In answer to many retailers selecting Dec. 19 as a shipping deadline for guaranteed online holiday purchase deliveries this year, Amazon has launched a holiday delivery promise of its own: “fast, free shipping from Amazon to your door — through December 24.”
According to a press release on Amazon’s corporate website, free shipping before Christmas will follow a set schedule, depending on the fulfillment method and Amazon membership status of package recipients. Dec. 15 will serve as the last free shipping day for all customers, and the time window shortens after that based on length of shipping time for Amazon Prime members.
Retailers are setting earlier deadlines this year to prevent any shipping problems, CNBC reported, and some companies are trying to look more customer-friendly by pushing a later cutoff. Amazon is likely adopting this strategy.
This holiday season is expected to be a busy one after retailers posted strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days. Adobe Analytics is forecasting $107.4 billion in eCommerce sales this holiday season, which would represent an all-time record. As of Dec. 5, $65.15 billion in purchases had already been made online, with each day since the beginning of November bringing in more than $1 billion in online sales.
Amazon’s free delivery options surrounding the holiday are likely to compete with fellow eCommerce retailers like Walmart, which has a leg up on the online platform because of its buy online, pick up in-store options.
To meet customer needs during the biggest shopping season of the year, Walmart customers will be able to shop a longer list of items labeled with “Free Pickup Today” on the company’s website. Those items can then be retrieved at nearby brick-and-mortar locations.
The service will even be offered for last-minute necessities in time for the Christmas holiday. If orders are placed online before 4:00 P.M. on Dec. 23, they can be retrieved in-store until 6:00 P.M. local time on Christmas Eve. Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a brick-and-mortar Walmart location, and the company has more than tripled the amount of merchandise on its website, listing more than 70 million items for sale.
Amazon has launched a similar service at Whole Foods Market locations across the country, with Whole Foods and Amazon Bookstores open on Christmas Eve.