How to Get Free Shipping on Cyber Monday (and the Rest of the Season)

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Delivery free shippingToday is Cyber Monday, and as on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, there will be tons of great deals to be found online. Just remember that when you get to the checkout page you're likely to be greeted by a shipping fee, especially if you want your goods delivered fast.

Online retailers know that their customers hate shipping costs -- in fact, one study by Forrester Research found that shipping charges are the No. 1 reason customers abandon their online shopping carts before finalizing a purchase. As such, many e-commerce sites offer ways to get your wares shipped for free, usually by hitting some kind of minimum purchase threshold.

Sometimes, though, that free-shipping threshold might be too high. While Amazon, for instance, sets a reasonable $25 threshold for its Super Saver-eligible goods, the Gap sites (Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic) require $50 in purchases before they'll ship for free. Higher-end retailers like Coach set the cutoff as high as $150. And even if you do get free shipping, it usually applies to a ground-shipping option that could take several extra days.

So if you intend to do a lot of online gift shopping this holiday season and you like your shipping fast and free, you might want to look into ShopRunner and Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime is well-known to frequent online shoppers: In addition to providing access to its library of streaming video, it offers free two-day shipping on millions of items and overnight shipping for $3.99. ShopRunner, meanwhile, is essentially Amazon Prime for the rest of the Internet: The subscription service offers free two-day shipping for 70 online retailers (and counting), including ToysRUs.com and NewEgg.com. And while it doesn't offer a cheap overnight shipping option, it does one-up Prime with free returns.

Prime and ShopRunner both cost $79 for the year, but if you only intend to use them for the holiday season, you can sign on for one-month deals that will take you right through Christmas. ShopRunner's monthly option runs $8.95 a month, and as we reported recently, Amazon is currently experimenting with a monthly version of Prime that costs $7.99 a month. Just note that the monthly Prime subscription is still in its testing phase, so it won't show up as an option for all users.

Finally, we should point out that if you've never used Amazon Prime or ShopRunner before, both services offer a 30-day free trial. If you find yourself liking either service, you can let it automatically roll over into a paid subscription at the end of the trial period. But if you don't think you'll be shopping heavily enough during 2013 to justify the subscription fee, you take advantage of free two-day shipping throughout the holiday season without paying a dime in subscription fees, then simply cancel before the end of the trial period.

Between Prime and Shoprunner you should have no problem getting free shipping on whatever you're looking to buy: Amazon's product selection is legendary, and ShopRunner has deals with a host of major toy, electronics and apparel merchants.

But if the dream gift you seek can't be found on either site, there are other tricks to getting free shipping for the holidays. You can hunt around for site-specific free shipping codes at sites like Dealio or RetailMeNot, or simply experiment with codes like "FREESHIP" at checkout and see what happens. You can also make a point of shopping on special occasions when free shipping is easier to come by. Cyber Monday is one such day: We're seeing a lot of retailers lowering or outright eliminating their free-shipping thresholds today. That will happen on an even grander scale on Free Shipping Day, which falls this year on Dec. 17 -- just in time for last-minute Christmas delivery.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.


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pwalker123456

I really like the idea to save some money on shipping, especially because I currently live in Australia which not many US shops offer free shipping to. Besides Amazon, I discovered another website offering free international delivery: www.freeworldwideshipping.com. They seem to have many shopping categories to pick from and look reliable to me.

February 26 2013 at 5:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen

There's a fast way to get free shipping coupons without even needing to search for them. A new browser add-on from BeFrugal.com offers coupon codes at 3,000+ online stores for free shipping and more (like a percentage off your total bill) using a drop down menu of choices for promo codes during the online checkout stage.

November 28 2012 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charpist5

I purchase many, many household and office supplies on amazon.com and have Prime. I am quite sure I have gotten the $79 back 10 or 20 times this pat year. For those who are always needing something...Prime is great.

November 26 2012 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
freethedems2012

Evan thinks that Cyber Monday is when only robots can shop.

November 26 2012 at 3:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jpal1974

Shoprunner is a waste of money. Only selected items at Toys R Us are eligible for the free shipping. Good thing I only paid $1 for a year's membership. Will not renew.

November 26 2012 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
donovansdanes

So, what's going on with paying for items to be shipped via UPS, and UPS ends up having the final delivery processed and delivered by the post office mail carrier.

This has happend several times. I pay the UPS shipping charges, the package is assigned a UPS tracking number. Then UPS delivers the package to my local post office. Tracking information states "tendered to local post office" and my mail carrier ends up making the final delivery.

UPS now has a $3.00 surcharge for home deliveries. No doubt I've paid that surcharge when I paid the delivery fee. Yet, the post office receives my package from UPS and ends up making the final delivery of the package along with my normal mail delivery.

November 26 2012 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply