Amazon to Zappos: Shipping Rates and Free Shipping for Over 50 Top Online Retailers

featured-image-2817080

Image by Rudolf Stricker (Own work (own photo)) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest obstacles to internet shopping are the shipping charges. That’s why free shipping offers are among the most popular promotions for online shoppers. A recent post over at SmartMoney explored the increase of free shipping offered by various online retailers and inspired me to do a round-up of the top fifty online retailers, their shipping policies and how to get free shipping at each of them. Amazon

Standard shipping rates:  Range from $2.98 – 7.99 + .65/lb. for standard U.S. delivery
Free Shipping Minimum:  $25 for eligible items
Expedited and International shipping available

If you want it, it’s probably sold on Amazon.  And if it’s sold by Amazon, it’s probably eligible for their Free Super Saver Shipping for orders of $25 or more.  I think that’s a pretty good deal.  If you’re an avid Amazon buyer, shelling out $79 for Amazon Prime to get free two-day shipping for an entire year (not to mention other Amazon Prime benefits) might be worth your while.

Order totals $24.54?  Check out Amazon Filler Item Finder to find that .46 item that will save you from paying more for shipping.  After all, who doesn’t need a OES Genuine Engine Cylinder Head Bolt?

Ann Taylor

Standard shipping rates:  $9.95 – 22.95
Standard shipping not available for delivery to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico
Expedited shipping available

Standard shipping is a bit pricey for an Ann Taylor order. They will occasionally offer free shipping promotions–usually with an order minimum of $100-150 although sometimes the site offers free shipping with NO minimum.  Fortunately most items can be returned to a local brick and mortar store saving you return shipping costs if something doesn’t fit quite right.

Ann Taylor LOFT

Standard shipping rates:  $8.95 – 20.95

The lesser-priced version of Ann Taylor seems to have lower priced shipping to go along with it, but while Ann Taylor standard shipping starts at $9.95 for orders up to $75, LOFT charges $8.95 for orders $50 and under.  Ouch!  As with Ann Taylor, standard shipping is not available for LOFT orders shipped to Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico but expedited shipping is available for an additional fee. Make sure to seek out Ann Taylor LOFT free shipping offers before ordering.

Apple Store

Free shipping minimum:  $50
No shipping to international or Armed Forces addresses

Most Apple Store orders qualify for free standard shipping as long as they are $50 or more and under 100 lbs.  There’s no rate schedule for shipping charges, but it’s doubtful most people would be able to spend less than $50 or that their order would weigh more than 100 lbs.

Avon

Standard shipping rate:  $5.95
Expedited delivery available with additional fee

Avon has a flat fee of $5.95 for any order so the smartest move would be to buy in bulk or wait for an Avon free shipping offer which generally requires a minimum purchase of anywhere from $5-40.

Barnes and Noble

Free shipping minimum:  $25
Standard shipping rates:  $1.99 – 3.00 + .99 per item
No international shipping

Like Amazon, Barnes and Noble makes it fairly simple to score free shipping:  just order at least $25 worth of stuff.  Barnes and Noble members qualify for unlimited free express shipping on eligible items with no minimum, as well as other discounts and benefits, at a cost of $25 per year.

Bath and Body Works

Shipping rates:  start at $5.99
Additional charge for Alaska/Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada
Expedited delivery available for additional cost

Bath and Body Works might not have a minimum for free shipping, but they do have a minimum for orders, period!  If your order totals less than $9.95, they will assess a $4 surcharge on top of shipping costs.  They periodically offer shipping at a reduced flat rate of $3 as well as the occasional free shipping with minimums of usually $40-60, so always be on the lookout for Bath and Body Works free shipping codes.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Standard shipping rates:  $5.99 – 35.99
Additional charge for most orders delivered to Alaska and Hawaii
Expedited delivery available at additional cost
No international delivery or to other US territories

Thank goodness I have a Bed Bath and Beyond fairly close because the shipping charges are pretty hefty!  Also fortunate is the fact that BBB offers free standard shipping on thousands of items in their online inventory.  They also occasionally offer promotions such as free shipping on orders of $100 or more, but your best bet is to shop the free shipping eligible items or go to a local store.

