Amazon Announces Free Shipping for Holidays — No Prime Membership Needed
Amazon is the latest e-commerce retailer to offer free shipping on all pre-holiday purchases, regardless of membership status.
Amazon typically offers free two-day shipping to Prime members, who pay $119 for the privilege. Otherwise, shoppers must hit a $25 purchase minimum to access free shipping.
“All Amazon customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday,” the company announced on its website.
It also noted that eligible items typically ship in five to eight days.
The promotion started Nov. 5 and is available “for a limited time.”
Amazon’s offer is likely in response to increasing competition from other retailers that hope to lure customers to their e-commerce options.
Target announced Oct. 23 that it would offer free two-day shipping to all online shoppers without requiring a minimum order size. That promotion began Nov. 1 and will continue through Dec. 22. Target typically has a $35 minimum order requirement to access free shipping.
Meanwhile, Walmart announced the same day that it’s expanding its free two-day shipping option to Marketplace items sold by third parties.
“In the coming months, you will see millions of additional items with the two-day free shipping label,” the company announced. Walmart.com will still require a $35 minimum order for free two-day shipping.
Customers in search of the best shipping deal for their online holiday shopping should watch the fine print for deadlines and restrictions that could delay delivery of those gifts.
One Last Free-Shipping Hurrah?
These free shipping offers are enticing for customers, but retailers may not be so generous next holiday season.
The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a 9% to 12% increase for the parcel select shipping service used by Amazon for the last leg of delivery. FedEx also announced that ground and home delivery shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9%.
These increases don’t go into effect until January 2019. But they surely have major e-commerce players preparing to adjust their shipping strategies or make up for the increase in other ways — potentially by increasing prices.
Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, where she covers the retail and grocery industries.