Take advantage of Free Shipping Day to save on holiday gifts


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One of the best online shopping days of the season is quickly approaching, and you can score savings on the items you’re still looking to strike off your shopping list.

Free Shipping Day falls on Dec. 14 this year. Your Free Shipping Day orders are guaranteed by Christmas Eve, so you can ensure Santa’s delivery comes right on time. Kim Miller, chief marketing officer at Ebates, describes the day as “the last hurrah in terms of arrival for Christmas Eve in most cases.”

What to know about Free Shipping Day

Many popular retailers began advertising free shipping with guaranteed holiday delivery in November, which means the real deals this week are the discounts retailers pair with their free shipping offers. This gives them one final chance to move a significant amount of inventory via online sales before the holiday season ends.

Rather than saving your big gift purchases for Free Shipping Day, “this offer is better suited to buying relatively cheaper items to get them shipped for free and save shipping costs that usually range from $5-$10,” says Sanjeev Jain, founder and CEO of savings sites DealsofAmerica.com and TheBlackFriday.com.

While more expensive items are likely to meet already-established free shipping purchases minimums, Free Shipping Day is your best bet to save on those less expensive gifts that don’t meet free or reduced shipping order minimums.

“We expect most stores that offered free shipping (previously) to offer it again this year,” Jain says. Participating retailers range from department stores and online-only retailers to smaller merchants and big-box chains.

Make sure to figure out how you can score the free shipping deal in advance.

“Some retailers offer codes for free shipping and others just offer it, so you have to make sure when you’re shopping which retailers are operating which ways,” Miller says. “Generally speaking, the bigger retailers will just offer it; there’s not a code that you need to put. The smaller retailers generally have a promotion code that you use because they can’t afford to just give it away for everyone.”

You can check with your favorite retailer to see if they will be participating this year.

Here is a quick rundown of the deals that participating stores offered last year so you know what to expect.

Big-box retailers

You’re most likely to find free shipping deals and other discounts at these stores throughout December, so it may not be as important to wait until the rush of Free Shipping Day.

  • Target: Offering free two-day shipping on any purchase with no minimum through Dec. 22.
  • Best Buy: Offering free two-day shipping on any purchase with no minimum through Dec. 25.
  • Home Depot: Offering free two-day shipping on select items with no minimum and free shipping on all purchases over $45.
  • Walmart: Offering free two-day shipping on select orders with a $35 minimum purchase.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond: Offering free shipping on orders over $39.

Keep in mind that these free shipping offers are in addition to any other coupons or discounts the stores already offer, Jain says. According to TheBlackFriday.com, these big-box stores didn’t offer additional deals specifically for Free Shipping Day last year, but they do already have ongoing sales all month. For instance, Best Buy is celebrating their 20 Days of Doorbusters throughout December, and Bed, Bath & Beyond has multiple savings and gift card offers on their homepage.

Department and clothing stores

Like the big-box warehouses, department stores and clothing retailer websites often offer free or reduced shipping codes throughout the season. However, you’ll typically see purchase minimums required to unlock them.

On Free Shipping Day, these stores will be looking to take advantage of the final online shopping push by eliminating their order minimums and adding special discounts to entice last-minute shoppers.

Here are a few examples of offers from last year:

  • The Children’s Place offered 50 to 70 percent off site-wide.
  • Land’s End offered 50 percent off full-price styles.
  • Old Navy offered 25 to 35 percent off site-wide depending on order totals, among others.

These deals were in addition to free shipping and only available through Free Shipping Day.

Keep your eye on the items you want throughout the week ahead, though. “What we’ve seen is that the deals start a little bit early and then they kind of count down to Free Shipping Day,” Miller says. If your heart is set on a popular item, you don’t want to run the risk of it selling out online.

Small stores

While you’ll often find free shipping codes on bigger retail sites after reaching those purchases minimum thresholds, “a lot of really small retailers who never offer free shipping, at any threshold, participate on this day.,” Miller says.

If you’re looking for a more unique item from an online boutique or independent seller, this is a great time to try out their products and save a bit of money. In addition to the sites themselves, social media profiles are helpful for keeping up with the latest free shipping offers from individual sellers and small online-only shops.

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