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New Marketing Gimmick – Free Shipping Day

free-shipping-dayBlack Friday, Cyber Monday, behold the new creation of Retail America - Free Shipping Day! Considering my sad experience with these fake “holidays” I tend to think sceptically of all the new tricks the corporate marketing geniuses throw at me. Let’s dig into this latest creation a little bit more.

The idea to start Free Shipping Day came to Luke Knowles, the founder of FreeShipping.org, on December 5 of last year. FreeShippingDay.com launched on December 8, 2008 with 25 participating merchants. The list would then grow to 250+ members by December 17 as the media picked up the story. The site attracted over 250K visitors last year according to this article.

In the concept, the 700+ merchants participating in this year’s Free Shipping Day have to guarantee delivery by Christmas however the free shipping itself doesn’t have to be unconditional. Naturally you will find a lot of offers with strings attached (like minimum purchase required) and unfortunately the website is not clear on what exactly you get.

Free shipping is offered year around!

I just ran a couple of reports for free shipping deals submitted on Buxr and it turns out that almost 60% of all deals in 2009 had zero shipping fee. So you don’t really have to wait till the end of the year, free shipping is offered routinely by merchants like Buy.com, Newegg, Dell and Mertiline. Here are some 2009 stats to prove my point. You can see that the number for Walmart is a bit on the low end however you should consider that most their products qualify for “free ship to store” or the subsidized $0.97 shipping to home.

Total Deals Free Shipping
Deals
Free Shipping
Deals (%)
All Merchants 16471 9638 58.51%
Amazon 1298 736 56.70%
Buy.com 2056 1967 95.67%
Dell 675 579 85.78%
Frys.com 266 106 39.85%
JR.com 170 131 77.06%
Meritline 600 594 99.00%
Newegg 1448 1317 90.95%
Staples 243 148 60.91%
Walmart 461 106 22.99%
Zipzoomfly 130 128 98.46%

So what is Free Shipping Day?

In my view it is yet another marketing trick to make you whip out your wallet and buy more stuff. Does the website offer any useful information? As I mentioned before many of these offers come with minimum requirements and there is no way to see what you really get ahead of time. In addition, many merchants will do guaranteed delivery after tomorrow. These two things in essence render Free Shipping Day useless. Instead, I suggest you look at this list of shipping deadlines and some practical tips on what to buy for a holiday gift if you are a procrastinator.

Related: Free Shipping Day: What’s the Deal? at Time.com


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