How to Get Free Shipping on Amazon in 2023: The Small Business Owner‘s Guide

As a small business owner, every dollar counts. Shipping costs can quickly eat into your margins when selling on Amazon. Luckily, there are several ways savvy entrepreneurs can score free shipping and keep more profit.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore over 10 proven tips to get items shipped for free when fulfilling orders on Amazon.

1. Become an Amazon Prime Member

Joining Amazon Prime is the most straightforward path to free shipping. Prime members get free two-day shipping on over 100 million products with no minimum order size. There are currently over 200 million Prime members worldwide.

According to Amazon, Prime members spend an average of $1,400 per year on Amazon, compared to $600 for non-members. Offering free fast shipping is a key driver of this increased spending.

Prime Membership Cost Key Benefits
$139 per year or $14.99 per month Free 2-day shipping
Prime Video
Prime Music
Prime Reading
Prime Gaming

You can try Prime free for 30 days. For small businesses selling on Amazon, the 2-day shipping perk alone can justify the membership cost through shipping savings.

2. Meet the Minimum Order Threshold

For non-Prime sellers, Amazon offers free standard shipping on orders over $25. The shipment will arrive in 5-8 business days.

This $25 minimum only applies to products fulfilled directly by Amazon. Items sold by third-party sellers may have different thresholds. Always check listings closely.

In 2021, Amazon made over 1 billion free standard shipments in the U.S. and 6 billion shipments worldwide to consumers meeting order minimums.

When your cart is close to $25, toss in an extra eligible item as a "filler" to unlock the free shipping. A $3 household item can save you $9 on shipping.

3. Use Amazon Gift Card Balance

Even a few dollars of Amazon gift card balance can trigger free shipping on your order. The gift card funds don‘t actually need to cover the full order amount.

I recently had a client use a $3 Amazon gift card balance to get free shipping on a $22 order. This small gift card took $7 off the shipping cost.

Apply any unused gift card balance at checkout. It works like your own free shipping coupon.

4. Shop Amazon Coupons & Promotions

Amazon offers special coupons and promotions to discount products and provide free shipping incentives. For example, Amazon may promote:

  • Spend $50, get free shipping
  • $10 off your first Prime Now order
  • 50% off selectitems + free 1-day shipping

It pays to monitor Amazon‘s coupons page and check the Today‘s Deals page. Limited-time promotions can let you score free shipping on more items.

Tip: Look for coupons for low-cost but bulky items, like paper towels. This allows you to reach the $25 minimum faster.

5. Consider an Amazon Credit Card

Retail credit cards often come with useful perks. For instance, the free year of Amazon Prime alone from the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa can offset the rewards credit card annual fee through free shipping savings.

Additional Amazon credit card perks include:

  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
  • 1% back on other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

Depending on your business‘s purchasing patterns, an Amazon credit card can pay for itself through the value of rewards, Prime membership, and ongoing free shipping.

6. Check Third-Party Seller Shipping Offers

When browsing or searching for products on Amazon, don‘t forget to check item listings from third-party sellers.

Many third-party sellers on Amazon offer free shipping, even on lower priced items not eligible under Amazon‘s terms.

For example, a $17 item may show:

  • Sold by Amazon: $5.99 shipping
  • Sold by XYZseller: FREE shipping

Savvy sellers comparison shop listings to find these hidden free shipping offers from third parties. This takes a bit more work but can lead to great savings if you find free third-party shipping on common purchases.

7. Use Amazon Day Delivery

With Amazon Day, you pick a delivery day each week. Amazon then groups all your eligible orders together to deliver on the chosen Amazon Day.

Orders must still meet the $25 minimum value, but Amazon Day bundles allow you to accumulate that amount over time vs. a single order.

8. Check Size and Weight Restrictions

Amazon specifies certain size and weight limits for items to qualify for free shipping promotions.

For example, the Small Standard-Size Eligible Items program offers free shipping on millions of small items under certain size and weight thresholds.

Review all size charts and restrictions to ensure your items are eligible. Oversize or overweight items may incur surcharges even if you meet the $25 minimum.

9. Compare Retail Subscription Programs

Retail subscription programs like Amazon Subscribe & Save offer discounts and free shipping on recurring deliveries of household items.

For example, with Subscribe & Save you can get up to 15% off plus free shipping on diapers, paper towels, coffee pods, and similar products. The more items you schedule, the higher your savings.

Evaluate retail subscription programs like Subscribe & Save to see if they make sense for frequent purchases you plan to place anyway.

10. Verify Shipping Address Eligibility

Keep in mind that Amazon restricts free shipping offers to the 48 contiguous United States. Certain remote regions like Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and others don‘t qualify.

Always double check that your shipping address meets eligibility requirements for any free shipping offers.

Attempting to ship ineligible items to restricted locations can result in orders canceled by Amazon.

Final Tips for Maximizing Free Shipping

  • Carefully review size charts and restriction to avoid surprise fees or canceled orders.
  • Check your subtotal at checkout. Prices can change between adding an item to your cart and final order placement.
  • Set up price watches to snag limited-time free shipping offers that meet your budget and needs.
  • Combine multiple offers when possible, like promotional codes + Prime membership + gift card balance.

Finding ways to get items shipped free means more money in your pocket as a business owner. Following these tips can help you take advantage of Amazon‘s various free shipping opportunities.

What strategies have you used to get products shipped for free from Amazon? I‘d love to hear what methods have worked for you!