The company said during its most recent annual report that it expected shipping costs "to continue to increase to the extent our customers accept and use our shipping offers at an increasing rate, we reduce shipping rates, we use more expensive shipping methods, and we offer additional services". Amazon spent more than $7 billion on shipping in the fourth quarter past year, before subtracting the shipping fees it collects from customers. There's a feature called AR View, for example - a new augmented reality feature in the Amazon app that allows customers to view products in situ before they purchase.
The free shipping will probably help boost sales quite a lot, especially since it's the holiday season. Shoppers who aren't Prime members will get slower shipping, though, which can take five to eight days.
Shares of Walmart and Target rose about 1 percent each on Monday.
Just over half of all USA households have a Prime subscription, analysts estimate.
Amazon is now courting those outside the club, hoping its brand and wider selection will set it apart. So long as shipping partners are not too backed up, that could mean right up to December 24 given that Amazon can do same-day delivery in select areas.
Bottom line: Buy one of over 100 million items you want on Amazon and get free shipping without having to spend $25 now up until Christmas. According to the Seattle company's latest annual filing, shipping costs almost doubled from 2015 to 2017, reaching $21.7 billion.