The last few Black Friday shopping seasons have resulted in Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others rolling out aggressive free shipping offers to compete with Amazon. Well, this time around, it may not help. In a surprise move, this morning Amazon has announced free shipping for all this holiday shopping season.
While Prime members will still get two-day expedited shipping, along with other perks, Amazon is doing away with the usual $25 minimum order requirement starting today. This is a big move that is sure to shake-up Black Friday unlike ever before. More below.
Amazon announces free shipping for all this holiday season
Amazon is known for its Prime membership service. A $119 annual fee delivers expedited two-day shipping along with a host of other notable perks. This includes early access to Black Friday deals, streaming content and much more.
Today’s announcement will abolish the previously-held $25 free shipping minimum in favor of no-cost delivery for all. While other major retailers have previously held this as a trump card of sorts throughout the holiday shopping season, this advantage is no more.
Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of North American Retail at Amazon, explains further:
“This holiday, customers can enjoy free shipping with no minimum purchase amount on orders that will arrive in time for Christmas, including items from Amazon’s expertly curated Gift Guides across electronics, fashion, home and toys. With hundreds of millions of items available for free shipping to all Amazon customers and more than three million items available with Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery, customers can enjoy the largest selection of items that are fast and free.”
Of course, this new free delivery initiative will include standard shipping windows of 5-7 business days. If you’re looking for expedited delivery, a Prime membership is still the way to go. Amazon will also be offering one-hour delivery in more than 60 cities via Prime Now and Whole Foods. Same-day delivery will also be available seven days a week throughout November and December in select markets.
Amazon is expected to roll back these aggressive initiatives by the end of the year, at the latest.
Amazon counters Target, Best Buy and others
It’s an annual tradition at this point that Target, Best Buy and other retailers announce free shipping perks in November and December. It’s one of their strongest counters to Amazon’s aggressive pricing and Prime delivery services.
Well, to be honest, this puts those other retailers in a tough spot. Amazon already does an excellent job of matching or beating its competitors pricing throughout Black Friday. Without the free shipping minimum, there is less of a reason to shop at other storefronts. The one advantage Target and Best Buy have over Amazon is its brick and mortar locations. In-store pickup at both retailers is still a force throughout the holiday season, as some shoppers prefer to get their items as soon as possible.
Black Friday at 9to5Toys
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