Parents will be allowed to approve all orders and set pre-approved spending limits per order. Though many college students may come from households that share a Prime Membership, the option for a reduced-price Prime Student membership could be an attractive one for students living on their own. Amazon says the service is for 13 to 17-year-olds, but Carr told the WSJ they're open to kids of all ages using the service. The accounts will allow them to search and shop for items, but there are some restrictions so that parents don't have to worry about their bank accounts.
For Amazon, getting teens to shop now could turn them into customers for the rest of their lives, said Brendan Witcher, an e-commerce industry analyst at Forrester. The first is that the teen must get permission every time they want to purchase something.
Carr said Amazon didn't have reliable data on how many underage shoppers were already making purchases of physical goods on Amazon's retail site, or how often they ran into trouble for buying things they shouldn't have. With this method, parents will still receive a notification about the purchase. That means teens can order from over 50 million items that ship for free in two days, and they can take advantage of other Prime benefits like Prime Video and the gaming perks with Twitch Prime.
Amazon has built this new functionality after taking into account feedback from families.
The requests are sent via text or email, and include a message from the teen - for example: "please please buy this for me Mom!" - and parents can approve or reject it instantly.
As of this writing, William White did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.