|Tue Jan 27 2015 21:27:20|
Amazon Change to Super Saver Shipping: Good for Sellers?
By: Ina Steiner
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?