Before you start shopping, it is important to understand the merchant’s approach to domestic shipping charges. Most merchants have some way for you to get free domestic shipping if you check the details of their site before shopping.
Always Free (no conditions) – rarely happens
Based on Value:
Free with Loyalty Program – sign up for a free “rewards or elite shopper program” and automatically get free shipping on all your purchases.
Pay a Membership Fee – pay a yearly fee and always get free shipping. This is only cost-effective if you buy frequently from this merchant.
Affinity Credit Cards – many merchants offer their own “branded” credit cards these days which automatically offer free shipping when you use their credit card to purchase their products. Watch out these types of credit cards tend to have very high-interest rates so check the T&C carefully.
Free Shipping Promotions (no minimum purchase) – these tend to happen between big holiday sales and may only be for one day or limited time only. This is great when you only want to buy a few low priced items from a particular merchant who has a high minimum threshold for free shipping. This is where signing up for your favorite merchant’s email distribution list is very useful.
Leaving Product in Your Shopping Cart – we have experienced this, leaving something in your shopping cart and day later, you get an offer via email for free shipping.
Free Shipping Promo Codes – there are some websites that offer a list of all promo codes available (product and shipping discounts), however, our experience is they don’t always work so you waste time because you only find out when you check out the code does not work or is no longer valid. If you get a Promo Code directly from the merchant, it will work if it has not expired.
The most important thing to remember is shipping is never really free. The costs for “free” shipping are somehow factored into the selling price of what you are buying so check carefully when you are comparing prices across websites.
This is especially important when you see US websites that say they ship overseas for “free” (or free with a minimum purchase). If you check the prices of the goods for US delivery, they will almost certainly be lower than the price of the goods for international shipping. The actual price of the goods is not transparent because for international shipping the website will show the prices in your local currency.
Depending on how much you buy and what you are buying will determine which is the most cost-effective method to get what you want from the US and manage your domestic shipping costs.
Any questions, please feel free to reach out to us for help or advise