Guaranteed Free Shipping By Christmas

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comScore reported that consumer spending rose 16% to $38.7 billion online, compared with the year-ago days, which correspond with the first 51 days of the November–December 2012 holiday season.

And while consumers have begun to feel more comfortable searching and buying online, did brand emails promising free shipping and delivery by Christmas prompt consumers to make online purchases four days prior to C-day? It did for me.

While ecommerce gives small retailers opportunities to reach more consumers, the big ones can take advantage of the ability to expedite shipping within the last few days before Christmas.

Through an email promotion, Neiman Marcus promised the delivery of goods on Monday even when making a purchase on the prior Saturday for those last-minute shoppers who didn't want to brave the stores but might have forgotten something.

Aside from the promise of a speedy delivery, many retailers kicked off Free Shipping Day on Dec. 17, delivering 76% growth to $1.01 billion in spending compared with the prior Monday's sales, according to comScore.

Facebook also joined in to the last-minute gift giving online trend. Members could click through an ad at the top of their home page where they have a choice of choosing from several gift and categories, such as "Gifts Under $25," "iTunes Digital Gifts," "Doodle Aprons for Adults," or goodies without free shipping from "Adventurous Strawberries."  

The iTunes digital gift card allows the member to choose from a variety of cards, such as Christmas, Chanukah or New Year's. Or just because, miss you, thank you, sorry, love and more.

As online sales continue to climb, ecommerce companies could see the next wave of venture capital funding in 2013. There were between 40 and 60 VC-backed IPO deals per year during the last three years, according to Renaissance Capital, but only seven e-commerce companies have gone public since 2007. Four companies lost more than 70% from their offer prices, including 2012 for IPO CafePress.

Happy holidays. Be safe.

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2 comments about "Guaranteed Free Shipping By Christmas".
  1. Suzy Sandberg from PM Digital , December 25, 2012 at 7:19 a.m.
    Hi Laurie. Merry Christmas. One thing we found really interesting was a sizeable lift in online shopping starting this past Thursday. Those retailers who had later shipping cutoffs saw big gains in the last 2 or 3 days, and those with early shipping cutoffs lost the last minute sales. We have never seen seen that big of a last minute surge before in online shopping. Usually sales pitter out by free shipping day. The sales curve this year versus prior years looks very different when doing YOY comparisons, especially when you add in the huge gains the week of Thanksgiving and then a falloff most online retailers saw the week after Cyber Monday.
  2. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan , December 26, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.
    One more question for those reading this blog: How many emails were sent to disappointed consumers when the retailer couldn't fill the order because the online item oversold? Ordering systems must tie into Web site promotions, but many don't. (Thanks for the insight, Suzy, on last-minute ordering.)