Female hands in winter gloves with christmas gift box

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone and, yes, both saved shoppers a lot of money. However, this Free Shipping Day – an online shopping event where many merchants offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve – is a holiday helper you need to know as well.

We talked to Free Shipping Day spokesperson Kendal Perez. She provided details about the one-day-only event, including its history, economic impact and even offers some gift ideas.

Free Shipping Day’s Story

The day of free shipping was founded by 39-year-old Canadian entrepreneur Luke Knowles from Regina, Saskatchewan in 2008 and came together in just under two weeks with 250 participating businesses.

According to Perez, Knowles discovered how early people stopped shopping online during the holiday season. His based this on his experience managing a similar online operation, FreeShipping.org with his wife, Maisie Knowles, in 2007.

“Luke wanted to help consumers shop later in the season with the number-one online shopping promotion while giving them the peace of mind they needed to receive orders in time for Christmas,” said Perez.

And just two years later, Perez claimed that Free Shipping Day beat Black Friday’s online sales by nearly $300 million and saw participation numbers increase tenfold. The following year, Free Shipping Day eclipsed the $1 billion mark.

“In 2011, Free Shipping Day became a billion-dollar shopping holiday, with sales jumping 14% compared to the previous year,” said Perez.

Impact on Retailers and Consumers

Based on the success of Free Shipping Day, Perez said that the day helps lift participating retailers’ late year sales during the critical holiday shopping season.

“It also helps small and independent online retailers compete with big merchants since it costs nothing to participate, save for the requirement of waiving all shipping minimums and guaranteeing delivery by Christmas Eve for orders placed on Free Shipping Day,” said Perez.

If you’re a procrastinator when it comes to shopping, and try to avoid crowds, December 16 can solve those shopping needs.

“Online shoppers are more likely to complete orders when free shipping is offered, and our event helps consumers receive the promotion from stores that otherwise tack on minimums of $25 to over $100,” said Perez.

Now you won’t have to stress facing crowds and instead shop in the comfort of your home knowing that your gifts will arrive in time for Christmas.

Participating Businesses

Hundreds of retailers take part in Free Shipping Day – nearly 700 in all!

“To receive the deals, shoppers should visit FreeShippingDay.com at 12:01a.m. ET on December 16, when offers are revealed,” said Perez. “This year, we expect up to 2,000 stores will participate by the time the site goes live!”

Participating retailers include – Aldo, Target, J.C. Penney, Russell Stover Chocolates, Cabela’s and more.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

You don’t have to stress about last-minute gift shopping thanks to Free Shipping Day. Orders that you make from participating stores will arrive before Christmas Eve!

When asked which gifts she personally likes shopping for the most on Free Shipping Day, Perez said food gifts.

“I like shopping for food gifts since many gourmet food providers tack on expedited delivery charges to ensure freshness,” said Perez. “Harry & David, Russell Stover, Mrs. Fields and GourmetGiftBaskets.com will all be offering a minimum of free shipping on all orders, saving shoppers $15 to $25 or more on delivery fees.”

If you have any last-minute, gift-giving ideas, share in the comments!

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