In competitive holiday spirit shipping fees gone at Best Buy

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2015 1:51 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronic chain, will drop all restrictions for free shipping for the holiday season, underscoring big changes in what customers have come to expect when they shop.

The Minneapolis company typically requires customers to spend at least $35 in order to receive free shipping. Starting Sunday, however, that restriction has been removed as Best Buy aims to compete aggressively with online leader Amazon.com as well as other players like Wal-Mart and Target.

About 47 percent of consumers polled said that free shipping or shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where they shop, according to a survey of 7,276 consumers conducted earlier this month for the National Retail Federation.

Amazon set the standard with its two-day delivery for members of its Prime loyal program, who pay $99 a year.

Best Buy's free-shipping program runs through Jan. 2.

The last time Best Buy dropped the shipping fee for all customers was 2012.

The retailer is also offering a special holiday sales event at 400 of its stores on Nov. 7 that will feature "Black Friday-like deals." Last year's event was limited to Best Buy's Elite and Elite Plus loyalty customers.

Best Buy has momentum heading into the holiday season as a turnaround spearheaded by CEO Hubert Joly has gains traction. The company is also benefiting from a shift in consumer spending toward big ticket items for the home as home prices rise. An explosion of new gadgets like Apple watch, which is being sold in all Best Buy stores, has also helped.