In a push to convert more customers to its $99 Prime service, Amazon has quietly raised its minimum free shipping for non-Prime members from $35 to $49.
Retail analysts estimated earlier this year that 54 million of Amazon's 250 million-strong active customer base are Prime members. Prime membership offers free two-day shipping, along with other perks such as online music and video streaming. Since the average Prime member spends about twice as much a year as a non-member, Amazon is clearly positioning its Prime service as a more attractive option for shoppers.
Amazon is also looking to cut back on its fulfillment costs, which increased by almost a third last year. Additionally, the online giant saw an increase in shipping costs year-on-year, up to 12.7 percent from 11.6 percent.
Rivals Jet and Best Buy both offer free shipping for orders over $35, and Target's minimum is $25. The Amazon $49 minimum does not apply to book-only orders, however -- the original minimum amount of $25 still remains.