Retailers slash in a final push

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Retailers cut prices to entice the expected high number of last-minute shoppers
Retailers cut prices to entice the expected high number of last-minute shoppers
“We're just really focused on every day low prices and good shipping options, as we are throughout the year,” said Sally Fouts, spokesperson for Amazon.com.

“We offer different daily deals through our Goldbox, with lightning deals every hour of the day, which is a great place to find last minute shopping deals,” she said. “Customers can also sign up to receive e-mail or mobile alerts about sales and offers.”

For consumers who prefer the gift of travel or just looking to visit friends and family, Travelocity, Orbitz and Last Minute.com are all pushing their offers for last- minute deals. All of these properties have paid search offerings under the keywords “last minute holiday deals.”

Many retailers also are boosting their e-mail promotions and tying them into the stores with additional coupons for purchases, said Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group, based in Chicago.

One example, she said, was a Borders e-mail promotion offering  a 30% coupon, plus in-store savings in the form of a special store coupon.

In addition, she said, more retailers are showcasing Bill Me Later or other alternative payment methods in their e-mail promotions.

But last minute promotions are not just for retailers and e-commerce companies.

 Brand marketers also are getting in on the action. Food manufacturer The Snack Factory took advantage of the last minute stress by promoting its Pretzel Chips products during the busy shipping season on the streets of New York.

Company reps dressed as Santa and elves handed out free products in Manhattan near post office locations to try to take advantage of the holiday hype and get their product in front of consumers.

What about after the holidays?

“The returns are going to be a big story − getting credit, cash back,” Cortlett said. “Where before they might have kept something out of politeness, that's over.”

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