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Is Your Small Business Ready for Free Shipping Day?

September 18th, 2012 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Is your ecommerce business hoping to compete with big retailers and e-tailers this holiday season? If so, you already know that offering free shipping can make all the difference in whether customers click “buy” or just leave items sitting in their online shopping carts.

More than 250 ecommerce companies, including Lands’ End and Kohl’s, have already signed up for Free Shipping Day. This one-day, online event offers consumers free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. This year, Free Shipping Day will be Monday, December 17. Since Mondays are typically the busiest online shopping days of the week, event founder Luke Knowles says he expects Free Shipping Day sales to match or exceed sales on Cyber Monday.

In 2010, Free Shipping Day beat Black Friday’s online sales by nearly $300 million, and last year, Internet Retailer reported Free Shipping Day had the lowest shopping cart abandonment rate of any day in the last six months of 2011.

You don’t have to be a big company to participate in Free Shipping Day—you just have to guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. You can offer free shipping with restrictions (such as only on orders over a certain dollar amount), or free shipping with discounts (like 10 percent off plus free shipping) to help drive additional sales. You can even limit your offer to end at a certain time of day or when supplies of products run out.

Now in its fifth year, Free Shipping Day continues to get lots of publicity in outlets from The New York Times and “O” Magazine to Fox News, as well as regional newspapers and news broadcasts. Participating companies get listed on the Free Shipping Day website.

The National Retail Federation estimates imports of merchandise in August, September and October will be 8.9 percent higher than last year—forecasting a strong holiday season ahead. Joining Free Shipping Day can help you be part of it.  Visit the website to fill out the merchant signup form.

Image by Flickr user VFS Digital Design (Creative Commons)


Holiday Shopping Season Is Here – Are You Ready for Free Shipping Day?

September 28th, 2011 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Last year free shipping took on greater importance than ever for ecommerce websites. With price issues foremost on consumers’ minds last holiday season and again this year, many shoppers won’t even consider buying from a site that doesn’t offer free shipping (I know – I’m one of them). In fact, one recent survey showed that 90 percent of consumers spend more when offered free delivery, while nearly half will abandon their shopping cart if met with high shipping fees at checkout.

Even if you’re not able to offer free shipping all holiday season long, if you can offer free shipping on just one day—December 16, 2011—you can participate in Free Shipping Day. Last year, Free Shipping Day 2010 eclipsed even Black Friday in online sales, generating $942 million in sales. This year, retailers are expecting even bigger sales, and some predict that Free Shipping Day might surpass Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) in online sales this year.

Want to be part of Free Shipping Day? Visit the merchant sign-up page at FreeShippingDay.com and simply fill out the form. You must guarantee that orders placed on December 16 will be delivered by Christmas Eve. You have the choice to offer free shipping on all orders, or free shipping with restrictions (such as free shipping on orders of $49 or more), but be aware that last year, the merchants that offered free shipping on all orders received most of the click-throughs and sales.

Participating in Free Shipping Day is also a great way to take advantage of last-minute shoppers, since December 16 is one of the last opportunities for online shoppers to receive free shipping from merchants in time for Christmas. Last year, more than 1,750 merchants participated in Free Shipping Day, a 700 percent increase from the 250 retailers in 2008, the first year the event was held.

“Given the record-breaking success of 2010′s event, we fully expect to meet or exceed 2,000 merchants this year,” said event founder Luke Knowles, adding that more than 300 merchants have already signed up, including big names like Kohl’s, Bed Bath and Beyond and Cabela’s. Knowles is co-founder of the year-round site FreeShipping.org.

Free Shipping Day has also garnered lots of media attention, and has been featured in every format – video, audio, print and online – by media including The New York Times, “O” Magazine, Woman’s Day and Fox News, as well as hundreds of regional newspapers and broadcasts. With a Facebook page that you can point your Facebook fans to as well, this year’s Free Shipping Day is definitely worth checking out.

Image by Flickr user Ashley Webb (Creative Commons)