The Halloween Treat Is Free Shipping For Christmas

According to a survey involving retailers that polled earlier this year about their holiday promotions and plans, 34.9% of respondents said they already offer free shipping all year, compared with 23.1% a year earlier. Of the rest of the retailers that do not offer free shipping all year, 16.3% said they would begin offering it as a holiday promotion this week (last week in October).

51.2% of online retailers surveyed planned to start their online holiday marketing promotions by Halloween, as there are only 26 days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, compared with 32 days in 2012. 31.8% plan to offer discounts earlier than they did last year.

When it comes to shipping and delivery, says the report, consumers care about more than just the price tag. A poll of 1,000 consumers by MarketLive, about their online holiday shopping preferences, finds:

  • 91% say they would take advantage of free standard shipping offers
  • 31% say free shipping is an incentive that would prompt them to pay full price for an order
  • 87% say a guarantee that an item will be delivered by the date promised is a top customer service priority
  • 72% say the option to buy or reserve a product online or via their mobile device for pickup in a store is the shopping feature that is most or second-most important to them

65% of online shoppers in that survey also say the option to give a gift card or gift certificate is one of the most important online gifting options and 52% say the same about a Wish List or registry feature that allows them to find out what others want.

Regarding loyalty:

  • 90% of MarketLive survey respondents say the lowest price makes them most loyal to retailers
  • 38% say loyalty and rewards programs
  • 51% say good overall customer service.\ finds, in its survey of online retailers, that 55.3% of retailers are optimizing e-mail for mobile as part of their holiday marketing strategies. 44.7% will use smartphone paid search campaigns, 21.3% text message campaigns, and 17.0% QR codes or other bar code scanning promotions.

Ken Burke, chairman of MarketLive, concludes that “…Online shoppers have become quite savvy… they have come to expect… free shipping… but the survey also uncovered… tactical things (for) online retailers… this holiday season… tangible gift cards, 24/7 customer service reps, and social sharing… to… compete successfully this holiday season…”

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