Retail giant Amazon will now provide free shipping in the US for small and cheap items without requiring customers to place a minimum order. This new service which is called “Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light” allows customers to place orders for items that weigh no more than 8 ounces (230 grams), with delivery taking between four and eight business days.
Previously, buyers would need to place an order worth $35 or more, or have an Amazon Prime subscription to qualify for free shipping. Amazon started trialing the program 13 weeks ago, and discovered that items that offered free shipping without the standard $35 minimum order sold faster than standard items.
Example items include makeup, mobile phone accessories, earplugs, and other goods that usually cost no more than $10. While the move won’t help Amazon make money in the short term, it will help it claw an even bigger market share from rivals such as Wal-Mart. Crucially, it could also pave the way for the company to start using drones to deliver lightweight items, a service that CEO Jeff Bezos has repeatedly stressed Amazon will adopt as standard in the coming years.