Amazon continues to fiddle about with its free shipping minimum, in recent days cutting it from $35 to $25. The move comes just a couple of months after the ecommerce giant dropped it to $35 from $49.
“Walmart is definitely forcing their hand with the new [rate],” BestBlackFriday‘s Phillip Dengler, who spotted the change, told Digital Trends.
Indeed, Amazon’s maneuverings follow Walmart’s decision earlier this year to do away with its subscription-based ShippingPass and replace it with free two-day shipping on eligible orders worth $35 or more. However, Amazon’s deliveries take between five and eight business days to reach your door, whereas Walmart promises to have orders in your hand in just a couple of days.
To secure free two-day shipping, or faster, Amazon shoppers have to sign up to Prime, which in the United States costs $99 a year and includes additional benefits such as online access to thousands of streaming movies, TV shows, and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
The Seattle-based company occasionally switches its minimum order total for free shipping, often in response to the competition though at other times to deal with its own logistical and financial challenges. In February 2016, for example, it raised it to $49 from $35. Longtime Amazon customers that aren’t Prime members will recall that before then, free shipping came with orders totting up to $25 or more. So, yes, Amazon has returned to its pre-2013 free shipping minimum.
Another big hitter, Best Buy, has also been testing different offers in a bid to win more customers, saying that it “sometimes offers free shipping for specific shipping methods in select categories, or free shipping sitewide.”
If you sign up to the free “My Best Buy” scheme, you’ll find that some orders qualify for free two-day shipping, with a minimum purchase of $35. Additionally, if you buy lots of stuff on its site you’ll quality for its “Elite” or “Elite Plus” scheme, bagging you free two-day deliveries on many items, with no minimum purchase.
For Amazon shoppers that really don’t want to fork out $99 a year for Prime, the bottom line is this: Wait until there’s at least $25 worth of stuff you want to order before you hit the “buy” button. But if your order hits $35, it’d be a good idea to check the other sites as well to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.