Shopping online has its benefits, including convenience, quick price comparisons, detailed reviews, and online coupons. Unfortunately, many online shopping experiences go sour when consumers abandon their virtual shopping cart after seeing the accrued shipping charges. Shipping charges can add up quickly, especially on large and bulky items. Fortunately, there are simple strategies to increase your odds of not having to pay for shipping. Consider these four:
Quick search. Before finalizing your online purchase, open a separate browser window, go to your favorite search engine, and type in the store’s name next to “free shipping coupon.” You’ll quickly be inundated with coupon sites that scour the web for free shipping offers. Find a site you like, bookmark it, and routinely check it when shopping online. This strategy eats up little of your time, but it can be a big money-saver.
Sign up for retailer newsletters. Almost every online retailer has a free e-mail newsletter. They use these emails to stay in communication with shoppers and build brand loyalty. Part of the retailer’s strategy is to offer exclusive coupons and discounts to subscribers, such as free shipping coupons. If you don’t want to have to constantly wade through emails, create a separate email account for these newsletters . When you are ready to shop online, check your newsletters for the most current offers.
Utilize Facebook and Twitter. Research by Rather-Be-Shopping.com shows 55 percent of online retailers use their Facebook page and Twitter feed to offer free shipping coupons. For example, LandsEnd.com posts a free shipping coupon on their Facebook page every week. Kohl’s is also known for regularly using their Twitter account to pass along free shipping offers.
Combine small orders. Many online retailers offer everyday free shipping but require a minimum order size of typically $50 or $100. Instead of missing out on free shipping if your order is, say, only $44, wait and complete your shopping when your needs exceed the spending threshold. For example, instead of making three small purchases at a particular retailer in one month, be patient and make one larger purchase when your order total qualifies you for free shipping.
The takeaway from these strategies is to take the time to find and use what discounts retailers offer when shopping online. The time needed to a find a free shipping coupon—in relation to the possible savings—is fairly insignificant. If you develop the habit of looking for free shipping when you shop online, those small savings will add up over time.
Kyle James operates an online business called Rather-Be-Shopping.com, which lists online coupon codes to over 900 retailers. Popular offers include Kohl’s and Lands’ End free shipping coupons, which are updated daily and hand-tested.