In an interesting juxtaposition of headlines last week, Target announced free shipping on all holiday orders through Dec. 20. A day later, The Wall Street Journal came out with “Free Shipping Is Going to Cost You More,” highlighting the misnomer that is the “free shipping with minimum order” promotion. The article found the average order to qualify for free shipping is $82, up from $76 a year ago.
“The Wall Street Journal story is a much-needed response to those who believe free shipping is everywhere these days,” says Luke Knowles, CEO of FreeShipping.org. “Retailers may have a free shipping offer, but it typically doesn’t mean you’ll dodge delivery fees on any order.”
As a pioneer in the free shipping space, Knowles started FreeShipping.org in 2007 to help online shoppers avoid the delivery fees he disliked so much. A year later he founded Free Shipping Day, the one-day online event when shoppers can get free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve.
“Back then, free shipping was pretty rare and retailers were just discovering how powerful a promotion it could be,” continues Knowles. “It was, and continues to be, the number-one deal online shoppers respond to.”
Indeed, 69 percent of respondents to Accenture’s annual holiday spending survey said free shipping was their primary incentive for shopping online. Comscore’s 2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper found close to a third (30 percent) of respondents will hold off on buying online until free shipping is offered, while 50 percent will ditch their digital shopping carts if their orders don’t quality for free shipping.
The emphasis on “real” free shipping is what drove Knowles and his team to require merchants participating in Free Shipping Day to waive minimum order thresholds for the 2013 event. “We realized if we wanted retailers to offer true free shipping, trying to convince them a few days before our event wasn’t enough. We decided not to give them an option to offer anything less than real free shipping, and will continue that standard this year.”
Last year, close to 1,000 retailers participated in Free Shipping Day, pulling in an estimated $868 million in online sales. Knowles and his team are already working on this year’s December 18th event, ramping up for what will likely be another record-breaking online shopping season. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates consumers will complete over half (56 percent) of their holiday shopping online this year, a record-high in the organization’s 13-year history of surveying shoppers.
Free Shipping Day is scheduled this year for Thursday, Dec. 18. Visit www.freeshippingday.com for more information.
Article contributed by Kendal Perez (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Free Shipping Day.