Want Amazon’s free shipping? You may need to buy more

Want Amazon’s free shipping? You may need to buy more

Lauren Rosenblatt | The Seattle Times (TNS)

Amazon shoppers might have to start putting more items in their cart to qualify for free shipping.

The Seattle-based company is testing a new minimum requirement, $35 instead of $25, to waive the shipping fee, according to Amazon spokesperson Kristina Pressentin.

Amazon is testing the new free-shipping threshold in some randomly generated regions. Everyone in the same region will have the same price tag requirement.

The price increase does not apply to Prime members, who pay $139 annually for the subscription that guarantees free shipping on 300 million items, Pressentin said.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has tried to raise the bar for free shipping. It upped the price tag from $25 to $35 in 2013, then to $49 in 2016. That didn’t last long — Amazon dropped the price back to $35 in February 2017 and down to $25 a few months later.

“We continually evaluate our offerings and make adjustments based on those assessments,” Pressentin said Monday.

The new minimum to qualify for free shipping comes amid several other cost-saving measures at Amazon. The company cut 27,000 jobs since November and has ended some experimental ventures as it re-evaluates each part of its sprawling business.

Last year, Amazon raised the cost of an annual Prime membership, from $119 to $139.

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The company also began walking back free delivery on grocery orders in the past few years. In 2021, it eliminated free delivery for Whole Foods shoppers, adding on a $9.95 service fee. In 2023, it began charging fees for Amazon Fresh grocery orders of less than $150. Before that, Amazon had offered free grocery delivery for orders of more than $35.

Amazon reported $6.7 billion in profit for the three months ending in June, reversing a $2 billion loss from the same period last year, according to the most recent financial data released in August. CEO Andy Jassy credited the “strong quarter” in part to Amazon’s efforts to lower costs in its fulfillment network and work to offer Prime subscribers the fastest delivery speeds it had recorded in company history.

In the same quarter, the company’s revenue from its subscription services, including Prime, was $9.9 billion, up 14% from the same period a year ago.

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