Amazon has shelved free “super saver” delivery in the UK on certain products with a value of less than £10.
Its a U-turn on a policy unveiled in October 2009 that allows products to be shipped with no delivery fee if shoppers agreed to wait for up to five working days for their delivery after dispatch.
This new policy change will not affect video games, books, DVDs, music or software products.
The company said the change would “affect only a very small proportion of orders”.
However one retail specialist said the change could nevertheless be “damaging” for the its sales online.
Shoppers purchasing non-qualifying goods, like a USB storage stick valued at less than £10, for instance, will now face a P&P charge of £3.99. Some shipping costs on other products could be even bigger.
Amazon UK, which attains around £3bn annually in sales revenue, said multiple products worth less than £10 will still be shipped for no cost if they coupled it with a qualifying item, say for example a DVD or video game.
The online retailer said the change of the lowest spend limit would allow it to supply “a significantly expanded selection of lower priced products”.
Amazon has greatly widened the volume of items it serves up on the internet over the last few years, such as clothing, food items and beauty and health products, not forgetting the products offered by third-party sellers.
The adjustment could be designed to stimulate subscriptions for Amazon Prime shipping service, which costs £49 annually for next day shipping and delivery on an unlimited quantity of purchases.
Occasional shoppers with Amazon are unlikely to sign up to Prime as it is more expensive than accepting the average P&P charges associated with infrequent ordering. But, Amazon are keen to attract more customers to its delivery scheme as it will help with customer retention and loyalty.
Amazon is additionally attempting to drive consumers towards making numerous product purchases as profit margins on some lower volume items are very low.
In June, the company stopped free super saver shipping in a number of nations including Norway, Spain, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, San Marino and Vatican City. These countries used to have free delivery on orders over £25.