RealTime IT News

Another Contender in Free Shipping

Whether it's a true price war, an act of desperation, or simply a short-term marketing ploy, consumers likely are smiling all over the country as yet another online retailer enters the free-shipping game.

This time BestBuy.com, operated by the real-world consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Inc. said it is offering free ground shipping on everything -- for a limited time.

The move follows Seattle-based Amazon.com's offer of free shipping on orders of $49 or more, which in turn was followed by privately held Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Buy.com's offer to ship everything for free and beat Amazon on books by 10 percent.

Minneapolis-based Best Buy also said that if consumers choose an enhanced shipping option, such as next-day or second-day, the final shipping cost will be reduced by the amount of the ground shipping cost to the buyer's location.

BestBuy.com touted the deal as a way to "offer value to our customers."

"...we are eliminating a barrier to using the online channel, giving the customer the freedom to choose how to shop," said John Thompson, senior vice president of BestBuy.com.

It's also a good way to drum up business in an Internet recession and an accounting-scandal plagued world. As Geoff Wissman, vice president of Columbus, Ohio-based Retail Forward, told InternetNews.com recently: "There is no single better tactic to bolster sales and conversion rates than free shipping."

Best Buy online customers already have the option of picking up online purchases in the stores, which saves delivery fees. The free shipping offer applies to all products -- from CDs and DVDs to notebooks and 50-inch television sets.