I’ve been hearing a lot of talk amongst my friends about the alleged “Free Shipping Day” coming up in December. As someone who has worked in online shopping for years, I am here to tell you that you are asking for trouble if you wait for “Free Shipping Day” to do your online holiday shopping.
First of all, many merchants do free shipping year round. Even more merchants will be running free shipping as their holiday promotions starting on Black Friday. At Sunshine Rewards alone we have hundreds of free shipping deals. And we only have about 700 merchants total that we work with. Take a look at the companies that are already offering free shipping of some kind. Which other ones could you be waiting for?
Second, check out the shipping schedules for most merchants. Free Shipping Day is supposed to be December 17. That’s just 8 days before Christmas, including a weekend. Most merchants will tell you that if you want to use standard shipping, you need to place your order before December 17 (especially if the order is personalized in any way).
Third, even assuming that the store you are wanting to order from will still be shipping Christmas gifts by the 17th, do you want to a) take the chance that the items you want will be sold out, or b) take the chance that UPS or Fed Ex will be even a day late in getting them to you and your gifts will not arrive by Christmas? Been there, done that. I’ve even done the “guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas” thing and ended up getting the gifts a day or two later. It just isn’t worth the risk.
Lastly, free shipping often comes with strings. A free shipping coupon won’t do you any good if it only applies to a minimum order and you won’t be placing that minimum order. You would have been better off with a percent or dollar off coupon that applied to your minimum purchase.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding holiday shopping and every year there’s something new added to it– Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, now Free Shipping Day. The bottom line is that there will be good deals from Thanksgiving through the end of the year and some deals that will be extra good because they are loss leaders or in limited supply. Do your homework and scope out coupon sites, cash back shopping sites, etc. rather than getting caught up in when everyone says you should be shopping. And don’t wait until the last minute unless you like taking risks with your gifts.