Online shopping is pretty awesome - you can do it in your PJs, you don't have to wait in line and there are no perky sales clerks trying to get you to sign up for a store credit card. Many shoppers agree the biggest downside is paying for shipping. But on December 17, more than 1,000 online retailers will offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. It's called Free Shipping Day. But is it really a good deal?
Beware of Minimum Requirements Free shipping isn't always free. Often participating retailers require hefty minimum purchases in order to score the "deal." Beware of free shipping offers that require you to spend more than you budgeted for.
Consider Smaller Retailers
Smaller retailers including Etsy artists often take part in Free Shipping Day. They may not offer deep discounts anyway so buying from these online independents when shipping charges are waived makes sense.
Look for Merchants with a Generous Past
The exact details of each retailers' Free Shipping Day offer won't be revealed until December 17th, but some merchants have been more generous than others in the past. For instance, Gap offered free shipping plus 20 percent off your entire order and Barney's New York gave customers free shipping as well as free gift wrapping on all orders.
Combining Coupon Codes
Many retailers don't let you combine offers. So you're faced with the dilemma of whether to use the free shipping code or a code that offers a percentage discount. Do your research and make sure you're choosing the option that makes the most sense for your pocketbook.
Discounts May be Lower
Some vendors may actually offer fewer discounts to help counter the loss they experience having to cover shipping costs. That means you may be better off shopping a day or two before Free Shipping Day. You could end up paying less even with the cost of shipping. But that also means less time to procrastinate.
By Alison Storm
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