In a move that is sure to raise eyebrows and potentially customer ire, Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth known for its relentless pursuit of profit, has announced it will increase its minimum amount for free shipping for non-Prime members. This increase, from $25 to $35, signals a significant shift in policy, forcing customers to either spend more, pay for shipping, or subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service. This new policy applies to all Amazon products, not just those falling under the Amazon Basics category, and was first spotted by e-commerce newsletter Ecommercebytes, which noted that Amazon is currently testing this new pricing model in select regions grouped by zip code.
This is not the first time Amazon has adjusted its free shipping minimum. In 2016, the company raised the bar from $35 to a whopping $49, only to drop it back to $35 in 2017, then to $25 later that same year in an effort to compete with rival Walmart. This latest move is just one of several recent changes in Amazon’s shipping policy, including a new 2% shipping fee for third-party sellers who ship their own products, a clear push to get these sellers to use Amazon’s in-house shipping logistics.
Amazon Raises Free Shipping Minimum for Non-Prime Members
Online retail giant Amazon, known for its aggressive pricing strategies, is set to increase its minimum free shipping amount for non-Prime members from $25 to $35. This move is seen as Amazon’s way of squeezing more out of its customers, putting increased pressure on them to either spend more, pay for shipping, or subscribe to Amazon Prime. The price hike was first identified by e-commerce newsletter Ecommercebytes, which reports that the new policy is being trialed in selective regions grouped by zip code.
A Shift in Amazon’s Shipping Strategy
Previously, customers could qualify for free shipping with a cart total of $25 or more on specially marked Amazon products, not necessarily limited to Amazon Basics products. Now, with the move to hike the threshold by $10, Amazon is making a clear shift in its shipping strategy. "We continually evaluate our offerings and make adjustments based on those assessments," shared Amazon spokesperson Kristina Pressentin in an email to Gizmodo. Despite the change, Amazon Prime members will continue to enjoy free delivery on over 300 million items, with tens of millions of items available for free same or one-day delivery.
A History of Price Fluctuation
This isn’t the first time Amazon has adjusted its free shipping minimum. In 2016, the e-commerce major raised the free shipping minimum from $35 to a hefty $49, as reported by GeekWire. They then lowered it back to $35 a year later, in February 2017. In a bid to compete with rival Walmart, Amazon further reduced the free shipping minimum to $25 in May of that same year, where it has remained until now.
Amazon’s Push for In-House Shipping
Amazon has also been making changes to its shipping policy for third-party sellers. Starting October 1, the company began imposing a 2% shipping fee on each product sold by third-party sellers who handle their own shipping. This move is seen as Amazon’s attempt to incentivize sellers into using its own in-house shipping logistics. However, this strategy may soon come under scrutiny as the FTC is planning on targeting it in an upcoming antitrust filing.
In conclusion, Amazon’s decision to increase its minimum free shipping amount can be seen as a strategic move to drive up sales and encourage more customers to subscribe to Amazon Prime. However, it is also a move that could potentially alienate a significant number of non-Prime customers. This, coupled with Amazon’s push towards in-house shipping, reveals a company that is continuously evolving and adapting its strategies to maintain market dominance. As customers and sellers alike adjust to these changes, it will be interesting to see how Amazon’s tactics play out in the long run.