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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon "is cutting fees to third-party sellers of 'small and light' products and offering free shipping with no minimum order to shoppers as the company tries to expand sales of smaller goods on its website."

The goal, quite simply, is to continue to build Amazon's identity as the first, best option for consumers of almost any product category and create a path of least resistance between buyers and sellers.

The Journal writes that "The goal is to entice online demand for products like $6 packs of earplugs by taking shipping fees out of the equation for shoppers. Previously, Amazon customers would have to purchase a minimum of $35 in goods to get free shipping, or pay $99 a year to enroll in Amazon Prime, the company’s membership program. Third-party sellers, meanwhile, would pay fees starting at $1.90 per unit to use Amazon’s fulfillment services, compared with $2.50 under Amazon’s catchall pricing for products of all sizes. It is also cheaper than what it costs sellers to pack and ship on their own, the company said."

The story goes on: "All 'small and light' orders, as Amazon calls them, will be shipped from a new fulfillment center in Florence, Ky., dedicated to products no heavier than 8 ounces. Packages must remain within precise dimensions and prices for products generally should be under $10 ... The products will ship free for delivery in four to eight days whether or not customers have free shipping privileges through Amazon Prime membership."
KC's View:
One of the calculations here seems to be that Amazon has enough economies of scale to be able to offer shipment of products that other retailers cannot ... or wouldn't even consider.

The "path of least resistance" certainly seems to be getting wider. And longer. And maybe even a little more crowded.