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.
“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.