This year, Free Shipping Day will be held on Friday, December 18th. Free Shipping Day is the last day that online retailers can offer free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve (December 24th). This year Christmas falls on a Friday so you definitely don’t want to leave your shopping for the last minute.
In years past the site Free Shipping Day has had more than 1,200 online retailers sign up to participate. They range from the very biggest like Amazon to those serving the smallest businesses on Etsy. (Of course, if you already have Amazon Prime or a member of Zappos.com’s VIP Club, everyday is free shipping day.)
If you decide to take advantage of Free Shipping Day this year, keep the following 6 tips in mind so you can make the most of this free shipping holiday.
1. Some Deals Are Activated from the Site Only
While plenty of stores may piggy back on Free Shipping Day, some deals may require link activation or coupon codes that you get right on the Free Shipping Day website.
2. Do Your Homework First
If you have favorite brands or websites where you like to shop–or even shopping apps–do your homework directly with these brands or sites so you can compare any free shipping deals that they are offering and how they compare to the ones on the free shipping day site.
3. Use Social Media
You know that following your favorite brands on social media is how you often hear about one-day deals or limited-quantity coupons. So in advance of the holiday season, definitely “Like” or “Follow” those brands on your favorite social media sites. At the same time add Free Shipping Day’s Facebook or Twitter profiles to your list to get the latest updates on offers and participating merchants.
4. Educate Yourself on Return Policies
It is hugely disappointing to spend time and energy getting great deals when you shop, only to have an unfair return policy ruin everything. But that’s your fault for not doing your due diligence and educating yourself on a store’s return policy before buying. Because Free Shipping Day is for a limited time only, you may want to shop the big retailers that let you return or exchange items at your local store. This will help you avoid paying expensive return shipping fees.
5. Get Cash Back Whenever Possible
I prefer to start all of my online shopping at Ebates.com, where I earn cash back on the purchases I was going to make anyway. I’m sure that around the same time as Free Shipping Day that Ebates will have competitive cash back offers. But you likely can’t double dip–go through Ebates and get the deals through the Free Shipping Day website. So compare and make sure you’re saving the most before clicking “Purchase.” Also, if cash back through Ebates isn’t possible, make sure you’re using a credit card that gives you cash back in your wallet–in the form of cold hard cash, free gift cards or some other financial incentive.
6. Ship Directly to the Recipient
Save the schlep and have your purchases shipping directly to the recipients. This is a great option if you’re traveling over the holidays. With the latest TSA rules, you can’t bring wrapped gifts with you anyway so you’ll have to wrap them on the other end when you get their. Have the stores ship (and gift wrap) them for you for the convenience.