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target free shippingTarget is offering free shipping again this summer in time for back-to-school shopping season after it saw orders soar this holiday after running a similar promotion.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said online purchases made between Aug. 2 and Aug. 15 will ship for free, regardless of how much you add to your basket. The last time it did this was during the holidays for nearly a month-long period, ending on Dec. 20. During that time, it saw online and mobile orders increase by more than 50 percent.

The limited-time offers are clearly directed at Amazon.com during two of the busiest shopping times of the year — Christmas and back-to-school shopping. Amazon requires a $30 minimum purchase for free shipping or a membership to Amazon Prime, which costs $99 a year.

Walmart.com is also increasing its online efforts right now, by offering free shipping on purchases of $35 for a limited time, down from $50. It is also piloting a program that grants free three-day shipping on all orders when you spend $50 a year.

Both Target and Walmart say the orders will take three to five business days to ship to your home, and customers can elect to pay more to get those orders expedited. As usual, both retailers are also emphasizing in-store pick-up, something that Amazon cannot offer as an online-only company.

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Following the successful holiday promotion, Target lowered its minimum basket order permanently to $25 to qualify for free shipping, and said since lowering the threshold, that action drove a meaningful increase in sales, with almost five million orders qualifying during a three-month period. Target also offers free shipping year-round for almost all online orders for customers who use a Target REDcard.

Still, digital sales only represent a small fraction of Target’s overall revenues, with 2.8 percent of sales coming from online and mobile in the first quarter. But digital also represents a disproportionate amount of the company’s growth. Digital sales contributed .8 percent of comparable sales change, compared to stores, which contributed 1.5 percent.

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