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Amazon announced that it will be offering free shipping in the US

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it will be offering free shipping in the US on all items without requiring a minimum order. Earlier, this was only the case for Amazon Prime members – everyone else had to pay for shipping if your order total was under $35 (approximately Rs. 2,250) – but this makes it easier for everyone to turn to Amazon to buy day to day items.

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Earlier, Amazon India was also offering free deliveries on all items, but it now offers free delivery only for orders of Rs. 500 or higher.

This does reduce the value of Amazon Prime to users, who have to pay $99 (approximately Rs. 6,300) per year to subscribe to the service. However, Amazon has over time introduced features like same-day deliveries, and also been steadily strengthening its digital services, for free music and video streaming, which should help keep Prime users happy.

According to a report, while the minimum price restriction has been removed, there are still some constraints. The service covers items that weigh 8 ounces (230 grams) or less, which does restrict the types of products you would be ordering. A packet of biscuits for example, would make sense, while a 1-litre bottle of Coca-Cola (which costs roughly the same amount) would not be accepted because of the weight.

According to the report, Amazon started this project on a trial basis 13 weeks ago, and found that articles started selling more quickly than before. This move could help Amazon recover ground against large retailers like Walmart and Target which have also been aggressively selling products online, but at the same time, is unlikely to help Amazon much as it would have to bear the added cost of shipping. Perhaps the company is hoping that the increased number of users will also reflect in an increased number of Prime subscriptions, which come with additional benefits.

With any luck, if the program is successful, Amazon will bring back free shipping to India as well.