Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Amazon is now offering free shipping for all holiday orders

Amazon is now offering free shipping for all holiday orders

Amazon is waiving the minimum purchase requirement for free shipping, all in an effort to boost holiday sales and add new Prime members.

The offer will be incredibly beneficial for Amazon, and although it has more than 100 million Prime subscribers, a majority of its customers continue to be non-Prime subscribers. Prime account holders will receive free same-day delivery instead of two-day shipping on eligible items. One analyst, Colin Sebastian of Baird Equity Research, said the offer could shave 5 percent to 6 percent off Amazon's operating profit this quarter.

US online retail sales in November and December will rise 14.8 percent, to $124 billion, software maker Adobe said last week in a forecast based on data from 80 of the 100 largest online retailers. That would be more than 12 percent of the $71.8 billion in sales that analysts now expect the company to report for the quarter. Offering up free shipping with no minimum could be an attempt to gain more Prime users, but it also may be a tactic to ensure that competitors such as Walmart are less likely to take away sales. Hundreds of millions of items will therefore become eligible for free shipping.

The tool will be present in the Amazon app and will allow customers to place "selected products" in their home before they make a transaction using augmented reality technology. The spokeswoman said the company expects to announce that cutoff date later, after assessing customer demand and its logistics network.

No change was announced for Prime members, who already get two-day (or faster) shipping at no additional cost and with no minimum order.

Prime members in the United States do get a holiday perk, however. The best guess is that it will run through the holiday season until a week or so before Christmas-while Amazon can still guarantee delivery by the holiday.

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