The Shipping News

You need a scorecard to keep up with all the shipping policy changes at
Amazon.com these days. In today’s action, the e-tailing giant rolled out what
it calls “faster and more affordable shipping options for non-U.S. customers.”


Within the past few weeks, Amazon had launched a free shipping offer for
folks who buy two or more purchases, a deal that was quickly matched by bookseller rival Barnes & Noble.com.


Then Amazon quietly rescinded its free shipping offer, saying that it was a
two-week promotion that a company spokesman referred to as a test run.


However, free standard shipping was being offered today on the new Crest
Whitestrips for teeth, priced at $39.99. That offer was via a link to partner
site drugstore.com. See, you DO need a scorecard.


In making today’s international shipping announcement, amazon said that
shipping rates and times are now divided into 10 distinct regions, with
pricing and transit times based on the distance of a particular region from
Seattle-based Amazon.com’s U.S. distribution centers and the volume of
exports to that region.


And now, music, movies and software can now be shipped overseas via Standard
Shipping, which was previously not an option.


Amazon.com said it has expanded its relationship with
Deutsche Post Global Mail and its subsidiary DHL (no financial details were
disclosed) to provide the new regionalized shipping services. Amazon said
that now it can offer international customers an average transit time of 11
to 21 days, down from 14 to 84 days.


The new regional categories are Canada, Europe, Asia/Asia Pacific, Japan,
Latin America, Australia, Israel, Africa, Middle East and Island Nations.
Details of pricing to the various segments are available here.


More than 26 percent of Amazon’s combined cumulative customer base of 32
million customers is outside of the United States.


Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble is still offering free shipping on every item if
you buy two or more, and they say they have not raised prices. How long they
can keep that up is anybody’s guess. When Amazon was doing its free shipping
trial, some prices were actually hiked to compensate. With the end of the
free-shipping promotion, Amazon said it lowered prices that had been raised.

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