Free shipping is a major lure for customers, CNNMoney says. It accounted for nearly a third of Amazon’s North American sales increase in the first half of the year. In a brief announcement about the change, Amazon didn’t offer much of an explanation. It merely said that over time it has offered free shipping on a larger number of items, and it made a pitch for all to join Amazon Prime.
“Prime includes unlimited free two-day shipping, with no minimum order size, on more than 15 million items, as well as unlimited streaming of over 41,000 movies and TV episodes through Prime Instant Video and access to over 350,000 books to borrow through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” the announcement says. Amazon Prime normally costs $79 a year, though there are sometimes discounts available for certain demographics such as students or moms.
The timing of the change is easier to explain than the reason for it. Shipping does get quite expensive for companies around the holiday season. “In the last three months of last year, Amazon spent nearly $1.8 billion on shipping,” CNNMoney says. “The company wouldn’t say how much it spends on free shipping.”
Here’s how Amazon’s new free shipping minimum compares with competitors’:
- J.C. Penney — $99.
- Kohl’s — $75.
- Walmart — $50.
- Target — $50.
- Amazon — $35.
- Best Buy — $25.
- Barnes & Noble — $25.
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