Amazon Prime for Health Products: Is it Worth It?

We just learned of some excellent news for smart supplement shoppers and TV lovers alike, but it’s going to require a quick decision from you:

Today only, Amazon Prime is dropping their price from $99 to $72!

Long story short, this gets you free two day shipping on nearly anything sold out of an Amazon Warehouse, which includes a crazy amount of supplements on PricePlow.

This one-time $72 deal was discounted in promotion of their Amazon-exclusive TV show, Transparent, which won two Golden Globe awards.

Amazon Prime

Click the image to check out this deal!

The show airs on Amazon Instant Video, which comes free with the Prime annual subscription service.

If you use PricePlow to get deal alerts on any product, brand, or category, you’ve likely been noticing that more and more of these deals are through Amazon.

When these items are “fulfilled by Amazon” (meaning the product is stored and sold out of one of their serveral warehouses), it means that it’s eligible for Prime’s free two-day shipping and other great benefits.

So PricePlow users take note – we’ve seen this trend of great deals through Amazon rise, not fall.

About Amazon Prime

I’m going to sound a bit overzealous here, but those of you who already have Amazon Prime and live in the US will nod your heads:

Amazon Prime is a life-changing experience.

Let’s face it – most of us on this site are guys, and unless we’re going to the grocery store or local nutrition shop, shopping sucks. It’s a rip-off, everyone is slow and has no clue what they’re doing, and you’re sore from leg day.

We have places to be and don’t have time to wait in line waiting for some old lady to find perfect change.

With Prime, you order it and it just “magically” appears two days later. Every single time.

So here’s the main benefits:

  • Free Two-Day Shipping

    With Amazon Prime, you can buy nearly anything online with free two day shipping. There’s not a whole lot of stuff you really need right now at this moment. Two days is fine.

    This is really the reason why I get Prime, and for me, it’s worth it even without the other benefits. This is game-changing stuff. You’ll believe it when you have it.

  • Amazon Instant Video – TV and Movie Streaming

    Amazon Prime - Instant Video - Transparent

    Apparently this show is really good and we need to check it out. Haven’t watched it yet.

    Amazon’s Instant Video service isn’t as good as Netflix, but they’re clearly making plays to get in that ballpark.

    With Prime, you have access to tons of TV shows and movies on their “Instant Video” service, which is great for binge watching.

    You also get exclusive access to this Transparent show, which I guess we’ll need to check out.

    Cutting the cord?

    Just like Netflix, Amazon’s taking some serious stabs at the cable and satellite companies, not only enabling “cord-cutters”, but giving them even more.

    And basically all Smart TVs come equipped with Amazon.

  • Free Music Streaming

    Amazon’s also making a play at the music streaming industry. Prime users get free access to millions of songs as well as apps to play them on any device.

    It’s no Spotify (nothing is right now), but if you’re not already paying for Spotify or Pandora, it’s worth checking out since it comes free with Prime.

  • No BS customer service

    Amazon Customer Service

    Haven’t used Amazon’s “MayDay” customer service, but their email and chat correspondence is batting 1.000 for me

    This applies to shopping at Amazon in general – I’ve never been screwed around by an Amazon order or employee.

    If there’s a problem with a product that was purchased through Amazon in any way, they will take care of you. You just need to ask, and possibly send it back if it’s truly defective.

    This plays into the next section, where we discuss whether or not you should buy supplements with Amazon.

  • Free books with the Kindle Library

    If you’re a reader, you’ll also enjoy the ability to get plenty of free books using the Kindle First and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

  • Student? Check out Amazon Student for 6 months free!

    If you’re a university student, you should definitely look into this: Amazon Student has a six month free trial, and after that, it’s half-off!

    It may even work if you still have a student email address – I got away with that for a while, but they finally caught on for me somehow.

    This may only provide the free two-day shipping, not the media extras above and below… but that might be all you need.

Beyond that, it’s clear that Amazon is aggressively growing. They’ve added things like occasional Sunday delivery and everyone’s seen the video on the potential drone delivery which can get items to you on the same day in some areas, if it works out.

