Sellers Speculate on Impact of Amazon's Shipping Change
By Ina Steiner
Amazon has raised the bar to qualify for free shipping through its "Free Super Saver Shipping" program, increasing the minimum requirement from $25 to $35. Amazon spokesperson Julie Law told EcommerceBytes, "We have not changed the minimum order amount for free shipping at Amazon in more than a decade." The change was effective as of Tuesday, October 22nd.
When asked if the change would affect third-party sellers on Amazon or the add-on program, Law said the change did not affect any other programs, and pointed to information on the Amazon website.
Tuesday's change to the Free Super Saver Shipping program does not impact Amazon Prime members, who receive 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.
Amazon sellers discussing the higher requirement speculated on whether it would impact sales negatively. However, one seller wrote, "On positive side (shoppers) may now order until it at least reaches $35 which means there are potential to get more sales."
Other sellers said they believed Amazon was trying to recruit more Prime members with the change. Said one seller, "Prime looks more attractive with this minimum price increase. Maybe it is good news for FBA sellers and bad for FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant) sellers."
Amazon also announced Tuesday plans to open a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Baltimore for books, electronics and consumer goods and two million-square-foot fulfillment centers in Florida, one for large items such as kayaks and televisions and the other for smaller items such as books, electronics and consumer goods.
The company also announced plans to open two new fulfillment centers in the Czech Republic scheduled to open in 2014. Amazon told the Wall Street Journal the Czech Republic's location in central Europe with easy transportation links to key markets in the region - such as Germany, Austria, Slovakia or Poland - along with the availability of qualified workers, were factors in selecting the locations of the new centers.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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