Quoted – Want Free Delivery? Send It to the Store – SmartMoney

Wal-Mart location in Moncton
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It’s a common conundrum of holiday shopping: Shop in the store and save on shipping, or shop online and boost the odds of finding the item you want.

Now, there’s a third option. More retailers are offering free ship-to-store service, in which customers order items online and have them sent free to a nearby store for pickup.

Why are retailers providing the service at no cost? In a year when online holiday sales are critical, a ship-to-store option can give some stores an edge over their competitors, especially web-based ones, says Scott Testa, an assistant professor of business administration at Calibri College in Radnor, Pa. (A quarter of consumers plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping online, according to a survey by Deloitte LLP.)

“With this [service], you have the best of both worlds, online and store shopping,” Testa says. Consumers can take advantage of broader availability and cheaper prices online, without paying for shipping or worrying about delivered goods sitting unattended on the stoop all day.

Know the pickup policy

“Make sure the experience is [that] you literally walk in the store and pick it up,” Testa says. Wal-Mart has a separate Site-to-Store pickup counter, but in most other cases, users are forced to wait in line at the customer service register with everyone else looking for a refund or waiting on a complaint. Minimize the hassle by showing up early in the day, when the line is likely to be shorter, he says.


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