While the default minimum still appears to be $25 for now, Amazon’s higher free shipping threshold is determined randomly via ZIP code-grouped regions.
More from Sourcing Journal
“We continually evaluate our offerings and make adjustments based on those assessments,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We’re currently testing a $35 minimum for non-Prime customers to qualify for free shipping. Prime members continue to enjoy free delivery on over 300 million items, with tens of millions of items available for free Same or One-Day Delivery.”
Amazon has tweaked the free shipping threshold for non-Prime members in the past. In 2016, it raised the minimum to $49 from $35, then reverted back to the earlier threshold a year later before dropping the minimum down to $25 in an effort to better compete with Walmart.
Currently, Walmart also has a $35 free shipping minimum for shoppers who aren’t part of its loyalty program and Prime competitor, Walmart+.
Raising the free shipping threshold could push more shoppers to sign up for the Prime membership program, which includes free, two-day delivery; access to streaming services; and other perks. Amazon hasn’t publicly stated its membership totals since 2021, when founder and then-CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the company had 200 million Prime subscribers.
The change does not impact Prime members, who pay $139 annually or $15 per month.
The e-commerce giant is looking to recoup more costs across its fulfillment operation, which saw paid units shipped rise 9 percent in the second quarter, outpacing a 6 percent rise in shipping costs.
In October, Amazon will impose a small fee on sellers who opt out of using its own logistics and fulfillment services, which Bloomberg reported as 2 percent on top of the commission they already pay to sell products. The decision is a bold one for the tech titan, which is expected to be slapped with an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The government agency reportedly will claim that Amazon steers sellers to its own fulfillment and logistics services.
All of this comes as Amazon is quietly rearming its third-party ground delivery capabilities in direct competition with UPS and FedEx.
The company recently relaunched Amazon Shipping, a service designed for shippers that aren’t selling products on the company’s online marketplace. Amazon Shipping is a reboot of a pilot service it had discontinued early in the Covid-19 pandemic, when the company delivered non-Amazon packages via its own logistics service.
Amazon’s updates to its fulfillment network come as the Everything Store endures an ongoing strike from delivery drivers and dispatchers formerly contracted by the company.
Two months after beginning an unfair labor practice strike at Amazon’s “DAX8” delivery station in Palmdale, Calif., on June 24., a group of 84 workers have extended their picket line to a 12th location “DJC5” in Hollister, Calif. The group has picketed a dozen Amazon warehouses around the country, including facilities in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan and Georgia.
Drivers in Palmdale initially organized with the Teamsters in April to protect their safety in extreme temperatures, which regularly exceed 100 degrees during Palmdale summers. Under their Teamster contract, the workers are guaranteed to drive safer equipment and refuse unsafe deliveries.
The drivers and dispatchers work for Battle-Tested Strategies, a last-mile delivery company that served as a former delivery service partner (DSP) of Amazon, before the e-commerce giant terminated the partnership on April 14. As a result, the Teamsters-represented employees filed unfair labor practice charges against Amazon in May.
Amazon said Battle-Tested Strategies was cited for breach of contract five times, most notably for failing to follow proper safety procedures, maintain its fleet and pay insurance providers. The company has refused to recognize the union.
Despite Amazon’s confirmation that the partner delivery firm no longer works for the company, the union and the select employees still refer to themselves as “Amazon workers.”
“Since this strike started on June 24, these Amazon workers have remained united in pursuit of fair pay and safe jobs,” said Victor Mineros, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 396 in Los Angeles. “Despite Amazon’s illegal refusal to recognize their union or engage in bargaining, the community and fellow workers in this industry have consistently shown unwavering support. Millions of Teamster members stand shoulder to shoulder, with firm resolve, supporting their brothers and sisters at Amazon. Together, we are resolute in holding this corporate criminal accountable for its treatment of their workers.”
The strike will continue until Amazon reinstates the terminated Palmdale employees and recognizes the Teamsters, the union says. Additionally, the union says it will strike until Amazon respects the contract negotiated by the workers, and bargains with it to address low pay and dangerous working conditions.