Amazon is scaling back its add-on programme to keep you shopping online

Amazon has ripped the ‘Add-on item’ sign off some of its cheapest products, so buyers can get can next day delivery without hitting that pesky £20 minimum.

Amazon has quietly been taking items out of its add-on programme and selling them to Prime members at incredibly low prices. The change was first spotted by Recode a little over a week ago, who speculates that the move could add to complaints that Amazon is engaging in anticompetitive behaviour.

‘Add-on items’ is Amazon’s way of allowing you to buy super cheap products that are too small to justify shipping on their own. With Add-on items, users are forced to hit a £20 minimum spend before they can purchase an item. This means these items are generally only worth your cash if you tack them onto a more expensive product you also want to buy, otherwise, you could see yourself running up a bill of items you don’t really need just to get a pack of sticky notes at a slight discount.

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Amazon has begun to tackle this issue by reducing the number of items in the Add-on programme.

“We do have an Add-on program globally”, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky explained in a phone call with CNET. “What I would say is we’ve been revisiting which products we put in that program, and in the US over the last six months or so we’ve reduced the number of ASINs that are in the Add-on program”.

ASINs – or Amazon Standard Identification Numbers – are numbers given to every product sold on the online marketplace.

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While this might sound great to loyal Amazon followers and Prime users alike, whose first instinct it is to check the website for any odd purchase they might need, it certainly isn’t good news for everyone.

Having Amazon willing to ship any small, low priced item overnight with no minimum spend is bound to step on the toes of small local businesses and popular convenience chains, both of which are usually the first port of call for shoppers searching for a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of shampoo on a budget.

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