This post originally appeared on MainStreet.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become synonymous with doorbusters, Dec. 17, coined Free Shipping Day, is gaining traction as the day to score deals on the other end of the online retail equation.
Free shipping has become mainstream, especially during the holiday season. In many cases, though, it comes with strings attached, such as minimum order thresholds (free shipping on orders over $50, for example) and slow delivery.
On Free Shipping Day, some 2,000 online retailers add a key point: guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
Expect also to see online retailers offer attractive free shipping deals, with lower order minimums and even discounts.
“Close to 85% of participating retailers will have free shipping on all orders, and you’ll see deals, including free shipping plus 30%,” says Luke Knowles, founder of Free Shipping Day.
Major retailers such as Kohl’s, Best Buy, Nordstrom and Zappos are among the nearly 2,000 participating outlets, along with some of the smaller mom-and-pop sites. Some wait until the day before Dec. 17 to join to prevent Monday’s sales from cannibalizing the previous week’s sales.
All retailers that have joined are listed on FreeShippingDay.com, where the stores can pay to have their listing toward the top of the page, essentially giving smaller retailers a chance to get noticed and serve new audiences. “While they’ll eat the cost of shipping, they will see customers returning throughout the year, which is where they’ll make money,” Knowles says.
Instead of submiting online orders this weekend, wait until Monday to score some bonus deals in addition to free shipping. Since you’re guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve, there’s no harm in waiting.
Despite scoring free shipping, be mindful of the store’s return policy. Even if a store sends you a free shipping label to return the item, the return shipping charge still may be deducted from your refund.
And as for keeping track of all of your online orders, if you have an iPhone, the Posted app lets you enter the tracking numbers for all your online orders, giving you a convenient way to check the status of orders in one place.