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Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping, even to Non-Prime Members

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Amazon logoAmazon is offering free shipping to all customers during the holiday season, including those who are not paying for Prime membership. The promotion kicked off in the US today, November 5, 2018, and applies to hundreds of millions of items for a limited time.

Normally non-Prime members would have to purchase a minimum amount ($25) on order to receive free shipping.

Perhaps to pacify customers who pay for a Prime subscription (which does come with a host of other benefits), Amazon also announced it was offering them free *same-day* delivery on over 3 million eligible items.

Companies always face a tradeoff between sales growth and profitability. The current promotion makes sense following the company’s 3rd quarter results – Amazon is likely seeking higher sales growth while taking advantage of its greater profitability.

However, Amazon risks raising the ire of Prime members. Keep in mind that free shipping for non-Prime members takes 5-8 business days, while Prime members receive free 2-day shipping, though some members grumble that Prime-eligible items no longer necessarily come in 2 days.

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The new promotion suggests Amazon is seeing strong loyalty among Prime members – this year it raised the cost of an annual Prime membership in the US from $99 to $119 effective May 11th for new members and beginning June 16th for renewals.

In April, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky called Prime a flywheel, explaining that Amazon sees better engagement among Prime users especially for digital benefits, and “that’s always good news for eventual sales of other things.”

There’s no question that this year’s holiday free-shipping promotion will put even more pressure on Amazon rivals.

Press release follows:

This holiday season Amazon is giving customers even more convenient and faster delivery options. Starting today, November 5, and for a limited time, all Amazon customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday. This offer applies to hundreds of millions of items – the largest free shipping selection in the country. Plus, tens of millions of Prime members can shop with FREE Same-Day Delivery, now available on more than three million items – the largest same-day selection in the U.S. including the best gifts like toys and electronics, as well as home, fashion and everything you need to enjoy the holidays.

Additionally, Prime members in more than 60 cities can receive delivery in as little as an hour from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now, making holiday feast planning even easier. This is, of course, on top of the unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping that Prime members enjoy every day on more than 100 million items. Learn more or start a Prime free trial to get the best of shopping and entertainment from Amazon at amazon.com/prime.

“This holiday, customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for Christmas, including items from Amazon’s expertly curated Gift Guides across electronics, fashion, home and toys,” said Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of North American Retail at Amazon. “With hundreds of millions of items available for free shipping to all Amazon customers and more than three million items available with Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery, customers can enjoy the largest selection of items that are fast and free.”

Doorstep delivery and convenient pick up:

Free Shipping This Holiday: All Amazon customers can shop hundreds of millions of items including every product category with free shipping, and now for a limited time, there is no minimum purchase amount on orders delivered through the holiday season.

Delivery as Fast as Today: Tens of millions of Prime members can shop with FREE Same-Day Delivery on more than three million items. Place an order in the morning and receive eligible same-day orders before bedtime that very same day, seven days a week – even Sunday.

Two-Day Shipping on 100 Million Items:Free Two-Day Shipping is available to all Prime members in the U.S. on more than 100 million items with no minimum purchase amount all year.

One Hour Grocery Delivery + Pickup: Prime members can shop groceries from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in as little as an hour in 60 cities, and grocery pickup in as little as thirty minutes in select cities – making holiday feast planning or last minute baking even easier. And even beyond groceries, Prime members can use Prime Now to get one- and two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items across dozens of categories in 30 major cities, perfect for last minute parties, gifts or travel.

Every Day Made Better with Prime
Prime was designed to make your life better every single day. Over 100 million paid members around the world enjoy the many benefits of Prime, including the best of shopping and entertainment from Amazon. In the U.S. that includes unlimited access to award-winning movies and TV episodes with Prime Video; unlimited access to Prime Music, Prime Reading, Amazon Photos, Twitch Prime; early access to select Lightning Deals, one free pre-released book a month with Amazon First Reads, and more. Prime members can also get deep discounts on select popular products at Whole Foods Market plus an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items. Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping and members receive Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns, two-hour delivery with Prime Now in more than 30 major cities and unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 100 million items. Start a free trial of Amazon Prime at amazon.com/prime.

SOURCE: Amazon Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

4 thoughts on “Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping, even to Non-Prime Members”

  1. Hey ebay…gonna sue Amazon because you hold the registered trademark on “free shipping”?

    Catch-22…they said they’d REDUCE advertising. They’d have to INCREASE advertising to counter this, AND it would milk their ever dwindling cash reserve.

  2. Amazon is blowing the doors off eBay and the idiots in San Jose keep on trying to push new stuff like Adidas shoes in their promos to me. I don’t even give a crap about those shoes and if I did I wouldn’t buy them on eBay. What a bunch of morons!

    eBay = Dead Man Walking

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