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Most Amazon shoppers probably realize the online retailer isn't above raising prices for its services. Two years ago, the yearly cost of a Prime membership increased from $79 to $99. In October of 2013, the minimum amount required for non-Prime members to receive free shipping went from $25 to $35.
Now, the price has been raised again, to $49. This puts Amazon in line with other online retailers who often charge minimums of $50 to qualify for free shipping — but Amazon is the largest online retailer in the country by far, and practically a utility for many, not just "another online retailer." How is this latest change going to affect shopping habits of Amazon customers?
Not surprisingly, customers aren't particularly happy when they have to spend more money to snag those perks they've become accustomed to receiving.
In our survey of 1,360 people, 96% of participants without Prime reported that the higher minimum will change how they shop at Amazon. When asked why, a full 75% said that they're more likely to shop around now to find the best price.
These respondents were able to select multiple reasons why the change would affect them, and a few additional grievances rated highly; 67% said they were less likely to place smaller orders because they wouldn't earn free shipping, while 52% were annoyed about the change and plan to avoid shopping there as much on principle.
That irritation about the change might be influencing shoppers' opinion of Prime as well. When asked if these non-Prime users were more likely to subscribe to the service now that the free shipping minimum has increased, 97% said no. Whether their opinion softens after the initial shock of the change has subsided remains to be seen.
Amazon's new minimum for free shipping puts the store on par with, or even higher than, some of its competitors' offerings. If you're looking to shop around more in the future, then check out our list below of the shipping details for the most common alternative retailers. Some of these vendors offer in-store pickup as well, which could be more widely available than the Amazon locker pickup locations, and also save on shipping charges.
These prices are based on standard shipping costs, which takes approximately three to seven business days for orders to arrive, depending on the store. Certain items might also tack on various shipping surcharges, so be sure to carefully inspect your total before placing an order to ensure you're getting the best deal.
It's still too early to know what kind of response Amazon will see over this latest price increase. However, our survey seems to indicate the retailer might have to work hard to win back some customers.