This week Amazon made a change to their Super Saver Shipping policy that makes it so customers have to spend $35 on qualifying orders instead of $25 to get “free” shipping. The price increase hasn’t gone over well with many customers, me included.
I think that Amazon is clearly doing this because they want to get more people to sign up for Amazon Prime this holiday shopping season. They’ve been pushing Prime hard lately, and it’s a good alternative to Super Saver Shipping, but it has some limitations.
What really annoys me about Super Saver Shipping is that it’s not really “free” anyway. It’s clearly obvious on many items that part of the shipping cost is part of the asking price because you can find the same product in a local store or on another website advertised for like $5 less where you have to pay separate for shipping.
In recent months many of my Super Saver Shipping orders have turned into Super Slow Shipping orders. Now I know why. The price increase makes total sense. Amazon is trying to steer people away from using Super Saver Shipping. And when you do use it they are going to make sure to slow down the order enough so that you don’t receive it too early.
In year’s past it wasn’t uncommon to receive SSS orders in a few days. Now it seems common for Amazon to wait a week before even shipping it. A couple months ago I became so fed up with Amazon’s Super Slow Shipping that I started shopping elsewhere, and I’ve been surprised to find some good alternatives to Amazon, and often for the same price or even less.
Here are 5 tips for avoiding using Amazon’s Super
Saver Slow Shipping:
#1. Amazon Prime – This is what Amazon wants you to do, sign up for a yearly membership of Amazon Prime for $79, which grants free 2-day shipping on some orders. At $6.59 per month, that’s not a bad option really, especially with the added perks of a free monthly ebook and free streaming videos. But the downside is there are a lot of products Prime does not work with; free 2-day shipping only applies to products sold by Amazon themselves, and many items listed as “fulfilled” by Amazon, but it isn’t offered on a lot of products sold by third-party sellers.
#2. eBay – I recently discovered that eBay is a really good alternative to Amazon, and what I like is you can checkout as a guest without having to setup an account. Plus they accept PayPal, unlike Amazon. I also found out that many of the same sellers on Amazon sell on eBay too. On several recent orders I found an item I wanted at Amazon, and then went and searched eBay and turned up the exact same product from the exact same vendor. Usually the price is about the same. And unlike Amazon’s Super Slow Shipping, all of my eBay orders have shipped within two days.
#3. Merchant’s Website – Sometimes I’ll find a product on Amazon and then decide to order it from the merchant’s website directly instead. All you have to do is go to Google and run a search for the name of the company listed as the seller at Amazon. Then find the product on their website and you’re good to go. The price is often exactly the same; shipping costs vary, but sometimes it’s worth a couple extra bucks to get it shipped standard instead of having to wait for SSS. I used to do this a lot back in the day with paper books to avoid paying separate shipping charges from multiple vendors.
#4. Internet Search – A lot of times I’ll run a Google search of a product I find at Amazon to find listings of other retailers selling it. Google shopping can come in handy for this, but it can sure lead you to some questionable websites that I would never feel comfortable giving my personal information to so be careful.
#5. Other Retailers – Amazon isn’t the only website with free shipping. Most websites have a threshold of $50 to receive free shipping (but keep in mind that’s usually for standard shipping, not Super Slow Shipping, so it should arrive faster). Best Buy still offers free shipping on orders $25 and up. Newegg has an SSS equivalent called Super Eggsaver Shipping, which seems to vary by product, not overall price. Some retail stores like Best Buy and Walmart offer free site-to-store shipping for items they don’t have in stock. Here’s a list of alternative retailers with products similar to Amazon: