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For years, 6pm's awesome no-minimum free shipping has helped make it one of the top sites for deals on clothing and accessories, but that time seems to have passed. The site just enacted a hefty free shipping minimum threshold: $50.
The majority of the deals we've posted in the past would not be eligible for the new minimum. For example, we posted 169 single-item deals on 6pm goods in September, and only 53 — just over 30% — would bag free shipping today.
The remaining 116 deals would cost an extra $4.95, the new fee for standard shipping. And no, padding isn't likely to help. Although there were several deals within a few bucks of the new minimum, 6pm doesn't offer the cheap cart-stuffers you can often use at stores like REI to tip a deal over the edge. At the time of writing, DealNews was only able to find a single item on the whole site that cost less than $4.95 — a $4 pair of Sperry Top-Sider embroidered socks.
Now, it's worth mentioning that even with the additional cost of shipping, many of those deals we posted would still be great deals. For example a pair of Born men's loafers we listed would "only" be a low by $57 with the new policy — still big savings. But other items would no longer be price lows, and others would have an edge by less inspiring margins — so it seems safe to say you'll be seeing fewer deals from this source.
The timing on this move is poor for customers, coming right before the holiday rush. The Black Friday weekend is a great time for clothing deals, with many sites offering free shipping, stacking discounts, and up to 80% off. 6pm has been no exception to this trend in the past, offering 10% off and 15% off coupons on top of discounts as deep as 82% off. Last year, we sent thousands of DealNews viewers to the site in search of great deals... but less than a quarter of the items we suggested they check out during that weekend would bag free shipping this year.
If 6pm doesn't offer free shipping during Black Friday, many deals will be less compelling. If it does offer free shipping, it may do so in place of the coupons we saw last Black Friday and Cyber Monday, disappointing customers who planned larger shopping sprees.
How do you feel about 6pm's decision? Did you shop there for cheap buys in the past, or did you focus on steep savings on pricier brand-name items that won't be affected by the new minimum? Do you think you'll be less likely to check 6pm for clothing deals? Let us know in the comments.