Amazon quietly increases free shipping minimum for those without Prime to $50

By Shawn Knight · 34 replies
Feb 22, 2016
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  1. Free two-day shipping is the main reason why millions of people are willing to shell out $99 annually for a subscription to Amazon Prime. What some may not know, however, is that many items sold on Amazon can be shipped for free without a Prime membership (albeit a bit slower) so long as you spend a certain amount.

    For the longest time, that minimum order amount (on qualifying items) was $25 although in late 2013, Amazon raised it to $35. Now, Amazon has quietly bumped that minimum up to $49 as first noted by TechCrunch.

    Interestingly enough, there's sort of a way around it as order that include $25 of eligible books will ship for free.

    Amazon continues to dominate the e-commerce sector in the US and has bolstered its Prime membership to include same-day delivery in certain cities, access to a wealth of streaming music, movies and TV shows, unlimited cloud photo storage, free Kindle eBooks and early access to select deals, just to name a few perks. Those investments have certainly paid off as Amazon's Prime subscriber count grew by 51 percent worldwide last year.

    The company's latest move is little more than a subtle push to try and get more people to sign up for Prime (not that there is anything wrong with that). In addition to securing $99 up front, signing people up for Prime eliminates the minimum order threshold for free shipping which means members are likely to order more frequently and make impulse buys.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    << has no problem with this.
    madboyv1 likes this.
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,995   +1,316

    Im using prime as a student for a 50% discount, but they can certainly count me out when that discount ends. I literally only use it for the shipping and the very occasional discount.
  4. JaymondoGB

    JaymondoGB TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +12

    You would think they would use there massive tax evasion money pit to keep this shipping free. Not everyone wants to sign up to these monsters, but are forced to occasionally use them when all other methods of sourcing some goods runs out.
    ikesmasher likes this.
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,084   +1,266

    A couple years back I would have no problem with this. Lately though Amzon's free shipping has been incredibly slow. On my last three orders it took them a week just to get the package to the carrier and I only received my package by the two week marker. When Amazon takes as long as importing, I'll shop elsewhere. A few bucks difference in price is worth the vastly faster delivery.
  6. RoosterFish2

    RoosterFish2 TS Booster Posts: 37   +30

    Amazon Prime continues to get my packages delivered pretty quickly. Does it have something to do with living within 5 miles of a distribution center? probably not, nothing I order every ships from it. Wish I could just driver over and pick the stuff up sometimes. I appreciate non-prime users continuing to subsidize my prime shipping with their ever increasing free shipment threshold.
  7. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    With Cliff-o on this one, I use prime shipping often enough and split the cost with a family member so it does not particularly affect me. I just wish more items were on prime shipping... Whenever I'm making a quick/impulsive purchase I usually have prime, but when I am searching for something very specific the vendor does not offer prime or even free shipping ha ha ha...
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +1,966

    Yeah, I guess that will be the last straw for me as well after Prime runs out. What a shame, they caught lightning in a bottle and like so many other companies, let it get away from them!
  9. Guest17

    Guest17 TS Enthusiast Posts: 92   +37

    Amazon has begun to tank, with all the things that made them "customer intensive" beginning to sink into the vast internet abyss. The free shipping bump to $49, along with extended shipping time, is just the latest example.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    That's terribly patronizing of you but, I won't buy anything I can get somewhere else, from Amazon.

    In fact, I'll buy from the Amazon Marketplace, before I buy from Amazon itself. With a great majority of the things I most often order, (CDs & DVDs), I can pay the dealer's token $3.99 shipping, and still get the item cheaper than Amazon sells it, with free shipping included.

    Sorry if I haven't succumbed to your, "evil master plan".......:p
    ikesmasher likes this.
  11. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

    I pay enough TAXES and for what? The EPA ? HA ! The less of my $ the gov gets the better...buncha useless hacks
  12. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

    Amazon 1st. It has made itself invaluable....the reviews are where I go. You go feel good about yourself I want con·ven·ience and to save $. To heck with buying local.
  13. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    I have no idea where you got the idea, "I buy local". Besides, I'll gladly read Amazon's reviews to determine if something is worth buying, then buy it someplace else. BTW, for high ticket items, I can get whatever I want at the same price or less than Amazon's, from reliable dealers using better shipping companies, and closer to me..
  15. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,084   +1,266

    I would equate Amazon reviews to asking for opinions at the local super market. Don't expect something highly informed and there's always a chance of foul play. I just look at some of the top reviewed items in the computer section of amazon and see cheap Chinese mice with 16,000 DPI. Doesn't anyone know, increasing the DPI also decreases the accuracy, especially on a low quality sensor.

