Well, we are officially under ten days until Christmas and the last minute shopping rush is upon us. Shoppers that have waited till the last minute to purchase their gifts are in luck this year. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) announced last week that the cutoff date for items to be purchased and shipped to make it on-time for Christmas, is December 19th. Additionally, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced today that it would also be setting its deadline for December 19th, as well, but customers do have the chance to get gift by Christmas after that date for Amazon.
Amazon pressuring Big Box retailers
Amazon is stepping up its competitive pressure against the Big Box retailers by offering free shipping for all orders over $35. These orders are confined to the December 19th deadline. However, Amazon Prime subscribers have an extended deadline of December 22nd to purchase their gifts with the intent on receiving them by Christmas. Amazon Prime is a $99 yearly subscription based service that allows free two day shipping for subscribers, among other benefits, but in this case, last minute Prime shoppers get the benefit. Additionally, Amazon is trying to appeal to the very last minute buyers with a one day shipping service available on December 23rd, which Amazon Prime members could use and starts at $2.99 to ship. Same day delivery is also available for $5.99, but only in 10 select cities.
Retailers are trying to make up for the shipping mistake
If you recall during last year’s last minute rush, retailers caught some bad press for shipping errors that resulted in items arriving after Christmas. Needless to say, retailers are trying to make up for the mistake this year by extending deadlines and sales to appeal to late buyers. Wal-Mart has already introduced “Cyber Monday 2.0” sale and Amazon has been slashing prices as Christmas rapidly approaches. Other retailers such as Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M), J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY), etc are all running incentives and competitive deals to try and lure last minute shoppers before the deadlines. However, it really seems that Wal-Mart and Amazon have made the most radical and appealing effort to win over customers with their deals, extended deadlines and shipping options.
While it is an important time of year for economic reasons and “finishing year strong” so to speak, remember to take some time away from the craziness to enjoy family and friends this holiday season. All too often, it is easy to be sidetracked and forget what matters most in life. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and safe travels to and from loved ones.