BALTIMORE — When people shop online, most want two things: fast and free shipping. Retailers know this, and now many of them are waiving fees to win your business.
Target is now offering free two-day shipping with no minimums or membership fees through December 22.
Walmart is doing the same with millions of items. For all other items, shipping is free on qualifying orders of $35 and more. You can see which items qualify for free shipping here.
“You know, everyone's trying to compete with Amazon these days,” said RetailMeNot shopping expert Sara Skirboll.
Amazon, not to be outdone, is temporarily waiving their $25 minimum for free shipping for non-Prime members, promising they'll deliver before Christmas and make same-day shipping more available to those that pay the $119 annual fee for Prime.
Best Buy is also offering free two-day shipping through December 25.
So if they all have the same gifts at the same prices, who offers the best service? WMAR's Mallory Sofastaii ordered a popular toy from Amazon, Walmart and Target. The toy cost the same, around $26 from each site, but shipping times varied.
Walmart delivered first, but they were not the cheapest.
They advertise free two-day shipping on millions of items, but the toy, sure to be on kids' wish lists, was not one of them. They added a $5.99 shipping charge.
Amazon delivered a few hours later.
Target didn't charge for shipping, but their two-day promise turned into seven days and the packaging was sparse.
Amazon won overall with their fast, free shipping. Stores recognize that they excel in this service and are trying to compete with the e-commerce giant.
“The thing that Walmart's doing is really looking to become more digital. I mean they now have people wandering around the stores to check you out right on the spot similar to like an Apple store so they're really upping their games and retailers have to be thinking ahead,” Skirboll said.
If you're having a hard time choosing a retailer, check their return policy, see if they charge for return shipping and how long you'll have to send back your purchase.