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Online Merchants Declare Thursday ‘Free Shipping Day’

12/15/2008 12:06:00 PM Eastern

Fort Collins, Colo. — Online merchants are getting behind a new promotion to encourage last-minute Christmas shoppers to place their orders by Thursday.

“Free Shipping Day,” a marketing concept developed by Luke Knowles, founder of FreeShipping.org, marks the last day that online purchases at participating retailers are guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas Eve.

“We are a nation of procrastinators, so I think that Free Shipping Day will become a popular annual event,” said Knowles, whose Web site, www.freeshipping.org, lists e-tailers with free shipping deals.

Participating merchants number about 250 and include Circuit City, JCPenney, Kmart, Macy’s, Sears and Target, Knowles said.

“Numbers show that online shopping dramatically slows after Dec. 12,” Knowles said. “Free Shipping Day [Dec. 18] will encourage people to continue buying items online later into the month of December,” and has the potential to increase pre-Christmas online sales by hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years, he noted.

Free Shipping Day was conceived as an adjunct to “Cyber Monday,” the e-tail equivalent to Black Friday that was created by the National Retail Federation trade association to encourage online sales.

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