Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, an Amazon.com package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon on Thursday, March 13, 2014 said it is raising the price of its popular Prime membership to $99 per year, an increase of $20. It's the first price increase since the online retailer introduced its Prime membership program in 2005. T(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Amazon Prime price shock? Options exist

Shipping » Price hike puts spotlight on rivals with lower annual fees.

By JOSEPH PISANI

The Associated Press

First Published Mar 25 2014 09:27 am • Last Updated Mar 26 2014 05:06 pm

New York » Many online shoppers were taken aback when Amazon raised the price of its Prime service. Although Prime offers a streaming video service, many customers have come to rely on its free two-day shipping.

Some took the $20 price hike in stride. "I order stuff once a week on Amazon," said Liam Stephens, a Los Angeles-based mobile phone game designer. "It’s still a better deal."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But if you’re annoyed, and looking for alternatives, there are cheaper versions you can try.

Rivals, including ShopRunner, Overstock.com and Newegg, offer online shoppers free shipping on a wide range of products. Their annual fees are all less than the $99 annual price tag for Amazon Prime.

ShopRunner pounced on the price increase. The company, which guarantees its members free two-day shipping on merchandise from more than 85 online retailers, began offering Amazon Prime customers free membership for a year. ShopRunner usually charges $79 a year. American Express cardholders can also get the service for free. That’s because the credit card company is one of ShopRunner’s financial backers.

ShopRunner’s retail partners are diverse enough that it could be a substitute for Amazon Prime. ShopRunner members can get free shipping when they buy toys online from Toys R Us, cosmetics from Drugstore.com, vitamins from GNC, or clothing from Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and American Eagle Outfitters. If an item qualifies for free shipping through ShopRunner, members sign into their accounts before checking out and the shipping costs disappear.

The promotion for Amazon Prime members is only for a limited time, but there’s no end date yet, said Fiona Dias, ShopRunner’s chief strategy officer.

At Overstock.com, members of its Club O program are charged $19.95 a year to get free shipping on everything from TVs to blenders to shampoos. But unlike Prime and ShopRunner, Club O doesn’t guarantee how fast products will arrive. However, there are other benefits. Members get 5 percent back on every order, which they can use to spend on future Overstock purchases.

Newegg, which sells computer parts, tablets, clothing and cosmetics, launched its free shipping program in February. Newegg Premier charges $49.99 a year for free shipping within three-days on some of the items it sells.

If you make several purchases of one particular type of item, be sure to look into what specialized retailers offer. For instance, book lovers can turn to Barnes & Noble. The bookseller charges $25 a year for its program, which gives its members free, fast shipping for items bought online. Members also get discounts in stores.


story continues below
story continues below

Of course, if you’re not shopping online frequently enough, the membership fees can be a waste of money. If your purchases tend to be inexpensive, another way to score free shipping is to order enough items to qualify for it. At Amazon, you’ll need to buy $35 worth of stuff. The minimum is $50 at Walmart.com and $25 at BarnesandNoble.com. At Target.com, customers who have the retailer’s RedCard debit or credit cards get free shipping and 5 percent off their orders.

Still, paying for free shipping memberships is a good deal for heavy shoppers.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.