Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Amazon goes for change

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Amazon goes for change

According to this WSJ story (subscription required), Amazon and Coinstar have teamed up to give consumers 100% of their coins back as an Amazon gift certificate for its full value. I converted some $500 in change collected over the last few years a few months ago so the 8.9% commission wasn't too bad considering I got almost $450 in cash at the end but I may have thought twice if I were converting only $50 in coins.

Amazon, the company that has been synonymous with online shopping since it opened its virtual doors in July 1995, appears to be reaching out to prospective customers who don't have access to credit cards, particularly young consumers. College-age adults, for instance, are in the midst of establishing their buying habits. Adults who don't qualify for credit cards are other potentially attractive customers.

...The appeal of change-toting customers is clear. About 80% of U.S. households accumulate change, and an estimated $10.5 billion in coins sits unused in American homes in jars, dresser drawers and other crannies, according to Coinstar data. Coinstar says its average user is 40 years old with an income of $53,000. About 60% of its users are women. Coinstar's trademark green machines are in 12,000 U.S. locations, such as grocery stores, that are within five miles of 75% of the country's population.

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