Email And Free Shipping Woos Online Shoppers

According to a new release from Kantar Media Compete, successful retailers are using free shipping, sales and email promotions to attract increasingly budget-conscious consumers. The study found that nearly one in three consumers receive more than 20 emails from retailers in a week. And, 89% of respondents at least occasionally click through to a retail site from an email or visit a retail site immediately after reading an email.

SMS, on the other hand, is still a largely untapped channel for brands to reach shoppers. During a typical week, three out of four consumers (72.2%) don't receive any text messages from retailers.

35% of respondents say that Twitter feeds have been influential or extremely influential on purchase decisions, while 23.5% say that Facebook has been influential or extremely influential on purchase decisions

72.6% of shoppers wait for items to go on sale before they make a purchase. As additional proof of consumer restraint, 55% indicated that they are spending less on entertainment now than a year ago. And 60% of consumers buy private label

products if they are cheaper than the equivalent brand name products.

One in five respondents used a coupon code on their most recent online purchase and nearly 60% said that they wouldn't have made their most recent online purchase without a coupon code. 37% report using coupons most of the time.
Three in four consumers surveyed said that free shipping would encourage them to purchase more products online. Other key purchasing motivators, all related to shipping as well, include:

  • Free returns (56.3%)
  • Faster shipping (40.8%)
  • In-store pickup option (39.6%)

Offerings That Would Encourage Online Purchases (% of Respondents)


% of Respondents

Free shipping


Free returns


In-store return option


Ability to use in-store coupons online


Faster shipping


In-store pick up option


Better selection


Easier site navigation


More payment options


Source: Kantar Media, September 2011

As free shipping becomes increasingly mainstream, consumers have come to expect it. 45.7% of respondents received free shipping on their most recent online purchase and more than 60% avoid purchasing products online if they have to pay extra for shipping.

As an example, says the report, L.L. Bean introduced free shipping on all orders without restriction and saw a drop in shopping cart abandonment among unique visitors, though there was no noticeable decline when looking at all visits. Free shipping may entice shoppers to make more visits to the site, confirmed by the bump in repeat visitation to the site in April.

Matt Pace, Kantar Media Compete managing director of retail and consumer products, says "... the proliferation of free shipping is forcing retailers to decide whether the additional orders they gain by offering free shipping will offset the initial loss of shouldering this cost..."

To view more from Kantar Media Compete, please visit here.

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