How Will Amazon’s New $35 Minimum For Free Shipping Affect Marketplace Sellers?

When we learned that Amazon quietly upped the minimum purchase to receive free Super Saver Shipping to $35 from the longtime threshold of $25 as of Tuesday, we rather selfishly looked at this from the point of view of consumers, and also from the point of view of cats that like to lounge in Amazon boxes. Who didn’t we consider? Amazon Marketplace sellers.

After all, these sellers’ livelihood often depends on policies that can change suddenly. Like this one.

EcommerceBytes is a site that looks at issues like this from the point of view of sellers large and small, and they asked this question after the shipping change was announced. While an Amazon spokesperson told the site that the change would not affect third-party sellers directly, there could be some indirect effects.

Sellers with single items that cost less than $35 might see an increase in sales. A customer could do a direct price comparison including shipping and sales tax. This might make the price offered by a small vendor with no physical presence in the customer’s state (and thus no sales tax) price cheaper than Amazon.

If the change ends up bringing more subscribers to the unlimited free shipping wonderland of Amazon Prime, this could be good for some sellers and bad for others. “Prime looks more attractive with this minimum price increase,” one anonymous seller pointed out to AuctionBytes. “Maybe it is good news for [Fulfilled by Amazon] sellers and bad for FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant) sellers.”

Sellers who put their items in an Amazon warehouse for fulfillment pay a small amount for Amazon to handle order picking and shipping. More importantly, since these orders come from an Amazon warehouse, they’re eligible for Super Saver Shipping (now at the $35 threshold) and free shipping using Prime.

Maybe the change isn’t just a nudge for consumers to join Prime: it’s also a nudge for Marketplace sellers large and small to join Prime, indirectly. If more Amazon customers use Prime, sellers have more of an incentive to outsource their fulfillment to Amazon.

Sellers Speculate on Impact of Amazon’s Shipping Change [EcommerceBytes]

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Amazon Quietly Ups The Free Shipping Minimum Purchase To $35