Halloween is behind us, November is upon us, and the holidays are officially here. If you are waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to start your Christmas shopping, you will likely be too late for some of the hottest items this year. That’s why you should already be making your list and checking it twice to find out if Amazon will be able to offer it cheaper and faster.
To help facilitate the upcoming buying frenzy, Amazon has dropped its requirement of a minimum purchase for free shipping. Those shipping fees can add up and contribute greatly to your overall credit card burden. Free shipping is a gift to the giver.
Amazon is not doing this in a vacuum. The Verge makes it clear this is a competitive move.
“The promotion comes as Target last month introduced free two-day shipping in an attempt to capture more of the market during the holiday shopping rush. Walmart offers free two-day shipping on orders of $35 and up. Amazon’s promotion will further ratchet up the pressure on these incumbent retailers, making it cheaper still to buy online from the company that recently hit a $1 trillion valuation. Amazon already spent a record $7.3 billion on shipping during last year’s holiday quarter, and this promotion is likely to push this cost higher still.”
Prime members already get this benefit for free. This promotion is for non-Prime members. Walmart is Amazon’s biggest competition and they have a minimum order requirement. That said, holiday shopping tends to ring up for more than $35.
Where this becomes a real benefit is for the last-minute shopping or those odds and ends that were not a part of the first round. What about extra batteries for those drones? For the person with $10 to spend on that one thing that didn’t make the big list, Amazon becomes a no-brainer. That is the kind of thing Walmart will find it tough to compete with.
Free shipping is not the only thing to consider when doing your online shopping for the holidays. Be sure to ask if they do gift-wrapping, provide customized cards, include gift receipts, and have a generous, easy, and extended return policy.
If Apple products are on your gift list, Amazon might not be the best source because they often don’t get the new ones as quickly as the Apple Store. If a New iPad Pro or MacBook Air is on the list, your best bet is to find an Apple Store near you this Wednesday when they will be on sale and on display for day-one shoppers. Demand is likely to be high. And if past is prologue, the wait could get pretty long after the initial shipments.