Free shipping has become a far more common occurrence in the realm of online shopping over the past couple of years. What was once an exciting perk has become expected of online stores, especially the larger ones. With Christmas speeding towards us, people are not only rushing to finish their Christmas shopping, but to also make sure that they are done before free shipping deadlines cut them off and they will pay the shockingly high prices for express delivery. Well, Amazon has heard your cries and has extended its cut off date to make sure you get those DVD sets in time for the big day.
Amazon has moved its cut off date to use Super Saver Shipping through Dec. 17th. This applies to any customer placing an order for more than $25 worth of merchandise, and while it is available all year, this is of course when it gets used most often. Customers who pay $79 a year to be part of the Amazon Prime program, which gives you unlimited second day air shipping on orders of any amount, will have until Dec. 22nd to get their orders placed in time for Dec. 24th.
There has been no explanation as to why Amazon has extended its deadline, but suspicion is running towards Walmart offering free shipping this year on numerous items with no minimum purchase.
While all of this is nice, I discovered several small online stores I have frequented over the years have been closing up shop as of late. While I can’t specifically tie this to the shipping wars we’ve seen going on, I do have to wonder if that isn’t a contributing factor. Consumers have come to expect free shipping, and with rising shipping costs coming out once a year, it is impossible for a low volume business to compete with the bigger online entities.
Online stores were once seen as the saving grace for struggling small businesses that were being gobbled up by Walmart and other big box stores, but it would appear a whole new headache may be following them into the virtual world.
What say you? Does free shipping help you decide where to shop online?