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Tag Archive for 'christmas'

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

Christmas is over, time to buy a Christmas tree

Fake Christmas TreeI went to a few places over the weekend to check if any of the retailers are carrying Christmas overstock merchandise. Wal-Mart and Target already had nothing left. Home Depot, Menard’s and Lowe’s had very few select items on the shelves.

The best selection that I found was in Michaels and Sears. In fact I almost bought a very nice 7 foot Christmas tree in Michaels for $99 but decided to pass after my friend convinced me that buying an artificial Christmas tree is less environmentally unfriendly than buying real ones.

That said, an artificial tree is less dirt in the house and also some considerable savings. If you don’t have a store in close proximity, some of the trees I linked below are still available online. Many look very realistic but still far from the real deal, and if similarity is what you are looking for then I strongly encourage you to check them out alive at least once before buying

Christmas trees from Sears:

Note, these are deeply discounted prices, 4-5 times less than what you will pay in season, so if you ever considered a fake tree, now is the right time to buy one.

Photo courtesy of NessieNoodle at Flickr

Christmas shipping deadlines

Need that gift shipped by Christmas Eve this year? Unless the retailer has a store in your local area, today and tomorrow might be your only chance to order using standard (economy) shipping. Comes next week and express shipping becomes your only option.

Here are details on the stores I use most often. For more merchants and details go to shipping deadlines at DealNews or DealHack.

Standard Express
Amazon December 17 December 20
Best Buy December 20 December 20
Buy.com December 16 December 19
CircuitCity December 11 December 20
CompUSA December 11 December 19
NewEgg December 18 December 19
OfficeDepot December 21 December 21
Staples December 21 December 21
TigerDirect December 11 December 18

Do your holiday shopping early

Christmas is not far away and many myself including are busy shopping for Christmas gifts online. Michael from Dealhack has just tipped me on a list of Holiday Shipping Deadlines with data on over 60 popular merchants.

This year, Christmas falls on a Monday, so in determining the deadlines, we assumed delivery on Friday 12/22 (unless Saturday delivery is specified). As a result, the deadlines are earlier this year.

Scanning the list it looks like the deadline for Standard Delivery varies widely by retailer and ranges from 12/7 (for Dell Home) to 12/21 (for Office Max).

Besides to deadline information on different types of shipping the list also has such useful things as Customer Service phone number and APO/FPO military address shipping information for each merchant.

For full details go to Holiday Shipping Deadlines at Dealhack. Have a happy holiday shopping everyone and don’t miss that deadline! :-)

Get $150 after first purchase with Sony Card

Sony CardThis offer from Sony will make a great Christmas gift for my “budget-cautious-self”. I have already signed up for it two times in the past and will do it this time around. What is it? It is a credit card from Sony. You apply for it, make one purchase, and get a $150 bonus in a few weeks (the amount is credited directly to your new card). That is all. The last two promotions were for $100. It looks like Sony has sweetened the deal this time around.

There is no sign-up fee, no annual fee, and you don’t have to keep the card once you get and spend the $150 (although I should say it is not a bad cash back card overall — you get 1% back on regular purchases, 3% on all Sony products, and 5% on anything you spend at the Sony online store).

Offer expires March 31st, 2007. Your first purchase must be made by June 30, 2007. An added benefit until January 4, 2007 — get 10% back on your purchases at the Sony online store (instead of the usual 5%). Read more about this offer here.




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