
Prime Now is further subdivided into Amazon Restaurants (a food ordering service in the US and UK), Amazon Fresh (fresh grocery delivery in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan), and Amazon Flex (a platform for independent delivery services).
9. Amazon Key
Amazon Key lets the company’s delivery workers enter your home or car and leave a package for you.
Amazon Music Unlimited is Amazon’s answer to Spotify . Residents of more than 40 countries—including most of North America, South America, and Europe, can subscribe for a monthly fee. The service has more than 40 million songs in its library.
In mid-2014, Amazon bought Twitch for almost $1 billion. The live streaming platform primarily focuses on gaming-related content. You can watch eSports competitions , head-to-head league play of various titles, and live feeds of individual players. There’s also gaming-themed talk shows and other content.
12. Amazon Drive
Amazon Drive is the company’s cloud storage app. It is available in the US, Canada, most of Europe, Japan, Australia, China, and Brazil. Prime users get 5GB for free. Everyone else can pay $11.99 per year for 100GB of space or $59.99 for 1TB.
13. Amazon Dash
Amazon Dash is an instant ordering service for household items. From a consumer standpoint, there are two devices to watch out for: Dash Wands and Dash Buttons.
The wand is a glorified barcode scanner that integrates with Amazon Fresh. The buttons can be linked to a particular item (such as kitchen roll or cleaning wipes). When pressed, they’ll order the item without further interaction from the user.
Check out our guide if you’d like to learn some Amazon Dash tips and tricks .
14. STEM Club
STEM Club launched in early-2016. It aims to help parents get their kids interested in STEM subjects (science, technology, math, and engineering). Amazon will send a STEM-themed toy every one, two, or three months. You can choose to receive an item for kids aged 3-4, 5-7, or 8-13. It costs $19.99 per delivery.
15. Amazon Books
Amazon Books is one of the company’s forays into physical stores. The first store opened in 2015 in Seattle. Today, there are more than 15 shops. The price of the books in-store match the prices on Amazon’s website.
Amazon Home Services is a marketplace for finding home services. The service covers professional trades such as plumbers, house cleaners, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, and garden maintenance.
17. Amazon Inspire
Aimed at teachers, Amazon Inspire provides K-12 resources for classrooms. Content includes lesson plans, handouts, and exams. You can create your own collections and share them with students or create your own content and share it with other educators.
18. Amazon Cash
You can shop without a debit or credit card in the United States and the United Kingdom by adding money to your Amazon Cash account. You can top up your account in stores or by using your mobile phone. Participating stores include brands such as 7-Eleven, CVS, and GameStop.
19. Amazon Smile
If you purchase items through Amazon Smile, the company will donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price to a charity of your choice. The service is one of the best ways to donate to non-profit organizations .
Prime Video Direct lets video creators reach new viewers via the Amazon Prime Video platform. Creators can choose either a revenue sharing or ad-supported payment model.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform. It is comfortably the largest provider of cloud services, controlling almost 40 percent of the global market share. The second largest provider, Microsoft, has just 11 percent.
AWS itself is subdivided into more than 90 standalone services. They cover storage, networking, analytics, application services, deployment, developer tools, and more. The two most popular services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
The division now has revenues of more than $17 billion per year.
Amazon Services That Have Come and Gone
Amazon doesn’t get everything right. Plenty of services have come and gone in the company’s 25-year history.
Some of the most notorious include Amazon Destinations (which lasted a little over six months in 2015), Amazon Local (a list of neighborhood-orientated daily deals), and Amazon Honor (a donation service for creators).
It’s also worth mentioning Amazon Go. The first no-checkout automated store opened in 2015. It bills people as they walk out of the door with their purchases. Despite the considerable hype, no further stores have opened due to technical issues surrounding the in-store shopper tracking.
And remember, the company also offers digital devices such as Amazon Fire devices and Kindle eReaders. If you’d like to learn more about these devices, check out our articles about which Fire TV device is right for you and how to find free Kindle books to read .