Amazon will now ship thousands of poplar products to customers free of charge, regardless of whether or not they are a Prime member, without requiring a minimum order. The company said it is using the program, dubbed Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light, to target cost-conscious shoppers.
The offer will apply to select items that weight eight ounces or less that typically cost under $10. Items that qualify for free shipping include things like makeup, mobile phone accessories and earplugs. Amazon’s new hub in Florence, Kentucky, will house all of the participating products which will arrive on customers’ doorsteps within four to eight business days.
Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc, said Amazon’s thinking is that maybe they can break even on these transactions which fits into CEO Jeff Bezos’ playbook.
Despite just announcing it, Amazon has been running the new program on a trial basis for the past 13 weeks according to Bloomberg. The company went forward with it after realizing that items sold with free shipping and without a minimum order sold more quickly than before.
Up to this point, non-Prime members were required to spend $35 before triggering free two-day shipping.
Amazon has been locked in a fierce battle with traditional retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy for years. Anything it can do to steer customers away from its competitors is likely seen as a win, even if they don’t make much or any money on a transaction.