Tag Archives: Shipping

Retail stores need more inventory to stay relevant

hiking boots 2Stores are working hard to prevent showrooming, where a customer goes into the store to touch and feel a product and then returns home to buy it cheaper online. Some retailers are price matching online prices hoping you’ll buy in the store rather than online. While it hurts local business owners when you buy online, I find it’s hard to avoid. Recently, two in-store experiences left me no choice but to purchase the products I wanted from online retailers.

My husband and I are taking a vacation to New Zealand this spring, and we need hiking boots. I’m not used to hiking boots so I wanted to try them out for fit and comfort. I walked into Dick’s Sporting Goods, and found just a few options. Of the three I liked, the store didn’t have any in my size. So, I took a picture and went home to search online.

hiking bootsI waited to purchase the boots until my husband was ready. A few weeks later, my husband and I went to the same sporting goods store in another town. This store had even fewer choices. There was only one boot that fit my needs, and once again it wasn’t in my size.

My husband tried two pairs, and again neither one was in his size.

Why bother driving to a store to try on shoes? They obviously don’t have a good selection of inventory. Dick’s Sporting Goods even offers free shipping and returns on its shoes. There is no incentive to go into the store anymore.

Buying shoes online is tricky if there’s not free shipping both ways. You have to weigh the costs and benefits just in case that shoe doesn’t fit properly. Many retailers are beginning to offer free return shipping including Amazon on certain Prime purchases that are fulfilled through Amazon. If you are looking for a specific shoe, it may not fit these specifications for free returns. I recently bought a pair of boots that did not have free return shipping, and it cost me $15 in postage to send them back. I still saved $55 buying through Amazon compared to other e-retailers, so sometimes it’s worth the cost of return shipping to buy online.

Courtesy Apple

Courtesy Apple

I had a similar experience with electronics. We needed two phones, and only one was in stock in the store. We went to the store thinking it would be easier than online since we had to port our phone numbers and open an account with a new cell phone carrier. It was another wasted trip. The store was no help, and couldn’t even place our order online for us.

We went home and ordered the items we needed. With this, I will admit the online systems was not perfect. The online ordering system told us we could only ship the smartphones to a nearby store (not the one we visited). I placed the order, and then got an email ten minutes later telling me the items were not available and we needed to call customer service. It took two more calls to customer service before they found the phones we needed. The option of home shipment wasn’t available previously, but the second customer service got it to work.

It took a few phone calls, but it still took less time than it would to drive to the store. Plus, I didn’t have to pay for gas.

I try to find reasons to shop in stores knowing local owners are dependent on my business. However, without adequate inventory and customer service it’s hard to argue with the ease of online shopping.

Share your experience by clicking comment below.

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Free shipping for the holiday

Courtesy: FedEx

Courtesy: FedEx

If your shopping isn’t complete, the shipping deadline for holiday items is approaching. As a last push to get you to shop, an estimated 2000 retailers will participate in Free Shipping Day on Monday, December 17.

The Free Shipping team put together a handy list of shipping deadlines by retailer. Some say standard shipping orders placed by December 20th will arrive in time for the holiday. The  majority list earlier dates including December 16th and 17th.

It’s amazing the differences in shipping when you order from different companies. Continue reading

Free Shipping Day is Friday

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, why not wait a little longer and save on shipping. Friday, December 16th, is Free Shipping Day. More than 2,000 merchants will offer free shipping and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.

During the holidays, whether you buy on the designated Free Shipping Day, or when it’s convenient for you — shipping is something you should try to avoid. If one store won’t offer it to you, go to one that will. I’ve bought some gifts valued at $30 and $75 this holiday, and haven’t paid for shipping yet.

I always google the company I’m using to make a purchase and the words “free shipping” and “promotional code” to find more ways to save money. There are often promotional codes that will take 10-20% off your order floating around on the Internet. There are entire websites, like Free Shipping, that give you the inside scoop on the promotional codes you need to enter at checkout for free shipping.

