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Amazon Prime Outpaces Other Shipping Methods, More FCs in Works

Amazon’s not a one for giving out too much information, but last week it said unlimited free Two-Day shipping with Prime continues to be the preferred shipping method among Amazon customers. And, it revealed, it now ships more than twice as many items with Prime than with Free Shipping.

Amazon recently raised the bar to qualify for free shipping through its “Free Super Saver Shipping” program, increasing the minimum requirement from $25 to $35, giving shoppers incentive to opt for Prime membership, which costs $79/year.

And speaking of not revealing much in the way of details, Amazon commented on the growth of mobile shopping in a recent press release, saying more and more Amazon customers shop on a mobile device. “In fact, tens of thousands of new customers make their first ever Amazon purchase via mobile devices every day.” But that’s as specific as it got. Its rival eBay is much more forthcoming with mobile shopping statistics, saying it expects to process $20 billion in mobile transactions – and PayPal expects to process $20 billion in mobile payments – in 2013.

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On Friday, Amazon kicked off its Black Friday Deals Store (www.amazon.com/blackfriday) and Electronics Holiday Gift Guide (www.amazon.com/electronicsgiftguide). And for the first time, it has invited third-party sellers to offer holiday deals to be featured on the Amazon holiday deal pages, including the Today’s Deals page. Amazon said the holiday deals from sellers would appear on high customer traffic merchandising pages that highlight limited time discounts on hot holiday items exclusively from sellers.

To handle its sales growth and to increase speed of delivery, Amazon is opening more distribution centers (not to imply they’ll be ready for this holiday shopping season). In addition to plans to build new fulfillment center in California, Baltimore and Florida, Amazon announced on Friday plans to open a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs at the fulfillment center when it opens, and employees will pick, pack and ship small items to customers like books, electronics or consumer goods.

In fact, last week was a busy one for its communications staff. Amazon also announced AmazonSmile, a new program that makes it easy for customers to support their favorite charitable organizations when shopping. “Customers who visit AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) will find the exact same Amazon they know and love. They’ll enjoy the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience – with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to their favorite charitable organization. There is no cap on the total donation amount and customers can choose from nearly one million organizations around the country.”04

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