Amazon Lowers Free Shipping Threshold; Target to Try 1-Day Delivery

Amazon boxes seen piled up on a doorstep
Photo by Jeramey Lende / Shutterstock.com

Amazon has lowered its free-shipping threshold for the second time this year, dropping it from $35 to $25.

This change comes less than three months after Amazon lowered the threshold from $49 to $35, a move that followed Walmart’s reducing its free-shipping threshold from $50 to $35.

While Amazon has not formally announced its latest change, news outlets and other websites started reporting it late Monday.

The “help” section of Amazon’s website also reflects the change. The “About Free Shipping by Amazon” page states:

“You receive free shipping if your order includes at least $25 of eligible items. Any item with ‘FREE Shipping’ messaging on the product detail page that is fulfilled and shipped by Amazon is eligible and contributes to your free shipping order minimum.”

There are still a few circumstances in which you can get free shipping even if you don’t meet the minimum required purchase amount:

  • Orders of Amazon gift cards will continue to qualify for free one-day shipping, although they do not count toward the $25 threshold.
  • Eligible orders placed by Amazon Prime members will continue to qualify for free two-day shipping — with no minimum threshold.

To learn more about the perks of Prime, check out “8 Major Freebies and Discounts You Get With Amazon Prime.”

Amazon now has the lowest free-shipping threshold among major retailers. Competitors Best Buy, Jet, Target and Walmart have the next-lowest threshold of $35. Target had a $25 threshold in recent years, but its shipping webpage now reflects a $35 threshold. Customers who pay with a Target REDcard credit card still get free shipping with no minimum, though.

Target to explore 1-day shipping

Target and Walmart also continue to take advantage of their brick-and-mortar presence by offering free store pickup for eligible items ordered online, with no minimum purchase amount required. Last month, Walmart even added a pickup discount on certain items that are sold online but shipped to a store for pickup there.

Target is now seeking to step up its delivery offerings by exploring one-day shipping. The retailer announced Monday that its Minneapolis headquarters will test a pilot program called Target Restock starting this summer. The pilot will be open to REDcard holders in the Minneapolis area.

Target describes the program as designed to enable customers to buy “household essentials” online and have them delivered to their home the next day:

“… guests will be able to fill a box with multiple items and have their orders shipped to their homes for a low, flat fee. The items will be packaged at a nearby store, allowing us to fulfill orders placed before 1:30 p.m. by the next business day.”

It sounds like Target is gunning for Amazon’s Prime Pantry program, if you ask me.

Prime Panty, which is available only to Prime members, enables them to fill a box with “groceries and household products” for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 per box, or for free if you purchase five qualifying items.

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