You can also earn money to do your holiday shopping online. Simply, sign up for an account through Ebates. When it’s time to shop, find the store through Ebates and if they participate in the cash back program you’ll earn 5-20% cash back on your order. I’m an infrequent shopper and this year I got a check for more than $50 since I earned a percentage back everytime I shopped.

Click here to see if your favorite retailer is participating in free shipping day

Free shipping becoming more common

Courtesy FedEx

More and more companies are offering free shipping which will make it easier to shop online this holiday season without searching for the promotional codes to earn the free shipping. Walmart is offering Home Free shipping for apparel and consumable orders of $45 or more.

Consumable products include beauty supplies, diapers, formula, clothing, household cleaning products, snacks, personal care, and vitamins. The orders ship in 3 to 5 days.

If the store you’re shopping doesn’t offer free shipping, see if it will offer free shipping to the store.

Also, check out the site Free Shipping to see if there is a promotional code for the store you are shopping. Shoe stores like Zappos and Shoebuy are offering free shipping both ways which is something else to consider especially if you aren’t sure you’re going to like a product.

If your favorite store doesn’t offer free shipping, maybe it will on the Free Shipping holiday in December. It’s one day a year where thousands of stores offer free shipping. You can see if your retailer is participating by clicking here. This year, the Free Shipping holiday will be held on Friday, December 16th.

Related links you may like:
Earn money to shop online
L.L. Bean offers free shipping

Free shipping year round

L.L. Bean Store at The Mall in Columbia

Image via Wikipedia

It doesn’t have to be Christmas or a special offer to get free shipping. L.L. Bean is offering free shipping year round. It previously only offered free shipping to its Visa card holders. Visa holders will not get free return shipping, too.

Shipping and handling used to cost $4.95-9.95 for 2-5 business day delivery depending on the price of your purchase at L.L. Bean.  They’re launching the free shipping campaign with a television advertising campaign, and offering free rides on certain Boston buses.

Zappos.com and Shoebuy.com also offers free shipping when you order and make a  return.

It’s always a good idea to find free shipping offers, by heading to FreeShipping.org.  While these offers have strings attached like a minimum purchase, it’s a way to save on shipping if you shop at another store.

Free shipping day, but you may still pay to ship

It’s the long-awaited free day of shipping. The problem is, hundreds of retailers attached strings to orders to qualify you for free shipping.  More than 1000 retailers gave consumers free shipping on all orders including American Eagle, L.L. Bean, and Nine West. However, hundreds of others like Brookstone, Macy’s, and Sears require a minimum purchase for customers to get free shipping. Some of those minimums are $99.

The website, Free Shipping Day, breaks down all the retailers and their free shipping policy.

If you’re shopping online today, find the store you need and figure out their free shipping policy. Then, go to Ebates or Fat Wallet and link to the business from there so you can earn cash back for your purchase.

Related links you may like:
Never pay full price again
Get free or reduced shipping all year

Free shipping day one week away but no need to wait

 The official Free Shipping day is one week away, but there’s no need to procrastinate. You can do your holiday shopping online today and still get free shipping from many retailers.

On Friday, December 17th, more than 1000 online retailers will offer free shipping for delivery by Christmas Eve. You can check out the retailers on the Free Shipping Day website.  The site claims more than 60% of participating retailers will offer free shipping on all orders.  To me, that means no minimum orders to qualify for free shipping. If you spend $5, you get free shipping.

If you don’t want to wait until the last minute, shop now. Many retailers are already offering free shipping deals. Most of these offers have minimum purchase orders or only certain items qualify. Most of the minimum purchases are between $30-50 which is easy to do with holiday gifts.  Click here to search for free shipping codes for your retailer.

Don’t forget my recurring tip for this year — use websites like FatWallet and Ebates to purchase your items. Before you go to Amazon.com or your retailer of choice, go to Ebates or FatWallet. Search for your retailer, click on the link, and you’ll earn cash back. Many of the retailers I’ve shopped this year are offering 10-20% cash back for the holidays. They’ve definitely sweetened the pot and that check I’ll get next year will make me feel even better about my holiday shopping.

Click here to read more about money saving sites for the holidays, and click here to read about sites that can save you money on all purchases all year round.