Amazon.com raises minimum order for free shipping

Amazon.com Inc. raised the minimum order price to get free shipping by $10, to $35, a move that should reduce its massive shipping costs and could drive more customers to its Amazon Prime service.

In a blog post, the company noted the increase was the first change in the free-shipping offer in more than a decade. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to say what percentage of its orders ship for free using its Super Saver Shipping offer.

The announcement comes two days before Amazon releases its quarterly results, when analysts often press for information about company efforts to boost profits. It also comes just as the holiday shopping season begins, when Amazon racks up its biggest sales, but also its biggest shipping expenses.

In 2012, Amazon reported $2.9 billion in net shipping costs. That’s the difference between its shipping revenues, the amount shoppers pay to have items shipped, and its shipping costs, the amount Amazon pays to ship those items.

Amazon is also nudging customers toward its Amazon Prime service with the move. The $79-a-year service offers free two-day shipping on more than 15 million items, as well as access to its Amazon Prime Instant Video services, a video streaming offering that competes with Netflix.

In its blog post, Amazon notes that “millions of Amazon customers have already made the choice of faster shipping by becoming Amazon Prime members.”

Having paid that subscription fee, Prime customers often try to justify the expense, ordering from Amazon more often that non-Prime shoppers.

In a research report, Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Robert W. Baird &Co., also speculated that Amazon may be trying to increase the overall “basket” size, since many shoppers “will purposely hit the $25 level in order to get free shipping.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Drone’s ease piercing of NY ‘no-fly’ zone underscores risks

An Army Black Hawk helicopter suffered damage to one of its rotor blades, but was able to land safely.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox network, stations and cable channels.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Delta orders 100 Airbus A321neo jets valued at $12.7 billion

Boeing had hoped to land the deal, offering comparable 737s.

Pain lingers decade after recession

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Most Read