Quietly, major online retailers Amazon.com and Best Buy have increased their minimum purchase amounts required to get your merchandise shipped for free. Amazon has gone from a decade-plus tradition of free shipping on orders of $25 and up to requiring you to shell out at least $35, while Best Buy has gone from free shipping on pretty much anything to a $25 minimum (though the ship-to-store option is still free). Says the quiet announcement on Amazon.com:
Amazon’s minimum order size for free shipping has changed to $35. This is the first time in more than a decade that Amazon has altered the minimum order for free shipping in the U.S.
Amazon has been having trouble with profitability as of late, losing money in 2012, all signs point to losses again this quarter. That $10 margin probably means quite a bit of dough, and more importantly, a further way to push the company’s Prime subscription service, which not only gets you a library of streaming content, but also free two-day shipping and $3.99 one-day shipping on many items.
While Best Buy has been doing pretty well lately, the slash and burn of its media sections may come back to haunt the retailer in the long, as there are less loss leader reasons to visit the store weekly (although the new My Best Buy rewards program is tempting shoppers into stores with the promise of exclusive coupons). We’ll see how this plays out for the companies involved, but when shopping this holiday season, make sure to save a few items in reserve if you’re planning on cheaping out on shipping costs.
Read: [Amazon's Super Saver Rules Page]