There is also a new Amazon Coupons feature that PricePlow is now working with, saving you even more money.

So it might seem like a lot of money, but once you get hooked on that two day shipping and realize that you don’t need to head over to Target for whatever it is you were buying… you’ll be hooked.

Should I buy supplements on Amazon?

This is a question that’s been coming up more and more. There are really three reasons to consider not buying on Amazon:

  1. Loyalty to some store

    You might be someone who will only buy from your most trusted retail store — it may be in real life or online.

    Store Loyalty

    If anything, I’m most loyal to Amazon and their wonderful low-cost storefronts

    If that’s you, then I’m not going to try to change your ways. If you only trust a certain store, then you should stick with them. If there’s a certain company that you want to support, even if it costs you $10 more for every product, then by all means go for it.

    Obviously, with a site like PricePlow, we’re anything but loyal to the same store. That’s just our model. So if you’re one of these users, you probably don’t hang out too often with us here anyway.

  2. Exclusive products not sold cheaply on Amazon

    In our world, the biggest case example of this are the products in the TigerFitness distribution family, like Marc Lobliner’s award-winning MTS Machine Whey Protein. Other brands include Physiques of Greatness (POG) and Big J’s, and more are rumored to come.

    In these cases, the Amazon prices simply do not compete, and if you’re a strict MTS user, then getting Prime might not make as much sense. And all the power to you – MTS stuff rules. (In that case, you’ll want to check our exclusive Tiger Fitness coupon).

  3. Fakes, Scams, and Counterfeit Products

    Now this is a reason to consider. There have been stories of counterfeited merchandise on Amazon, but they’ve been few and far between.

    I’ve found that in my years of purchasing on Amazon, I have always gotten what I paid for. But I’m also just buying most of my basics on Amazon, such as vitamins and fish oil and the occasional hot pre workout or protein deal.

    But if you buy any of the more “questionable” products, then you should scrutinize a lot more when buying, and Amazon might not be the right place. I typically wouldn’t recommend getting a small-name “anabolic muscle builder” or “estrogen inhibitor” through Amazon.

    But sometimes you get it right from the source

    However, there’s a flip-side to the counterfeiting.

    It’s been rumored that certain brands are setting up shop on Amazon (under a different storefront name) and selling directly to consumers at ultra-low prices — undercutting other retailers in the process.

    These storefronts are discussed below in the next section on how Amazon Prime works.

    Point being, counterfeits can come from anywhere. I haven’t dealt with it on Amazon, but I’m also not buying “stuff that gets counterfeited often”, if you know what I mean.

    Worst case, Amazon’s customer support will take care of you and they’ll remove those businesses from their storefront if found guilty.

How Amazon Prime shipping works

The first thing to note is that not everything has free shipping.

When you buy on Amazon, there’s one of three things that can ultimately happen:

  • Amazon sells it and ships it themselves

    This is not often with supplements – usually this is stuff like books and TVs and commodity items.

  • Sold by an Amazon Storefront but Fulfilled by Amazon

    Fulfillment by Amazon

    Let the Amazon price wars begin!

    Here, some company with an “Amazon storefront” sells it, but they have their goods warehoused at Amazon. Amazon then ships it two-day free for their Prime users.

    This is the most frequent case for the supplements I’ll buy on Amazon, and it works out this way the vast majority of the time.

    What rules about this process is that multiple storefronts may have the same product, and it creates a price war on that page. Just what PricePlow wants!

    What’s also great is that the storefronts gets paid for the product, but they do not get your email address. Only Amazon does.

    FYI: In the business community, this process is known as FBA, or “Fulfillment by Amazon”.

    Not an Amazon Prime customer? Free Super Saver Shipping

    If you’re not a member of Prime, then what happens here is that you either have to pay for shipping, or you need to load up on $25 worth of goods from Amazon warehouses, and then get the “free super saver shipping”. It’s free, but it sure isn’t 2-days. Usually your stuff will come in 5-7 days, which doesn’t cut if if we’re low on protein.

    After being used to two-day shipping, I simply won’t go back to this slow shipping. No way.