    If I want to buy something of relative value, I'd much rather look for a professional review.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    Well, I break mice and keyboards routinely. So, I scoot up to St. David's to "Microcenter" (near Villanova Univ. in PA), and buy their $4.00 "Saturday night specials". I think the mice max out at 1600dpi. That's too fast for me. In fact, I consider anything over 1000dpi, "a young man's mouse". Plus, I don't have to buy $35.00 worth of that s***, to get free shipping. Trust me, breaking a $4.00 keyboard, causes no tears.

    Well, I pay less attention to the content of the review, than the reviewer's context within it.. I evaluate the reviewer first, before I lend credence to anything said about the product. I also look for trends, but ignore copycat postings.

    Amazon reviews however, carry less weight than something from say, "Musician's Friend". if I'm looking to buy something musical instrument related.

    Pro reviews are a good thing, save for the fact that any pro has a horse in the race, usually for ad revenue. The result there is, instead instead of adding a grain of salt with an amateur report, you have to remove a couple of spoons of sugar with the pros..
    Evernessince likes this.
  17. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +175

    If you are looking at anything but the 3 star and lower reviews, you are not doing it right! Pro reviews are good for initial quality, but Amazon reviews tell you the item regularly fails after three months. Many of the low star reviews are stupid (I dropped my phone in the toilet and now it doesn't work. I only had it for three months and they won't replace!) or useless (Book sucked.), but you can normally find well written and thought out reviews that give legit pluses and minuses. Then you weight if those are big concerns for you.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    I agree, and you have to judge whether a person is even qualified to give a review in the first place. Newegg customers used to be notorious for claiming to be "technical wunderkinds", then write dumb s*** like, "I plugged the board in, turned it on, then installed the CPU and it won't work. This board is crap. I'm returning it. One star...:mad:

    Like I said, you have to qualify the reviewer, before you give any credence to what's being said..

    Gotta jet, 11:00 AM is so far past my bedtime......:oops:
  19. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    It's been that price for a long time. Most OL shops are the same or more and don't even offer a 'prime' deal to get it for free.
    I have been a primer for years and do all my shopping there with the exception of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.
    When we go to the store we only buy those items.
    We also love the tv and movies they give us for free. (with a membership we would have anyways)
  20. gunste24

    gunste24 TS Rookie Posts: 39

    I am beginning to take offense at the way AMAZON posts misleading prices via deals on Kinja/ Lifehacker.
    The prices shown n the articles are always 15-30% lower than the item when clicked on and getting to the Amazon site.
    That looks suspiciously like bait and switch in an attempt to get everyone to use Prime.
  21. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    What I'm getting tired of is the everyday price being marketed as a discounted deal.
  22. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

  23. All Amazon Prime offers in Canada is 'free two day shipping, free unlimited photo storage in the Cloud and 30 minute earlier access' than the rest of the masses on their 'Lightning Deals'. Think I'll pass
  24. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,084   +1,266

    Yep and that goes right in line with what CaptainCranky was saying. You need to look at not only the review but the reviewer as well.

    I do rather hate those reviews that have negative points that are user fault. I laughed at "didn't work after I dropped it in the toilet" and of course you will find a fair amount of reviews that say something to that effect.

    If there was one thing I would ask for it would be a unified review database. The only thing blocking this is that reviews are worth money. Amazon won't hand it's reviews over to an open source project when it could mean helping competitors.
  25. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    lol I saw a review that panned Axe shampoo because it was blue...I swear that was the reason it was bad shampoo, it was blue. Here I found it.
    1.0 out of 5 stars Why did you make the shampoo dark blue!!!!
    ByKimberly Heggeon October 14, 2014
    Verified Purchase
    Nobody wants to wash their hair with blue shampoo.
    YesNoReport abuse
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016

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