Best Buy

Shipping rates:  Calculated per item or per lb. and delivery time
Free store pickup option

Your best bet for Best Buy is to place your order online and pick it up at your local store as shipping varies from $1.69 for a single CD to $69.99 for a flat screen TV.  There are select items across the various departments which are eligible for free shipping, so make sure as you drill down to the specific category you are shopping that you look for links that indicate which products are eligible for free shipping.  Best Buy occasionally has free shipping offers, but they are usually very specific product categories; e.g. “select digital cameras” or “select GPS receivers.”

Borders

Free shipping minimum:  $40 / $25 for Borders Rewards members
Standard shipping rates:  $1.99-2.99 + .99 per item
Free ship to store option
Expedited shipping options at additional cost
Canadian and international shipping available
Standard domestic shipping includes Alaska/Hawaii but not P.O. boxes, military addresses (APO/FPO) and U.S. protectorates such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Unlike Amazon or Barnes and Noble, Borders requires a minimum order of $40 to qualify for free shipping.  You can get that lowered to $25 with a free membership in their Rewards program.  For an additional $20 per year, you can upgrade to Rewards Plus and get free shipping with NO minimum plus additional benefits.

Buy.com

Standard shipping rates:  Calculated per item
Shipping to U.S. (Continental plus Alaska and Hawaii) only
Expedited shipping available at additional cost

Buy.com has a confusing shipping policy.  Fortunately most of its inventory is marked with either a yellow truck which means the item is eligible for “Free Budget Shipping” with no minimum necessary  or with a brown truck which means the item is eligible for free standard shipping if:

  • Over $75 order minimum on items from the Sports store
  • Books, music, DVD and Video store items qualify with over $25 minimum
  • Any six items sold by Alice

There are a bunch of other restrictions and exclusions so make sure you read the fine print.  Occasionally Buy.com has free shipping offers specific product or product categories.

Dell

Standard shipping rate:  $9 flat on all computers

While $9 seems kind of expensive when ordering a blouse from Ann Taylor, it seems pretty reasonable for shipping a laptop.  Still, Dell often has free shipping promotions on specific product lines, so make sure to check before ordering.

Drugstore.com/Beauty.com

Free shipping minimum:  $25 (new customers), $49 (standard offer)
Standard shipping rate:  $5.99 for general orders, $2.99 for prescriptions
Additional charge for Alaska, Hawaii and US territories
Expedited and International shipping available 

You can combine items from Drugstore.com and Beauty.com to reach the $49 minimum.  Also, promotions such as Drugstore Dollars are subtracted after you reach the free shipping threshold.  While you could skirt the $49 minimum by using a new email address/credit card number to get the $25 minimum for “new customers,” Drugstore.com also offers free shipping for a reduced minimum throughout the year to existing customers as well as other free shipping offers.

Famous Footwear

Free shipping minimum:  3 or more pairs
Standard shipping rate:  $4.50 (standard rate not applicable for deliveries to Alaska/Hawaii)
Expedited shipping available at additional cost

$4.50 is a pretty reasonable shipping rate for two pairs of shoes, but if you want to score free shipping you need to have to have a slight shoe fetish or team up with a friend or two and combine orders.  If you do have a shoe fetish, sign up to be a Famous Footwear Rewards Member for free.  Spend $200 or more annually while in the rewards program and you qualify for Gold status which allows you to get free shipping on ANY order.   If you don’t have a shoe fetish, Famous Footwear offers free shipping promotions throughout the year.

Footlocker

Standard shipping rate:  $6 + $1.99 per pair, $9 + $1.99 to Alaska/Hawaii
Expedited shipping and international shipping to 80+ available for additional cost

Footlocker shipping is pretty pricey, so it’s worth it to wait for one of their free shipping promotions which generally require a $50-75 order minimum–or save $3.50 and shop at Famous Footwear.  It should be noted that Footlocker’s shipping rates to Alaska and Hawaii work out to $10.99 for a single pair and $12.98 for two pairs of shoes while Famous Footwear totals $11.50 and $13.50 respectively.  So lower shipping for lower 48 at Famous Footwear, better deal for Alaska/Hawaii with Footlocker.

Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic

Free shipping minimum:  $50 (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico)
Standard shipping rate:  $7 flat rate
Expedited shipping available at additional cost
International shipping available for 80+ countries

The Gap brand stores recently lowered their minimum for free shipping from $100 order to a mere $50.  That, along with the combined shopping cart allowing purchases from Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, make it pretty simple to score free shipping on most orders.  If you can’t come up with enough to meet the $50 minimum, adding one item from the Piperlime site not only gets you free shipping, but speeds up delivery to 3-5 days vs. 7-9 days.

Home Depot

Free shipping minimum:  $249 (not all items qualify)
Free delivery/haul away for most appliances $298  or more
Shipping rates calculated based on method, order weight, etc.
Shipping to continental US addresses only, select parcel items can ship to Alaska/Hawaii
No shipping to APO/FPO, P.O. Boxes, or U.S. Territories

If you need some new paint rollers or caulk or a handful of drywall screws, it’s probably cheaper and quicker to jump in the car and drive to the nearest Home Depot location.  Select items on the site are eligible for free shipping with $249 minimum order, some items ship free with NO minimum and others (some flooring for example) have shipping included in the price.

HP

Standard shipping rates:  $5.25 – $229.99

While $229.99 is chump change for an order of $6,000 or more, HP runs free shipping promotions frequently so the odds of you paying $0 for shipping are pretty good.

HSN

There are over a thousand items on the HSN site which quality for free shipping, the rest have shipping rates that vary by item.

J. Crew

Standard shipping rates:  $5.95-18.50 (Includes Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, PO boxes a APO addresses)
International shipping limited to Canada and Japan
Expedited shipping available for additional cost

J. Crew sporadically offers free shipping–usually with a minimum order of $150. 

JCPenney

Standard shipping rates:  $5.95-44.95
Additional cost to ship to Alaska, Hawaii, Pacific Territories, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, AFO/PO Boxes
International and expedited shipping available

While most retailers offer the option of purchasing online and shipping to store for free, JCPenney charges a minimum of $4.50 for the privilege.  Fortunately JCPenney does offer free shipping promotions on occasion–sometimes with as low as $25 minimum order.

Joann.com

Standard shipping rates:  $5.95-42.95
Shipping rates for APO/FPO, U.S. Territories, Alaska and Hawaii are the same as continental US, but delivery time takes 2-3 weeks longer
No international shipping (including Canada)
Expedited shipping available at additional cost

Some items at Joann.com (excessive size/weight) will incur an additional “special handling” charge.  Fortunately Joann frequently has free shipping offers so it’s worth it to seek them out before placing an order.

Kmart

Standard shipping rates:  Based on weight
Free shipping to local store
No international shipping or UPS shipping to P.O. Boxes, Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands.

Kmart has free standard shipping on about 1,000 products on their site plus frequent free shipping promotions–sometimes with minimum order amounts as low as $29.

Kohl’s

Standard shipping rates:  $5.95 (for orders $25 or less) and up depending on order amount
Expedited shipping available, but not for Alaska/Hawaii or APO/FPO addresses
No international shipping

Kohl’s frequently has free shipping promotions (order minimums are generally $50) or reduced shipping rates (.99 cents per item).

LL Bean

Free shipping minimum:  $0 (Includes Canada)
Standard shipping rates:  $0 (Includes Canada)
International and expedited shipping available for additional cost

Currently LL Bean is running a free standard shipping promotion with no minimums.  This promotion was supposed to end last year, but obviously was so popular it’s being continued indefinitely.  The option to order online with store pickup is also available.

Macy’s

Free shipping minimum:  $99
Standard shipping rates:  $8 flat fee for orders under $99
Expedited shipping available for additional cost
No international shipping (shipping available to APOs, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, Palau, US Virgin Islands and Guam only)

Occasionally Macys.com offers promotions for free shipping with a reduced minimum or .99 cent shipping, but you’re more likely to score free shipping by meeting the standard minimum.

NewEgg.com

NewEgg has thousands of featured free shipping items, otherwise shipping costs are calculated by weight and shipped via UPS.

Nordstrom

Free shipping minimum:  $200
Standard shipping rates:  $8 flat fee, $5 for any $50 beauty/fragrance purchase
Expedited shipping for additional cost
International shipping available

In addition to the $200 order minimum or $50 beauty/fragrance purchase, Nordstrom frequently has free shipping promotions for reduced minimums or if your order contains a promotional item (e.g. shoes).  Also, if you’re shopping in your local Nordstrom and they don’t have the item you’re looking for in stock, they’ll get it shipped to you from another store for free if the item costs $25 or more.  They also use green shipping methods by reusing shipping boxes.

