Amazon Small and Light packages get cheaper

Amazon hopes to attract more merchants from China with the new Small and Light shipping program.

Mike Segar/Reuters/File
A package from Amazon is seen in Manhattan.

Starting July 1, Amazon is cut some of its shipping fees for third-party merchants. That will likely mean free and faster shipping on a much larger selection from these smaller sellers.

More Small Items Will Ship for Free

Sellers will now be able to ship three flat 1-ounce packages for $1.61, which is 67% less than what they're paying now. Eligible items include makeup, cell phone accessories, and anything that is small, flat, and can fit in large envelopes. Anything measuring thicker than half an inch could incur higher fees.

Amazon launched a version of this discounted shipping program, called Amazon Small and Light, last year. It's meant to encourage the sale of popular small items from small merchants. Items from third-party merchants, and those not fulfilled by Amazon, are often not eligible for free 2-day shipping via Prime. However, Small and Light items are shipped free for customers (the merchants pay a small shipping fee), and this change hopefully means more merchants will participate, making more items available.

Amazon Will Fulfill More Chinese Orders

Amazon is hoping the new rates for the Small and Light program will be tempting to merchants in China, which could mean faster and cheaper delivery for American customers. The program boasts faster delivery times to US shoppers, supposedly taking around four to eight days, instead of weeks. By comparison, deliveries through ePacket (an agreement between the US Postal Service and China Post) typically take closer to two weeks. And if ePacket isn't used, it could be as much as eight weeks.

What's good news for US customers is good news for Amazon, too. The megaretailer would prefer Chinese merchants use Amazon warehouses and Amazon shipping — and pay for it.

The program boasts faster delivery times to US shoppers, supposedly taking around four to eight days, instead of weeks.

Sellers who want to switch to Amazon's Small and Light program will still have to ship their inventory to an Amazon warehouse. But with costs reported to be comparable to ePacket, and the potential for more sales because of a shorter shipping time, it's easy to understand why it could be a big draw for foreign sellers.

This article first appeared at

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to