Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Jan 27 2015 21:27:20

Amazon Change to Super Saver Shipping: Good for Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon informed sellers on Tuesday that all seller-fulfilled items with free shipping are now eligible to contribute to Amazon's minimum order of $35 to qualify for free shipping through the Amazon Super Saver Shipping program. (The program allows non-Prime shoppers to get free shipping on an order if they spend a minimum of $35.)



The announcement is good news for sellers who already offer free shipping. And upon first glance, it appears to be good news for most sellers, particularly of low-priced items; but there was much uncertainty among sellers about the ramifications of the new policy and what they should do to capitalize on the program without harming their profit margins.

FBA items are Amazon-fulfilled, so those items are already part of Super Saver Shipping - but now they have to compete with non-FBA merchant-fulfilled items when shoppers are looking to bump their order to $35 to qualify for free shipping.

Sellers commenting on industry boards were concerned that shoppers might be unaware that it could take them longer to receive their free merchant-fulfilled items than Amazon-fulfilled items.

Another seller had a different concern: "The way I read this is Amazon itself won't allow the under $10 add on items without spending to the $35 free ship threshold, but they want us to ship free across the board, even our cheap stuff??"

The initial reaction from an EcommerceBytes reader: the change could lead to a race to the bottom of prices. He also said the change would help Amazon move low-priced items out of their warehouses, including "Add-On" items.

He was not pleased that Amazon sent the email notice of the new policy at the end of the day on the day the change went into effect, and he was still trying to determine what strategy to take. But he believes that "items that are too large or too heavy and can only go priority are really going to be disadvantaged."

He was also greatly concerned how the change would impact his items' exposure in the Buy Box. Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh said there was no change to the Buy Box with the expansion of the Super Saver Shipping program.

The email sellers received linked to a page where Amazon said offering free shipping can increase sales and may help sellers with Professional selling plans compete for the Buy Box.

"Amazon has made its free shipping on orders over $35 a prominent feature because we think this is one of the most significant ways to affect the growth of our business," it said.

Look for our news story in Wednesday's Newsflash. If you're an Amazon seller, let us know what you think of the change and how it will impact you. Will you be changing your Amazon pricing strategy?




Comments (12) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: This a joke, right? This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jan 28 11:04:12 2015

Since Amazon doesn't let me offer free shipping I have no idea how it will affect me

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 28 11:31:43 2015

I am thankfull I DO NOT use amazon in any way. I have never liked their format. & with free shipping now plaguing them , I likely never will.

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by: booklover27 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 28 11:52:21 2015

The claws of the monopolists are reaching in and closing around the necks of the few small businesses left in America.  This is how they do it...offering free shipping on items over 35.00 when the current shipping allowances doesn't even cover the shipping cost.  The seller now has to roll the price into the product making him less competitive against none other than Amazon themselves.  Prime has the cost of shipping rolled into it.  Customers that don't have prime will buy from the more competive sellers.  If they roll it into their price they will be competing with Amazon prices.  Don't fall for this one...

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by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 28 17:55:01 2015

I think it helps Amazon as much as if not more than it helps sellers. Think about it.

Amazon has a price point of $35 that they need buyers to buy in order to give free shipping. So Amazon is actually benefiting when buyers buy from sellers to meet this price because now they do not have to bear the expense of the shipping costs by passing it on to the sellers.

For example; if they buy $10 worth from Amazon and $25 from the seller, the seller has the higher shipping costs.

However, it does also benefit the seller as well because now the buyers can also include seller items.

So all in all, I think it is a win, win, win for Amazon, the sellers and the buyer as the buyer now has a larger selection to choose from.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Jan 29 01:08:37 2015

The thing I find interesting is that even while being a Professional seller, I got no email about this, I see nothing about this on my seller site and the seller forum doesn't have word one about that I could see just a few minutes ago. So who is going to get to do this and how are the sellers that offer 'free shipping' to help round out Amazon's orders going to get reimbursed for their shipping? With most items for sale having tight prices between each item being offered, to add on even an extra $2-$3 to the price to cover the shipping, the sellers will lose out on profits.