Office Depot

Free shipping minimum:  $50 (for local delivery areas only)
Standard shipping rates:  $9.95 based on weight
Expedited shipping available

Office Depot offers in store pickup for free within two hours of placing your order.  Items weighing 70 lbs. or more require an additional $24.99 delivery fee, $39.99 for shipment outside the local delivery area.

Overstock.com

Standard shipping rate:  $2.95 flat rate (except Alaska, Hawaii, International)
International and expedited shipping available

Overstock shipping is pretty affordable, but it’s even more affordable for first-time customers because it’s free.  You can also get free shipping on every order along with 5% rewards with a $19.95 Club O membership.  Occasionally Overstock.com has $1 shipping promotions, but only for the continental US.

PC Connection

Standard shipping rates:  Based on method, destination and weight
Expedited shipping available

Occasionally PC Connection runs free shipping promotions with a minimum order amount of $50-150.

Piperlime

Free shipping minimum:  $0 (Includes US and Puerto Rico addresses)
Standard shipping rates:  $0 (Includes US and Puerto Rico addresses)
Expedited and international shipping available for additional cost

Piperlime offers free standard shipping AND returns on any order–no minimum.  This policy doesn’t apply to international orders unfortunately.

QVC

Standard shipping rates:  Varies by item

There are no “standard” shipping rates for QVC, but the site has almost a thousand items that qualify for free shipping.  QVC also has occasional free shipping promotions–like a Cyber Monday sitewide for example–but they’re fairly infrequent.

Radio Shack

Standard shipping rates:  Calculated based on method, weight and destination
Expedited shipping available

Radio Shack offers a free ship to store option and thousands of items on their site qualify for free shipping.  Occasionally they run free shipping promotions for specific products or minimums of $75 or more.

Sears  (See Kmart)

Sears and Kmart are owned by the same company and their shipping rates/policies are the same.

Sephora

Free shipping minimum:  $50
Standard shipping rate:  $5.95 flat rate
No international shipping (including U.S territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam or APO/AP addresses) except for Canada
Expedited shipping for additional cost

Sephora occasionally runs promotions offering free shipping on a lowered minimum (or no minimum) if your order doesn’t reach the $50 total.

Shoes.com

Free shipping minimum:  $0
Standard shipping rates:  $0
Expedited and international shipping available for additional cost

Not only does Shoes.com offer free standard shipping for all US orders, they offer free returns as well. 

Sony

Free shipping minimum:  $75
No international shipping or delivery to P.O. Boxes, APO/FPO addresses, Guam, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands
Expedited shipping available for additional cost

Details of Sony shipping rates aren’t listed on the site, but based on a test I did they appear to charge $5 per item unless you’ve reached the $75 minimum.

Spiegel

Standard shipping rates:  start at $4.99 and up (based on order total)
plus $1.95 per order handling fee
Expedited shipping available at additional cost
International shipping via forwarding by Access USA

Spiegel regularly runs promotions for free shipping–some for order minimums of $75-100 and in rare instances, no minimum.

Staples

Free shipping minimum:  $50
Standard shipping rates:  Vary
No international shipping, continental US delivery only

Other than their standard free shipping minimum, Staples doesn’t appear to have any other free shipping promotions.  They do, however, offer free shipping to local Staples stores.

Target

Free shipping minimum:  $50 (on half a million items on website)
Standard shipping rates:  Based on delivery option, weight, size and dimensions of items
No international shipping other than Puerto Rico or APO/FPO addresses

In addition to offering free shipping on specific items if the order totals $50, Target also runs free shipping promotions on specific products.

The Limited

Standard shipping rates:  $5.95-19.95 based on order total
International and expedited shipping available for additional cost

The Limited occasionally offers weekend free shipping promotions for order minimums of $75 and sometimes for no minimum.

TigerDirect

Standard shipping rates:  Based on item weight/delivery method
Expedited shipping available at additional cost
International shipping/international sub-sites

TigerDirect offers free shipping on orders with California addresses as well as select items on their website.  Occasionally they also run free shipping promotions on orders of $100 or more.