    The biggest problem with Fulfillment by Amazon

    Amazon Quest Bars

    Have you ever tried searching Amazon for Quest Bars? It’s a mess! There’s literally over 300 products listed. Why can’t they just have one awesome page for it? How in the world do you find the best deal? (Click the image to go to the best deal on 12 bars that PricePlow has found)

    One part sucks about allowing all of these third-party storefronts to add products to Amazon: They make a total mess of the site. For instance, rather than compete on price for a certain product/flavor, they’d rather just create a new page.

    For supplements, Amazon has turned into a total unorganized mess. It’s a cluster*&(*.

    At PricePlow, we do our best organize it, but our AI technology can’t always figure out what these stores are trying to sell. Sometimes they don’t even put the flavor. In those cases, we ignore it and don’t allow it in the listing.

    That’s why it’s best to go just shop through PricePlow when possible – we do a good job of finding the best price within Amazon for what you want. And if you’re not happy with our listing, just contact us.

  • An Amazon storefront sells it and ships it themselves

    In this case, it could be anyone selling the stuff, and it will be via their slow shipping unless you pay extra for “expedited shipping”.

    This is the least trusted form of shopping on Amazon, and we do our best to not link to deals with this method unless it’s the only Amazon option.

    The good news is that since you bought it through, the third party business does not get your email address.

    All communication is done through Amazon. But you better track your package and stay on top of them!

How are Amazon’s prices so low for supplements?

Sometimes, the prices get too low, and people start wondering. One great example is with Cellucor C4 Extreme, which is constantly crazy cheap on Amazon.

This is especially frustrating to some retailers, who are held at “MAP Pricing”, such as $29.99 for a 30 serving tub (on Amazon we frequently list the same tub at $18-20).

The third party retailers do everything in the book to get the product cheap, and then the Amazon fulfillment price war begins. To put it gently, Amazon simply doesn’t care about your MAP pricing.

We’ve seen every trick in the book used to get these prices down:

  • Stores buy in bulk and sell on Amazon

    Cellucor C4 - The Tried and True Top Seller

    Cellucor C4 has had some of the biggest Amazon price domination of any popular product

    Distributors and manufacturers offer deals to retailers like “Buy 2 get 1 free”. So a store that has MAP pricing enforced buys them, keeps the price at $29.99, and everyone profits handily.

    But a company with an Amazon storefront will take that same deal, sell it for $22 on Amazon, profit less, but move a crapload of product on the easy.

  • Foreign currency games

    We’ve actually heard of this happening. A foreign company will get a favorable currency exchange when buying the product, meant to be sold in their home country.

    But when the product goes to get shipped overseas… something “happens” and the container stays stateside! They get it back into the system in the US, and profit like mad.

    This actually happens. I have no clue how it really works, but it does, and we don’t even know it as end-consumers.

  • Supplement brands and distributors undercutting retailers

    Supplement brands and distributors aren’t stupid. They see the trend moving in two ways: towards Amazon and toward stores like Costco, Sam’s, and Wal-Mart.

    To stay relevant, they’re secretly selling their own products through Amazon storefronts, undercutting other distributors and other retailers, as mentioned above.

    As Amazon Prime grows within our community, I actually expect to have this happen more… but we won’t always know because it will just be “sold by XYZ Store and fulfilled by Amazon”.

  • GNC-exclusive products and sizes find their way onto Amazon

    We’re not sure who, but there are definitely some GNC store operators are getting products meant only for GNC onto Amazon.

    Sometimes, GNC gets products that have a slightly larger size — like 132 capsules instead of 120 capsules. And GNC of course charges more for them.

    But then they find their way to Amazon… and at a far cheaper price (oftentimes cheaper than the 120 capsule version!)

    We’re not sure who’s really doing this (it could also be happening with Vitamin Shoppe), and we quite frankly don’t care. We list them all the same and the prices are almost always great.

At the end of the day, it all makes for a crazy capitalistic system of low prices and fast shipping. And that’s why I use it.

Click here to check out Amazon Prime

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is a biohacker with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several "n=1" experiments done on himself.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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