Is "free shipping" really cost-effective? - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Is "free shipping" cost-effective?

The folks at the deal website freeshipping.org say that unlike last year, when many retailers offered blanket free shipping, many retailers are now requiring that you pay a minimum first. 

They do it, of course, to avoid a loss on shipping fees -- and, because it works. 

A Wharton study found that stores that offer free shipping sell a lower average number of items per order, but consumers come back more often. 

Loyalty is good, but so is saving money! So what should you do? 

Money Expert Nathan Bachrach says that you should evaluate all of the offers first, before leaping at free shipping. 

For example, if you have a 15 percent off coupon code, but can't use that and the free shipping code, see which one actually saves you more. And if you're looking for a specific gift, check out other retailers to see if they're offering to ship it for free. 

And be wary of joining one of those "free shipping clubs" offered by some retailers. Spending money to join discourages you from comparison shopping, which could save you more in the long run! 

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