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Retailers guarantee delivery by Christmas on Free Shipping Day


Time is running out for holiday shoppers who plan to order items online — especially those who want to avoid higher shipping fees.

Although many retailers will be able to ship items right up until Christmas Eve — the rush delivery comes with a cost.

If you want to avoid those added fees, Friday may be your last chance. Known as “Free Shipping Day,” Friday marks one of last days of the year that many online retailers will guarantee delivery by Christmas with free standard shipping.

RELATED: As online shopping grows, package thefts are a risk

To mark the promotional holiday, more than 800 retailers will offer free shipping with no minimum purchase requirements, according to the website FreeShippingDay.com.

“Black Friday is over, but there is still time to get a great deal before Christmas,” said Phillip Dengler, a spokesman for the holiday shopping website BestBlackFriday.com, which also maintains a list of shipping deadlines. “Online shopping will offer some of the best discounts for the remainder of the holiday season, and it is crucial that shoppers are aware of the various holiday shipping deadlines.”

Free Shipping Day was launched in 2008 to boost online sales in the days leading up to Christmas after Internet entrepreneur Luke Knowles noticed that online shopping seemed to drop off around Dec. 10.

“Most retailers were capable of shipping orders in time for the holidays much later in the month, but shoppers were too concerned about on-time delivery and exorbitant shipping fees to place orders,” according to the website created to market the promotional holiday.

To help boost sales, Knowles created the shopping holiday — promoting free shipping and on-time delivery for orders placed in late December.

In 2011, online sales on Free Shipping Day totaled more than $1 billion, according to the website.

For some retailers, Friday (Dec. 15) is the last day to get standard shipping in time for Christmas. For others, the cutoff is Monday (Dec. 18) or Tuesday (Dec. 19), according to BestBlackFriday.com.

Shoppers willing to pay for overnight and express delivery have until Dec. 21 or Dec. 22 to order from many online retailers.

“As expected, standard shipping options have earlier deadlines, and more expensive premium and expedited options allow a little more leeway and delays in ordering,” Dengler said.



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