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Avoid the shopping ‘maul,’ Dec 17 is Free Shipping Day

December 12, 2012 Areawide, Business No Comments

On Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 more than 1,000 merchants will offer free shipping deals and other discounts with many promising delivery by Christmas Eve, an attractive alternative to shopping in crowded malls.

On Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 more than 1,000 merchants will offer free shipping deals and other discounts with many promising delivery by Christmas Eve.

Free Shipping Day is a marketing idea spawned by the growth of online shopping and the convenience that comes with avoiding traffic and shopping mall fatigue.

The added enticement of free shipping – which can offer savings from $10 to hundreds of dollars depending on the item or volume of purchases – makes online bargain shopping even more attractive.

And when your purchases can be shipped directly to the gift recipient, that means not struggling with wrapping, and not shelling out additional time and money at the post office.

The only drawback is that not all businesses are involved, particularly local shops. At a time when an increasing number of consumers are consciously trying to support small, locally-owned businesses, Free Shipping Day isn’t as much of a boon.

Some of the retailers participating in Free Shipping Day 2012 are currently listed on the official website, at http://www.freeshippingday.com Others won’t be revealed until a minute after midnight, the morning of Dec. 17 (EST).

(All I can say about this video – shopping behavior on Black Friday – is, “Are you kidding me?”)

According to the Web site, “While most participating stores will offer free shipping on all orders, and some will even have other discounts on top of the free shipping, not all merchants will have free shipping on everything. Some stores may have a free shipping offer that requires a minimum purchase or only applies to certain items.”

However, to participate in Free Shipping Day a merchant must include some kind of free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve (within the contiguous United States).

Some Free Shipping Day statistics

Free Shipping Day 2011 generated the most online sales of any Friday in U.S. history. (source: comScore)

Free Shipping Day 2011 was mentioned in more than 350 media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio, ABC’s Good Morning America, Consumer Reports, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, FOX News and many more.

More than 2,600 merchants participated in Free Shipping Day 2011, which was a 1,000 percent increase over the first-ever Free Shipping Day in 2008.

Free Shipping Day 2011 was one of only 7 shopping days to break the $1 billion mark for spending. (source: comScore)

In 2011, the lowest rate for “shopping cart abandonment” occurred on Free Shipping Day. (source: Listrak)

And in 2010, that year’s Free Shipping Day was the third-heaviest online shopping event in (Internet) history, eclipsing Black Friday’s Internet sales by $300 million (source: comScore)

Also in 2010, online sales were 61-percent higher than the previous year. (source: comScore)

Tips on safe(r) online shopping

These tips, from Connecticut State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin are good all times of the year, not just during the holidays.

“This time of year, many of us spend more time browsing the Internet to find the perfect gift,” said Commissioner Pitkin.

“Even though online shopping has become more secure, we must still remain cautious whenever we provide our personal financial information. By sticking with reputable stores and being a little savvy, we can avoid becoming victims of online scammers.”

  • Always keep records of your online transactions.
  • Always review your monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases.
  • High-tech scammers use graphics or logos that appear to be the real thing, so be certain the Web sites you visit are genuine.
  • Be suspicious of Web sites that don’t clearly provide a physical address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Be sure that the Web site supports secure transactions. Your browser should clearly indicate when you link to a secure location. Look for a URL that begins with https:// and a browser icon displaying either an unbroken key or a closed padlock. (If you are uncertain if a site is secure, contact the merchant instead via phone, fax or mail to complete your holiday purchases.)

“If a website is not secure, any personal information is vulnerable and sadly, there are people out there whose ultimate objective is to steal personal financial information from shoppers and use the information to commit fraud,” Commissioner Pitkin said.

“Criminals may use your credit card number to go on a shopping spree of their own,” he said.

Posted December 12, 2012

Related link: Free Shipping Day on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FreeShippingDay

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