Why sign up to Amazon Prime? I've been a member for 15 years and I still recommend it

You can sign up to Prime with a free trialYou can sign up to Prime with a free trial
You can sign up to Prime with a free trial

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With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner, our consumer technology writer Gareth Butterfield explains why he is still a loyal Amazon Prime member after years of paying for the service

There's something quite addictive about online shopping. As much as I love perusing the shelves, racks and rails in a physical shop, I do like a good bargain. And as charming as the little independent shops are in my home town, the choice is always quite limited.

For example, I recently needed a pair of waterproof trousers. I've got a couple of outdoor shops within walking distance, but I just couldn't find a pair I liked. They were either too expensive, or just not good enough.

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Rather than drive out to the nearest city for a wider choice, I went to the pub, feeling quite defeated. While I was sat supping my pint I loaded up Amazon and spotted the perfect pair of trousers. Not only were they significantly cheaper, but they were also available on Amazon Prime. And, because I'm a subscriber, I put in an order and they arrived the next day, with no delivery charge.

This happens a lot. There's a Halfords and an independent motor factor in my town, but when I needed to buy a specific type of steering wheel lock for my new car I was shocked at the price Halfords was charging, and the motor factor didn't stock it. So, that night, I logged on to Amazon and found it offered for £15 less than Halfords. At around 10pm I made the order, and it arrived the day after.

Amazon’s range of products is absolutely vastAmazon’s range of products is absolutely vast
Amazon’s range of products is absolutely vast

I'm one of those weird people who doesn't really like the taste of water, so I get through gallons of Robinson's Squash. My local supermarkets charge a small fortune for it, but Amazon not only sells it cheaper and sends it out within 24 hours but, because I'm an Amazon Prime member, I can choose a "Subscribe and Save" delivery, which discounts each bottle by a further 5% - and I never have to think about ordering it, Amazon just sends it out on a fortnightly cycle.

It's not just shopping I use it for, either. I've loved being able to watch Clarkson's Farm as part of my membership, and I've found Prime Video to be one of the best streaming services for the movies I like to watch.

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It bundles in a music streaming service, an eBook subscription system, and free delivery for Hello Fresh and Deliveroo, and unlimited photo storage for my smartphone.

The membership includes my whole household, too. So my wife gets to use all the services as part of the package - and I've stored my mother's address and card details in my digital wallet, so if she spots a cardigan she fancies, I can order it on her behalf and it turns up at her house the day after.

I also love Amazon's robust returns policy. I wanted a new bird feeder recently, but just couldn't decide between two types I was looking at. So I ordered both, and they turned up the next day, I was able to open them, have a good look at them in my hand, and then return the one I didn't fancy just by dropping the box back off at the Post Office.

As a Prime member, this extends to clothing. Order a shirt, for example, and you can wear it for up to seven days before you actually pay for it. If you're not happy, just return it under the Try Before You Buy system.

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So yes, I'm a loyal Amazon Prime subscriber. It costs £8.99 per month, or a slightly cheaper £95 per year. It could be argued you've got to order a lot of products to make that worth your while, but if you use it for more than just a free next-day delivery service - and I certainly do - then it's great value.

It's also worth noting there's an Amazon Prime Day event coming up soon, which gives Prime subscribers exclusive discounts. I quite fancy a new TV for my motorhome, and the last electrical shop in my town closed down over five years ago - so I'll be poised and ready to snap one up when the event comes along.

Going by my previous success rate, I'm likely to save enough to cover the cost of another year of Prime membership in that one purchase alone. Just in case you were still doubting it was worth the money.