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Photo: Julie Clopper /
Photo: Julie Clopper /

Amazon is now offering free shipping with no minimum order requirement on thousands of new items that are small and inexpensive.

The program, called “Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light,” is focused on products that weigh less than 8 ounces and cost less than $10. Customers, who order these goods, will not be required to hit a minimum threshold of $35 or be a member of Amazon Prime, to qualify for free shipping.

Thousands of new items are eligible for the program from hundreds of third-party sellers, according to an Amazon spokesperson. Bloomberg first reported details of the program.

Zen Pipe Cleaners on Amazon are now free to ship.
Zen Pipe Cleaners on Amazon are now free to ship.

Qualifying categories include make-up and mobile phone accessories. Specific examples include an iPhone arm band ($11.99), three bundles of pipe cleaners ($4.99) and a package of 14 pairs of ear plugs ($6.09).

Delivery will take about four to eight business days, and Amazon has designated a new fulfillment center in Florence, Kentucky to ship most of these items.

Amazon’s ability to constantly increase the number of items available for free delivery is a testament to how efficient the retail giant has become at fulfilling orders. Just last week, Amazon made a similar announcement when it rolled out free same-day delivery on more than 1 million items across a major swath of the U.S., covering 500 cities and towns.

photo credit: CarlMalamud via Flickr.
photo credit: CarlMalamud via Flickr.

Amazon has been quietly testing the small and light program over the past 13 weeks, and said it decided to continue it after noticing that items sold more quickly when they did not require a minimum order.

“Customers love that even if it’s a $5 item, shipping is free for everybody, Prime member or not,” said Neil Ackerman, a senior manager at Amazon, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Today’s announcement is in line with a move Amazon made three years ago, which enabled it to start selling thousands of new items online, including products that were previously uneconomical to ship because of their size, weight or low price.

The Add-on program, as it was called, allowed consumers to be able to add low-cost items to their baskets in order to qualify for free shipping. Previously, Amazon had said these products were not available on the site at all, or had to be purchased in bulk.

A spokesman said the Add-on program is unaffected by today’s announcement.

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