Target slashes its free online shipping minimum – now lowest among competitors


Online shopping lovers, your perks keep expanding.

Target announced Monday it slashed its free shipping minimum in half. The Minneapolis-based retailer will now deliver online purchases of $25 for free, down from $50.

That's actually the lowest free shipping minimum among the retailer's two biggest competitors, Amazon (which is $35) and Wal-Mart ($50). (Scroll down for more comparisons.)

So what's with the change?

Target.com president, Jason Goldberger, said in a statement the new purchase threshold is because of an "enthusiastic response" to its free-shipping offer during the holidays.

"Now, whether guests are stocking up or doing fill-in shopping, we've enhanced our year-round shipping offer to be one of the best in all of retail," Goldberger said.

Competition is steep

Target has been competing against other retail giants for years, especially as online sales pick up and brick-and-mortar sales fall.

According to The Street, one positive shift for such big box companies is the strategy of using stores as distribution centers.

And in January of 2013, Target announced it would begin price-matching Amazon, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and a few other companies year-round, Mashable reported.

Financial services company, The Motley Fool, says traditional box stores need strong online sales to counteract weak in-store performance. Free shipping, price matching and subscription services are a few ways they lure consumers to their computers.

The Street reported e-commerce sales for U.S. retailers reached $75 billion in the third quarter of 2014 – up 4.9 percent from the previous three-month period.

Competition check

According to the National Retail Federation's latest list of Favorite Retailers, Amazon.com is on top. But to get your items shipped for free through Amazon, you'll have to spend at least $35. Mashable reports that Amazon raised it's minimum purchase for free delivery in 2013, amid pressure from investors.

Here are a few more minimum purchase requirements for free shipping:

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Target now offering card holders free online shipping

Until now, Target required online shoppers to spend $50 before qualifying for free shipping. The Minneapolis retailer is also allowing its debit cards to be used at Target.com.