Amazon drops its free shipping minimum to $25, undercutting Walmart

Amazon is fighting back against Walmart by dropping its free shipping minimum requirement down to $25. The move comes after a number of challenges by Walmart, including the added support for free two-day shipping on orders under $35 with no membership required, announced in January, and the more recent rollout of a new program called “Pickup Discount” that offers lowers prices if you ship items to the store instead of your home.

Amazon’s free shipping minimums apply to non-Prime members who have to place an order on the site that totals a certain amount in order to qualify for free shipping. Prime, of course, offers free, 2-day shipping on over 50 million items, along with other perks, like streaming TV, movies, and music, unlimited photo storage, free Kindle books, and more.

Before Walmart’s announcement in January, Amazon had kept the minimum fairly high at $49. This was designed to encourage more sign-ups for its annual membership program, Prime.

But after Walmart’s rollout of free shipping on orders under $35, Amazon in February dropped its requirements down to $35, as well.

This second drop now follows Walmart’s launch of its pickup discount program, which can save shoppers sometimes a significant amount of money on larger purchases – like $50 on a new HDTV, for example.

In addition, Target on Sunday – alongside the announcement of its two-day delivery service trial – raised its free shipping minimum from $25 to $35 to be in line with Walmart and Amazon. That means Amazon is now undercutting this competitor, too.

The change to the shipping minimum was first spotted by the Best Black Friday website, which notes that Amazon had not publicized the drop. As best they can tell, the new minimum went into effect sometime in the past week, but an exact date couldn’t be determined. This still would have followed Walmart’s launch of Pickup Discount, but not the increase to Target’s minimum.

However, a lowered minimum alone may not combat Walmart’s threat with its free 2-day shipping deal. While amount consumers need to spend to qualify for free shipping is lower, you’ll still have to endure standard ship times before your package arrives, which can be as long as a week. In Walmart’s case, you may have to spend a bit more for free shipping, but it’s offering to ship those items in 2 days – just like Prime – and without the need to pay for an annual membership.