Monday, December 17, has been officially designated as Free Shipping Day in the world of e-retail. It’s a totally made-up, arguably irrelevant “special” event—but hey, who cares if it helps you snag a deal on last-minute holiday gifts?
The consensus among deal-tracking sites such as dealnews and Bargainist is that Free Shipping Day is unnecessary, and perhaps even something of a fraud. Many retailers have been offering free shipping throughout the holiday season, sometimes even through the entire calendar year. And when free shipping is widely available week after week, it seems silly to bother highlighting any specific day “Free Shipping Day.”
What’s more, retailers get to say that they’re participating in Free Shipping Day even when their “free shipping” offers come with typically onerous stipulations that are in effect for most of the year, such as the requirement that orders must meet a price threshold to qualify for free shipping. And if you’re paying more than you’d like to just so that you don’t have to pay for shipping, then “free” shipping doesn’t really seem so free anymore.
For example, there’s Gap, which has a 35% off sitewide special in effect (use code GAPGIVE), but which only includes free shipping if an annoying minimum purchase requirement is met—in this case, $50. Macy’s is another example, with “free shipping” available only for orders of at least $99. These promotions may be decent, but they obviously aren’t as good if the shopper had the option of truly free, no-strings-attached shipping as part of the deal.
The shoppers who best take advantage of Free Shipping Day are those who place orders that normally wouldn’t be delivered for free, but which will be shipped at no cost today because of a special promotion. Think small-ticket purchases—stocking stuffers, perhaps. Or, as the Bargainist post suggests, consider smaller retailers that might not otherwise include free shipping:
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.
The official FreeShippingDay.com site devotes one page to retailers with free shipping on all orders today, no minimum purchase required. These are the retailers that truly deserve to be recognized as Free Shipping Day participants. And some retailers are going over the top today, with special across-the-board discounts offered on top of promotions granting free shipping on all orders:
Coldwater Creek: The women’s apparel specialist is matching its Black Friday-Cyber Monday deal with 40% off sitewide (use code SNOWFLAKE) and free shipping on all orders placed on December 17, with purchases guaranteed to arrive by December 24.
Converse: 25% off sitewide and free ground shipping, no minimum purchase required.
Ebags: Get 30% off sitewide (some exclusions), plus free standard shipping on every order placed by 11 p.m. PST on December 17.
Eddie Bauer: Free shipping and 30% off everything on December 17 with use of the promo code GUMDROP.
J. Crew: Enter code WISHLIST for 30% off sitewide and free shipping, December 17 only.
Jos. A. Bank: This men’s retailer known for enormous markdowns keeps up its reputations with a buy one, get two free off everything special, plus an extra $25 off for every $125 spent—with free shipping on all orders too, of course. The sale is on December 17 and 18.
Land’s End: In addition to free shipping on all orders today (sale items included) with no minimum purchase requirement, there’s a promotion that most certainly has a minimum purchase requirement: $40 off if spending $100 or more (use code PEPPERMINT, pin 1217).
New York & Company: Get free shipping and an impressive 50% off on all merchandise, no coupon code required.
Sports Authority: 30% off your entire purchase (with a few exclusions) now through December 22, plus free standard shipping, no minimum purchase required, on December 17 only.
Toys R Us: Buy one, get one 50% off on a wide range of products, including Nerf Blasters, Hot Wheels Cars and Playsets, and Disney DVDs, plus free shipping on most orders.