Best Buy said Tuesday that for the second year in a row, it’s suspending its $35 minimum order requirement for free shipping on web purchases from now through Christmas Eve.
The electronics retailer is eliminating shipping costs in an effort to "remove barriers for customers who want to shop with us," spokesman Jeff Shelman told CNBC.
Shipping costs are consistently cited by holiday shoppers as an annoyance that sends them to stores or to retailers offering free shipping.
Amid the frenzy for same-day delivery (for the most part, an expensive option largely limited to big cities), it can be difficult to remember that shoppers prefer free or low-cost shipping at slower speeds. That’s especially true at the holidays, when consumers must stretch their budgets to purchase gifts and host parties.
Women in particular prefer free shipping options, more than men do (35% vs. 26%), according to a recent report from coupon site RetailMeNot.
Best Buy was among the first to conquer ship-from-store fulfillment, which the company has said has helped to cut costs and speed up deliveries. And while the electronics retailer is out early with both its holiday shipping policy (and its holiday top tech list), more retailers are expected to come out with their own free shipping offers in order to beat the cacophony of promotions that pile up in the weeks head to Thanksgiving. Deal site Black Friday Ads last week published a rumor that Target would repeat its holiday free shipping and free returns policy again this year, though Target has declined to comment.
One outlier last year was Wal-Mart, which maintained its $50 order minimum for free shipping even at the holidays, which observers said led to lackluster online sales for the season. That could change, considering not just those results, but also the retail giant’s acquisition of e-commerce upstart Jet.com, which has a free shipping minimum of just $35 though it didn’t sponsor free shipping deal at the holidays last year, either.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2016 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page for more stories.