August 26, 2011, 2:24 PM

Free shipping by the clock

Rue La La offers a pay once, purchase often, 30-day shipping deal.

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Consumers who shop at flash-sale e-retailer Rue La La and pay $9.95 can receive free standard shipping on most orders for 30 days.

The members-only e-retailer, No. 82 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, says it will promote The Rue 30 program in a way that encourages customers to visit and buy repeatedly during the 30-day cycle. For example, when a consumer who has purchased and paid for shipping logs in at RueLaLa.com she will see a calendar that shows how many days she has remaining to get free shipping on her orders. The calendar also will appear in the e-retailer’s e-mails and mobile app, the company says.

“Many of our members come to Rue La La every day,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The 30 days of free shipping once their Rue 30 clock starts enhances the excitement and fun.”

The $9.95 shipping charge that now grants free standard shipping for the following 30 days is the same fee Rue La La previously charged for each order, a spokeswoman says. The pay-once, ship-often program is valid for all orders except for certain oversized items and for orders shipped to Alaska or Hawaii. Consumers who want to use a faster shipping form are charged extra at checkout.

The Rue La La program is a variation of the deal offered by sister company ShopRunner, provider of a service that enables online retailers to offer free shipping for a year to consumers who pay a $79 fee.

Rue La La and ShopRunner are both owned by NRG Commerce LLC, which is owned by Michael Rubin, the founder of GSI Commerce. EBay Inc. acquired most of GSI Commerce earlier this year, but NRG gained control of Rue La La, ShopRunner and online sports retailer Fanatics, which operates FootballFanatics.com, No. 98 in the Top 500 Guide.

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