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Online Stores Wage Shipping Fees War This Holiday Season

by Sean P. Aune | November 12, 2010November 12, 2010 12:00 pm PST

One of the most annoying things when you are engaging in a bit on online shopping is finding what appears to be a great bargain, and then in checkout you find that the shipping fees are all but going to erase the money you just “saved”.

A few years ago Amazon introduced Super Saver Shipping which allows most orders over $25 to ship for free, and Amazon Prime which allows you to pay $79 a year for unlimited two day shipping.  Ever since those two services were introduced, other online stores have been trying to find ways to compete.  Well, Walmart, the largest brick and mortar retailer in the world, has stepped up this holiday season and is offering free shipping on over 60,000 items in its online store with no fees or ordering plateaus to hit. This offer runs through Dec. 20th.

walmart300Walmart has already had free shipping before, called “Site to Store, but that required that customers go to their closest store to pick up the items. Under this new deal consumers will see items arrive at their homes within three to five days of placing their order.

According to research conducted by comScore, 55 percent of consumers are likely to abandon an online order due to shipping costs, so this has become a major factor for retailers to consider as we enter the all important holiday shopping season.

To further battle the Amazon Juggernaut, a new service launched recently called ShopRunner. This new company follows the design of the Amazon Prime service, but with the key difference that paying the annual fee of $79 allows you to use the shipping option with multiple online stores such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Toys R’ Us and more.

With the economy in a slump, consumers are going to be watching every penny with a closer eye than ever before.  A shipping fee that customers think is even slightly too high could end up costing a retailer a total sale, so don’t be surprised if we see and hear even more offers going on through out the coming weeks leading up to Christmas.

What say you?  Do shipping fees influence your online purchasing decisions?

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...