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Summary:

People are accustomed to Amazon’s prices going down. Changes made this week and over the summer, however, are a reminder that in some cases, Amazon’s prices go up.

Amazon Package
photo: Flickr / William Christiansen

Amazon tends to make news for lowering its prices and undercutting other retailers, but here’s the flip side: in advance of the company’s earnings on Thursday, Amazon has raised the minimum order for free “Super Saver” shipping, from $25 to $35. In addition, the New York Times notes that Amazon has also raised overnight shipping prices on some Prime orders.

Here’s how Amazon describes its changes in Free Super Saver shipping (via Lifehacker):

“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 US. During that time, we have expanded free shipping selection by millions of items across all 40 product categories.”

In addition, the New York Times notes in an earnings preview that, over the summer, Amazon changed its pricing for Prime members on overnight shipping orders. Prime members pay $79 a year for unlimited free two-day shipping and other perks (like streaming video). Previously, you could upgrade any Prime order to overnight shipping for $3.99. But the article notes that “devoted Prime users discovered that the company had started charging variable amounts according to size and weight, with a minimum of $2.99. A self-propelled Lawn Boy, for instance, is now $25 overnight.”

Amazon “confirmed the change, but said the company keeps adding entertainment extras to Prime without raising the membership fee, including 41,000 movies and TV shows.”

Expect questions about these changes to come up during the analyst call following Amazon’s third-quarter earnings call on Thursday. Analysts have long worried about Amazon’s razor-slim profit margins — and CEO Jeff Bezos has long said that the company operates for the long term, not the short term. Changes in shipping prices, however, suggest that even Amazon doesn’t want to lose money forever.

  1. I’m actually surprised they hadn’t done it earlier. They’re distribution had been coming into some trouble in the last couple of years. Honestly, as long as the 2 day free shipping isn’t interrupted, I’m ok. Though, I had noticed that some of the larger items, fulfilled by amazon, no longer have the 2 day free shipping option–my desk/treadmill, being one of them.

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  2. I noticed the overnight shipping change a couple of months ago and to say that it pissed me off is an understatement because that was the main reason I got a prime membership a few years ago. Being able to have larger items like TVs shipped overnight for $4 is a major bargain, especially when you need something like that the next day. After seeing the price increase, I have dramatically cut down on how much I am buying on Amazon. My bank account may be happier now but I’m not.

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    1. Two-day vs. one-day isn’t the end of the world. If having to wait on more day makes you not by it at all, there urgency to get it in one day wasn’t really there at all.

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  3. This is not an entirely surprising move. However, for those still interested in getting those last few items to meet the now $35 minimum spending requirement, I like to use http://www.shippingfiller.com to locate “filler” items that I actually want.

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    1. Kieran Mullen Friday, October 25, 2013

      Because online petitions always work!

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      1. What a stupid reply.

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    2. When you use change.org for crap like this, you water down its effectiveness for real issues

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  4. I have been a Prime member now or several years. In the last few months, Prime 2 day shipping has really has mean 3 days to a week on some items. Never had a problem before, 2 days meant 2 days and my items always arrived on time. Not renewing my Prime membership again, I don’t watch the crappy movies/MP3s so the only benefit I saw was the 2 day shipping, and this is no longer the case.

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  5. My 2day has actually been one day on some occasions and even Saturday delivery, like today

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  6. Unfortunately, it means that between charging sales tax in California and raising the minimum for free shipping I won’t be ordering as much from Amazon as in the past.

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  7. Most people do not understand the inner workings of Amazon Prime. As a long time FBA seller the fees are calculated into the seller fees,

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  8. I live in a city with an Amazon distribution center, so this change doesn’t really affect me. Most times you can tell that if they can get the item to you tomorrow, via *any* shipping option, then chances are it’s in the same city you are and ordering regular 2 day will have the same delivery speed as 1 day. I can’t tell you how many items I’ve ordered with 2 day delivery that have arrived the next day via FedEx Smartpost (basically USPS local delivery).

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  9. I would much rather have my next day shipping back to $3.99 than some movies streaming that I have no interest in. My prime membership is automatically renewed, and I had no clue about the change in shipping rates until I was trying to place an order and they wanted $5.99 for next day.

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