First, online retailers extended Black Friday with Cyber Monday and sales drastically increase year-to-year because of that. Now there seems to be yet another popular online sales day emerging called Free Shipping Day to be held December 16th this year.
What is Free Shipping Day?
As the name implies, Free Shipping Day is a day sometime in the middle of December designated for online retailers to offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
In 2010, more than 1,700 merchants from all 50 states participated and the official site saw 317,000 unique visitors. Online shoppers spent $942 million to make Free Shipping Day the third highest spending day of the 2010 holiday season, ultimately boosting online sales 61 percent from 2009.
Free Shipping Day was founded in 2008 by Luke and Maisie Knowles in an effort to extend the online shopping season. Statistics at the time showed online shopping peaked on Cyber Monday. Consumers believed they would not receive their online orders in time for Christmas after that date.
The first event was created in two weeks by Knowles and his FreeShipping.org team. Several hundred merchants participated and media attention was unusually high. In 2009, more than 750 retailers participated, with 350,000 plus sales taking place through FreeShippingDay.com. Merchant participation has more than doubled each subsequent year. Knowles talked with TIME Magazine blogger Brad Tuttle in 2010 about the role of free shipping as a promotional tool, saying, “I see a trend of free shipping offers around the holidays having a lower threshold than they have in years past…we are seeing more merchants offering free shipping on ALL orders”
Free Shipping Day was featured on NBC’s The Today Show, Fox Business, CNN and CBS’s Early Show, as well as in the New York Times, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, “O” Magazine and more than 70 other media outlets.
Should My Business Participate in Free Shipping Day?
I could not find how to officially join FreeShipping.org, but nevertheless we are still participating on our own online printing website. There is strong evidence that people prefer to not pay shipping ever, and since December is often weak in sales for us, we’re going to experiment with it. Its likely our rivals may participate so we don’t want to give prospects any reason not to choose us that day.
I would actually love to offer free shipping all year, but I just haven’t been able to make the numbers work unless I go up on all of our prices. I’d rather people know what they’re paying for rather than trying to hide shipping fees in our print products, but we’re still working the math to see if an influx in sales due to free shipping would outweigh the shipping costs and make us more profitable.
Every business is different, but one day of free shipping could be a way of attracting more sales for the holiday season and that’s our business tip of the week. Good luck!
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