By lifting a restriction that required all items in an order to come from the same seller to qualify for free shipping, Amazon has more than tripled the number of items that qualify for the benefit, the company said.
Starting this week, all Amazon seller-fulfilled items in which the merchant opts to offer a free shipping option can count toward the minimum order value of $35 required to get stuff sent for nothing. So now, for example, someone can order a $25 coffee grinder from Amazon itself and a $10 bag of coffee from a third-party seller and meet the threshold.
Customers can see which items are eligible by seeing the “Free Shipping” message on the product page.
“This free shipping expansion more than triples the millions of items eligible to contribute for free shipping, and makes items from small and local businesses offering free-shipping even more attractive to customers,” said Erik Fairleigh, an Amazon spokesperson.
At the end of December, Amazon said that 100 million more items shipped for free during the holiday season than in 2013, saving customers more than $2 billion. However, massive shipping and operations costs have made it difficult for the company to show a profit, with more years in the red than in the black.