Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has raised the minimum purchase amount to qualify for free shipping in an attempt to control costs and push more shoppers toward the Prime membership program.
Shoppers must now spend $49 to qualify for free shipping, although the minimum on eligible books remains $25.
The effort—while done quietly, according to TechCrunch—has two goals: to drive Prime membership and control costs. Fulfillment costs were up 32.8 percent year over year. And while Amazon is exploring a myriad of ways to lower these costs, including drones and its own fleet of delivery trucks and planes, getting shoppers to pay for shipping will certainly help.
Growing Prime has more benefits than cost reductions. The membership service has been a boon to Amazon, adding millions of new members during the holiday season. These members tend to be younger and wealthier than shoppers who frequent competitive retailers.
Amazon last raised the minimum purchase amount in 2013, from $25 to $35.
-See this TechCrunch story
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