Kip Tips


Free-Shipping Deals Await Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

Cameron Huddleston

More than 1,000 online retailers will be offering guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve for items purchased December 17.



Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Does that mean all the deals have, too? No, so take heart all you last-minute holiday shoppers.

Mark December 17 on your calendars because that's when more than 1,000 online retailers will be offering free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve as part of the third annual Free Shipping Day. More than half of them will provide free shipping on all orders, not just certain items or purchases above a certain dollar amount. "You won't find any other day when that many merchants offer free shipping on so many things," says Luke Knowles, creator of Free Shipping Day and founder of FreeShipping.org.

Plenty of big-name retailers -- such as Macy's, Nike, Barnes & Noble, Crate & Barrel and the Disney Store -- will be participating, along with hundreds of small merchants that sell unique items. Among the Free Shipping Day newcomers this year are Nine West, Merrell, Express, Home Decorators Collection and Neiman Marcus. The homepage of Freeshippingday.com lists all 1,190 participating merchants (with new ones signing up each day), so it's easy to find retailers you know and discover new ones.

Knowles said merchants that will be offering free shipping on all items will get better placement on the homepage December 17. And he says he's working with retailers to get them to also offer special discounts (in most cases, 20% off) on Free Shipping Day.

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Before jumping at a free-shipping deal, though, make sure you're getting the best price for an item. Use a price comparison site, such as Pronto.com or Amazon.com, to see whether another retailer is offering a similar item at a price that's low enough for you to come out ahead even without free shipping (if it isn't offered).

Amazon.com is offering free shipping on orders placed by December 17 if you buy $25 worth of items marked "eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping." If your order contains ineligible items, you'll have to pay shipping fees for those items. Orders will be delivered within five to eight business days, which means there is a chance your order might not arrive by December 25 (which falls on a Saturday) because some of the carriers Amazon uses do not deliver on weekends.

Walmart.com is giving customers until December 20 to get free shipping on nearly 60,000 items, including all electronics except iPods and iPads. And there is no minimum purchase requirement to qualify. However, items will be delivered within three to five business days after the order is processed, according to Walmart's corporate Web site. So if you order on December 20, you'll be cutting it close for Christmas Eve delivery.



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