In a weekly survey by Internet Retailer of holiday season promotions by the top 100 online retailers, 79 offered some kind of stand-out deals on their home pages through Wednesday, Nov. 25, including 23 with discounts of 20% or more and 13 with discounts of 40% or more. In addition, 72 offered some form of free shipping and 42 e-mailed special offers to customers who had opted in for e-mail marketing programs.
Among retailers offering the steepest discounts were Buy.com, at up to 70% off select items in its online “Holiday Store”; Barnes & Noble.com also had savings up to 70%; TheCompanyStore.com and HayNeedle.com each had discounts up to 60%; Drugstore.com and Gap each had offers up to 50%.
Home-page displays promoted in-store deals as well as online offers. J.C. Penney’s JCP.com presented a main home page image promoting a look at “online screenbusters before they go on sale” as well as a peak at Black Friday in-store deals; Walmart.com promoted “incredible in-store specials this Friday only”; and Best Buy promoted “Friday Doorbuster specials.”
Overstock.com promoted a remote-control toy helicopter in its “Black Wednesday deal of the day,” and CSN Stores offered free cameras with purchases of $999 or more.
Restoration Hardware promoted $100 off every $500 spent online by Nov. 30.
In one of the more unusual offers tied to a Thanksgiving theme, Shoebuy.com promoted an “in their shoes” program under which it will donate $1 per order to global charity Oxfam America, which provides clothing and other resources to poor people, while also offering customers free shipping and 15% off the purchase price.
Among free-shipping offers, which at 71 were down one from 72 in the comparable week last year, some retailers made their offers more generous. JCP.com offered it on orders of $25 or more, down from $49.99 the prior week, and Hewlett-Packard reduced its minimum order value to $39.99 from $59.99.
Overstock.com continued to offer $1 shipping on all orders except for first-time orders, for which it offered free shipping. Walmart.com continued to offer 97-cent shipping on all orders, but ran a special promotion offering that deal on Hasbro toys.
Best Buy has been offering free shipping only on special items, this week for the Michael Jackson “This Is It” CD. HSN promoted free shipping on more than 3,500 items, and Scholastic offered it on items priced $25 or more through Dec. 6.
42 retailers sent offers to shoppers who had opted in for marketing e-mails.
Of those, 11 e-mails featured deals specifically geared to the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. Staples, OfficeMax and Walgreens all offered sneak previews of their Friday sales. Both Dell and CircuitCity.com’s e-mails offered early Black Friday discounts.
10 retailers’ e-mails also extended free shipping offers. Crate and Barrel offered free shipping from Landofnod.com, Shutterfly offered free shipping plus 50% off holiday items, and Yoox Group offered free standard shipping on select brands.
The weekly survey, which is running through the holiday shopping season, is based on the top 100 retailers as listed in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.