EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3115 - July 24, 2013     3 of 5

Amazon Tightens Free-Shipping Requirements in UK

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Amazon has been so successful with making customers comfortable ordering everyday items on its marketplace that it has been putting measures into place to shield it from low-quantity orders of low-cost items that rack up its shipping costs; the latest example comes from Amazon UK.

Amazon is making changes to its Super Saver Delivery service in the UK, introducing a 10-pound (currency) minimum spend to qualify for free shipping through the program in most categories. (The program has an existing $25 minimum spend requirement in the U.S.) In a letter to UK customers, Amazon said the change effects only Free Super Saver Delivery - "all other delivery services, including Amazon Prime, remain unchanged," according to the notice.

The minimum spend went into effect on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. However, orders that include books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software products continue to qualify for Free Super Saver Delivery with no minimum spend threshold.

That means a UK customer who orders a book for 3.49 pounds and an HDMI cable for 4.49 pounds will receive free Super Saver shipping and won't be subject to the 10-pound minimum spend.

UK customers with Amazon Prime won't be affected - "Amazon Prime allows you to benefit from unlimited, One Day delivery on all orders with no minimum threshold for an annual fee of 49 pounds." However, Prime members are effected by Amazon Add-on items, which are low-priced products for sale on Amazon UK that can be purchased with a minimum 10-pound purchase of eligible items.

Amazon noted that Prime members continue to enjoy discounted rates on a number of delivery services including Evening Delivery, "which has recently been extended to a total of 19 towns and cities across the UK." The company pointed to additional new services, Amazon Lockers and collection points. "These self-service delivery locations allow you to pick up Amazon deliveries at a time and location that is most convenient for you."

Amazon explained the change to Free Super Saver Delivery, writing, "Whilst the change will affect only a very small proportion of orders, it will allow us to offer you a significantly expanded selection of lower priced products."

A letter sent to a reader who is an Amazon UK affiliate ("associate") explained that the Associate advertising tools, including banners and widgets, have been updated to reflect the change, as has all content on the site. However, it advised, "You should, however, check your site to ensure any reference to Free Super Saver Delivery reflects the new minimum spend terms and conditions."

Free Super Saver Delivery is available to all items except Gift Certificates and non-FBA marketplace items. More information is available on the Amazon UK website.

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

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