Amazon’s free shipping just got a little more expensive for those who don't have Amazon Prime. The e-commerce giant quietly upped the price non-subscribers have to spend to get free shipping from $35 to $49.
The change appeared on a Help Page this week with little fanfare. Fortunately, book lovers won't have to meet the same threshold for free five to eight day shipping; qualifying book purchases totaling $25 or more qualify for free shipping. The last change in this policy occurred in 2013 when the threshold for free shipping was raised from $25 to $35.
Amazon has seen incredible growth over the past few years, with Prime growing 35 percent in 2015 to 54 million subscribers in the United States. Unfortunately, this popularity has brought with it shipping costs that have outpaced the company's revenue growth. That huge disparity in cost might be one of the reasons for the change.
Amazon’s astronomical shipping costs have spurred on the rumor mill. Anonymous sources have told journalists that the company has been researching starting it's own shipping service to save costs because USPS, UPS and Fedex prices are high. Amazon even began the acquisition process of a French delivery company. And of course, they've been praised — and come under fire — for testing drone delivery. The company has also created warehouses that allow customers to pick up their items rather than having them shipped to their homes. For those in New York City and other large metropolitan areas, Prime Now, which delivers home essentials in an hour or less, also cuts out the delivery middleman.
But for many, the draw to Amazon has been the quick and fairly reliable delivery service, in addition to customer service that’s fairly lenient in trying to make things right when delivery goes awry.
Amazon Prime is looking to be more and more the best option for customers who want fast and free shipping, even though a recent price increase made the service $99. Fortunately, there are a ton of added benefits that come with Prime that many people don’t know about. Let’s just hope another price hike for Prime isn’t on the way.