Toys R Us/Babies R Us

Free shipping minimum:  $100
Standard shipping rates:  varies by item/destination
Expedited shipping available
International shipping not available

Toys R Us/Babies R Us offers a combined shopping cart as well as occasional free shipping promotions on orders totaling $50-100.  Currently they’re running a promotion for free shipping with orders of $75 or more.

Urban Outfitters

Free shipping minimum:  $150
Standard shipping rates:  $10 on orders under $150
International and expedited shipping available

While the $10 flat rate for orders under $150 is a bit steep, the upside is that Urban Outfitters covers returns with that fee as well.  They regularly offer free shipping promotions which reduce the minimum to $75, so make sure to search before placing your order.

Victoria’s Secret

Standard shipping: starts at $5.99 based on order total
Expedited delivery available
Additional $4.99 charge for orders shipped to Alaska, Hawaii or US territories
International shipping available

Victoria’s Secret regularly has free shipping promotions, so it’s worth waiting and/or searching before placing an order.

Vistaprint

Free shipping minimum:  $50
Standard shipping rates:  Based on weight/delivery method
International and expedited shipping available
No shipping to APO/FPO addresses

A lot of Vistaprint products are offered free, so they make their money on shipping and handling charges.  They do offer free shipping promotions for a lower minimum and currently new customers get 25% off and free shipping on $25 or more.

Walgreens

Free shipping minimum:  $25 (of eligible products)
Standard shipping rates:  $5.49
Prescriptions/Contact Lenses ship free
Expedited shipping available
No international shipping other than Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands

Walgreens has an extremely reasonable free shipping minimum.  Since their recent purchase of Drugstore.com, it remains to be seen whether their site will up their minimum to match Drugstore.com/Beauty.com or vice versa. 

Walmart

Standard shipping rates:  Calculated based on item size, weight, shipping method and delivery address.
No international shipping except for American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and APO / FPO military addresses

Walmart offers free shipping from site to store, .97 cent shipping on many items and occasional free shipping on specific products and product categories.

William-Sonoma

Standard shipping rates:  start at $5.50/based on order total
Expedited shipping available
No international shipping other than US territories

Williams-Sonoma offers free standard shipping on select items or you can sign up for Williams-Sonoma Reserve for a $30 annual fee and get free shipping/no minimums on every order except for oversized or special handling items or purchases made through the Williams-Sonoma wine club.  They also run free shipping promotions on specific products or product lines.

Zappos

Free shipping minimum:  $0
Standard shipping rates:  $0
Expedited shipping available for additional cost
No international shipping other than US territories

Zappos was the originator of the free shipping/free returns with no order minimum.  Not only are their returns free, but you have an entire YEAR to make a return.

Comments (9)

Leave A Comment

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. AlisonGary

    3 years ago

    What an amazing, comprehensive list! Going to bookmark this!

    Comment
  2. lahaina

    3 years ago

    I disagree when it comes to QVC I stopped shopping there because of their excessive shipping and handling fees

    Comment
  3. stella.louise

    3 years ago

    @lahaina: Hmm, not sure what we’re disagreeing about. I merely stated that QVC shipping is item-dependent other than select items that qualify for free shipping. The post provides shipping and free shipping information, not recommendations…

    Comment
  4. Allegra.Ringo

    3 years ago

    Nice work, Stella! This is really handy. Bookmarked!

    Comment
  5. Mpowered

    3 years ago

    sales tax info would be awesome! maybe you can get an intern on it, haha.

    Comment
  6. stella.louise

    3 years ago

    @Mpowered: That sounds like a great idea for another blog post – Online retailers that don’t charge sales tax.

    Comment
  7. Audrey Phillips

    3 weeks ago

    Great object, I liked the information technology books part

    Comment
  8. Earle

    5 days ago

    Greetings, I do think your webb site may be having browser compatibility problems.
    When I take a look at your site inn Safari, it looks fine but
    when opening inn Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping
    issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, fantastic site!

    Comment
  9. best review

    12 hours ago

    Nice response in return of this difficulty with real arguments and describing all concerning that.

    Comment
SCRATCH DEBUG :: not set