Newegg launches $50-a-year Premier service

Newegg's ongoing tug of war with Amazon has just gotten a bit more heated.

Late yesterday, Newegg unveiled its Premier Benefit Program, a yearly service similar to Amazon Prime—but with a lower yearly asking price and, by the looks of it, more features targeted at e-tail shoppers.

Newegg Premier costs $49.99 a year, compared to $79.99 a year for Amazon Prime. Both services also have a 30-day free trial period, though Newegg's trial offer apparently expires on February 18. Here's a full list of Newegg Premier features:

  • Free expedited shipping 3 days or less
  • Discounted rates on 2-day and next-day shipping
  • Special alerts to give members early notice of upcoming sales
  • Member-only shopping experience with custom backgrounds and information panel
  • Free returns with complimentary shipping and no restocking fees
  • Exclusive deals for Newegg Premier members
  • Dedicated customer service telephone number

Amazon Prime includes free two-day shipping, which is quicker than Newegg Premier's three-day offer, but its other perks center on access to digital content (namely Amazon Prime Instant Video, Kindle First, and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library). Newegg Premier, by contrast, seems to give e-tail shoppers more privileged treatment, with "exclusive deals," free returns, and a dedicated support helpline.

Curiously, this announcement comes less than a week after news that Amazon could hike up the price of its Prime subscriptions. According to NetworkWorld, Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak hinted at a rise in price to $99 or even $119 a year during Amazon's earnings release call last Thursday. Hmm.

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