Top Online Retailers for Holiday Shopping this Year
The National Retail Federation announced that it expects holiday sales to increase 3.9% this year, but that online holiday sales are expected to grow between 13-15 percent over last holiday season. Many shoppers are turning to online shopping to avoid the brick-and mortar-stores’ crowds and the long lines, and online retailers are fighting for their business with price matching and free shipping wars.
When it comes to online shopping, Amazon and Walmart have dominated for years. Every year consumers win as the two retailers battle each other to offer the lowest online prices, and the best shipping deals. Amazon often lowers their online prices to match or beat Walmart’s in-store specials, and both online retailers offer a way to score free shipping. If your item does not already come with free shipping, Walmart offers to ship most purchases to your local store for free. Amazon has free two-day shipping through their paid Amazon Prime program, and they give shoppers free Super Saver Shipping on most purchases totaling $25 or more.
Toys R Us is taking a different approach and vying for your attention with exclusives. The toy giant recently released its Top 15 Hot Holiday Toys for 2013, and seven of the fifteen toys listed are Toys R Us exclusives. For example, if shoppers want to purchase the Shimmer ‘N Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom by Cra-Z-Art or the Doc McStuffins Deluxe Get Better Check-Up Center, they will only find them at Toys R Us. Toys R Us is also competing in the free shipping wars. They offer shoppers free store pick-up, free ship-to-store services, and free two-day shipping through the paid service ShopRunner.
Nine retail specialty chains, Sports Authority, Aeropostale, Levi’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dockers, Maurices, Shop PBS, iRobot and Kenneth Cole, may give the retail giants a run for their money this year. Not only are they expected to offer holiday sales and coupon codes, but they are offering shoppers a truly free two-day shipping option. PayPal announced that shoppers making online purchases from any of the participating retailers will automatically receive free two-day shipping within the U.S. when they pay with PayPal at checkout. This is a far better offer than the prepaid two-day shipping offered through ShopRunner and Amazon Prime.
Online shoppers should have very little trouble finding bargains at their favorite online retailers this year, and with few exceptions their bargains will be shipped to their door for free.