More free shipping from Amazon

May 9, 2013 03:24 PM

Amazon Prime gained an apparent clone this week.

Amazon-owned Quidsi Inc. launched its own shipping program that enables customers to receive two-day deliveries. For now consumers can join the program for free, but it will eventually charge an annual fee that remains undisclosed. Inc., which has retained its king-of-the-hill status in the brand new Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, sells Prime annual memberships for $79. In return, customers receive two-day shipping on all orders and access to tens of thousands of streamed TV shows and films. Those consumers spend, on average, 5.6% more than do other Amazon shoppers, according to one report. And Amazon is busy creating more entertainment sweeteners to draw consumers to the 7-year-old program and keep them there.

Quidsi declines to spill too many details about the Familyhood Plus program, which a spokeswoman says is in “pilot mode.”

The program applies to shopping across each of the company’s 10 e-commerce sites, which include (baby products), (pet supplies) and the newest addition, (children’s clothes and shoes). Consumers can sign up for a free three-month trial at Quidsi sites by entering a company-provided code at checkout.

“We will send you special insider deals every week,” Quidsi promises on its sites. The company was promoting the service via a link in the upper right corner of its sites today. Consumers need to make no minimum purchase to receive the free two-day shipping under Familyhood Plus. Even shoppers who don’t participate in the program now get free two-day shipping for orders of at least $35; the threshold used to be $49.

Quidsi operates three fulfillment centers, one each in Nevada, Kansas and Pennsylvania, according to its web site. It was unclear if the Quidsi program would make use of any fulfillment centers operated by Amazon. Amazon operates 46 warehouses in the United States, according to Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps e-retailers sell on Amazon and other marketplaces. He says Amazon is building more, and will have 54 distribution centers operating in the U.S. by the 2013 holiday season.

Amazon bought Quidsi in 2011.




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