I buy a lot of items online. Why?
- The selection is better.
- Prices are often lower.
- You can earn extra rewards on your purchases through Ebates.
- You save money on gas.
- You avoid the hassle of locating items and waiting in line at a local retail store.
Free shipping makes online shopping even more appealing, but you can still incur costs when you have to return items. Now, however, more companies are offering free shipping and free returns, especially on shoes and clothing. This makes online shopping an even better option. You can try on items and return what doesn’t fit. With that in mind, here are some of the online retailers you may want to consider for your next purchase:
Nordstrom —This department store offers free shipping all the time — no need to spend a minimum amount or wait for a special promotion. I recently ordered three dresses from them and returned two. The process went smoothly, and I received a prompt refund. The only bummer was that Nordstrom uses the post office for return shipping, which is not especially convenient for me. Be sure to get a receipt with a tracking number for your return from the post office.
Shoebuy — There’s no minimum purchase here, either. Free shipping gets your item delivered in 3 to 10 business days. You can pay for quicker shipping if needed. Shoebuy uses UPS for returns. Shoebuy’s return processing is a bit slower than other stores I’ve purchased from but still gets completed in a reasonable time frame.
Zappos — Known for its excellent customer service, Zappos offers a generous 365-day return policy for unused items. It sells shoes, clothing, cookware, makeup, luggage and more. Free return shipping is via UPS or the postal service. My returns have always been credited promptly.
Amazon — Amazon offers free shipping and returns on select items, including clothing, shoes, luggage, jewelry, watches, accessories and sunglasses. Look for the words “FREE Super Saver Shipping & Free Returns” next to an item’s description to determine if it qualifies. You’ll have to spend $25 to get free shipping.
Clarks — I have not ordered from this company, but it does offer free shipping both ways via UPS. You don’t need to place a minimum order. Clarks sells shoes and accessories.
Apple Store — I was surprised to find this electronics retailer offers free returns. You must initiate the return process within 14 days of receiving your item. To get free shipping, you must spend at least $50.
Piperlime — Owned by the same parent company as Old Navy, Piperlime sells upscale, brand-name clothing for the whole family, plus shoes and accessories. You have 30 days from the purchase date to take advantage of free return shipping. Items arrive at your home within 5 business days of your order placement.
Fossil — Best known for its stylish watches, Fossil offers free returns within 90 days of purchase. Orders shipped free arrive within 5 business days.
Brooks Running — You’ll have to spend $75 to get free FedEx shipping, but you’ll also get free returns when ordering from Brooks Running. The store sells running shoes, apparel and accessories for men and women.
As evidenced by the growing number of retailers offering free returns, it’s apparently good for business to do so. This CNBC article references a study that shows huge growth in future purchases when free returns are available.
What are your favorite online stores offering free shipping and free returns?