I can see the penny sellers running to sign up for this since none of them seem to care if they make money or not. I do want to make money and giving everything away for 'free' doesn't cut it. Shipping and handling costs more than the postage, once you are selling lots of items over and over, there is a limit to how much homemade packaging you can achieve and you have to buy it plus tape, paper, printer ink, etc. Shipping costs money and it isn't free.

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by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 29 09:23:57 2015

There is a problem for Amazon sellers on the 'Old' Platform (such as myself).
If you are an Amazon seller on the old platform, you cannot offer free shipping on your items. To offer free shipping you have to convert from the old to the new platform (this is all internal to Amazon).
However, the conversion eliminates your feedback and entire selling history so the new-platform account starts as if you have never sold on Amazon before. In addition, you lose the ability to transfer money from your account on a daily basis (it will transfer only every 14 days). I have been selling on Amazon since the first month they allowed 3rd party seller so this would be a great loss and anyone who is used to the daily withdrawals will see this as big problem as well.

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by: Toy Boy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 29 10:18:23 2015

Well,
I got that email, did read it and delete it.
I was looking into changing shipping cost for each individual item away from my flat rate that I offer now.
But the way they offer to make those changes is so ridiculous and a PITA that I do not even bother thinking about it.
The free shipping foolishness does not work for me either. Would rise my prices and kick me out of competition, if I want to make a profit, that is.

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by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 29 11:14:08 2015

As a frequent shopper/buyer on Amazon, I have learned:

“Free Amazon Shipping” is like the “Free Lunch” offer by Amazon - there ain’t none.

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by: Runs.With.Scissors This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 29 11:37:17 2015

@ Bidonmine:

  I too, (as an Amazon ''ProMerchant''), am on their old seller platform that does not permit sellers to set their own shipping prices.  I have a 100% positive Amazon feedback score and have worked very hard for several years to achieve and maintain that rating.

   The thought of starting all over again, just to offer free shipping, is not an option for me.  I find that, on ebay, 40% of my buyers leave feedback ....
however; on Amazon, only about 5% of my buyers leave feedback.  That makes it all the harder to think of starting all over again.

   That said, I don't understand why Amazon won't convert their old seller platform users over to the new platform.  It seems to me that both Amazon and the sellers would benefit.  (Maybe they're getting some of their computer programmers from FleeceBay or PreyPal,and the task seems too complex for them.).

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Thu Jan 29 12:41:05 2015

I wish they would allow non-pro sellers to offer free shipping. My Amazon sales volume isn't enough yet to justify paying for a pro account. Free shipping works well for me on my small lightweight items on other venues and I'm sure it would help on Amazon, too, if they would allow it. As it is, the shipping amounts they make me use are a lot higher than my actual costs, so it would be great to be able to set my own rate.

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by: julie This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 8 08:50:26 2015

When I got this email at first I was excited. But then I got to thinking.... this is not such a great deal for 3rd party seller or Amazon buyers.

For example... I have a widget that I currently sell on Amazon for $3.49 plus $2.99 shipping w/$1 shipping for ea additional item.

Item costs me $2.07, markup 70% = $3.52, selling for $3.49.(So if I changed that to ''free'' shipping... it would then show as $6.51.)

Amazon is currently selling this widget for $5.48 w/''free'' shipping.

You can see why this is a rather rotten deal. Of course, Amazon wants me to change to ''free'' shipping. Then my item would show as higher and the buyers would go with the Amazon item.

Currently, someone could buy 2 of my widgets for a total of $7.48 (3.49 x 2 plus 3.99 shipping). If they choose Amazon, they pay $10.92 for 2!!

So, I am leaving my items as is...I'd rather offer low shipping and a fair price. Don't fall for this ''free'' shipping deal, sellers! :(

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by: slueless This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 13 12:35:38 2015

I hate not being able to see the details, without clicking the button. When I am on other sites and I can not see the details right away I usualy leave.



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