The Free-Shipping Catch: Brands Have To Offer It If They Want The Order

Despite the easing of in-person restrictions, consumers are eager to continue shopping online. But they want free shipping. Can brands provide that and back it up with AI-driven email capabilities and effective calls to action?

A new study by Ware2Go found that 79% of Americans increased their digital shopping during the pandemic, and that 89% plan to do as much or more online now that they are no longer locked in. Plus, 31% have an urge to spend more.  

The big motivator is no big surprise — 54% of shoppers say free shipping would prompt them to shop more. Indeed, 80% are more likely to buy online if the brand offers it. And 69% are more likely to click on an ad that offers fast, free shipping.

Emails that stress free shipping are likely to get opened, provided the product offer is relevant. Ecommerce brands that send hyper-personalized emails are most likely to thrive in this environment. 



If anything, 40% of consumers say the pandemic increased their expectations for free shipping. While curbside pickup boomed during that period, 54% chose this option out of immediate necessity, and 40% because shipping was too expensive. 

In fact, twice as many respondents prefer one-to-two day shipping over preferred curbside pickup.

Apart from that, 42% say one-to-two day shipping would convince them to buy more, and 75% would be more likely to make a purchase with this feature. 

Despite all this, shoppers are more likely to purchase these items in-store than online:

  1. Groceries
  2. Clothing
  3. Cleaning products
  4. Furniture
  5. Nutritional supplements
  6. As for returns, 20% have preferred to keep items they were unhappy with instead of returning them, and 44% were reliant on some form of airmail to handle their returns. 

“The pandemic pushed people to take more of their business and shopping online, and now that shoppers have had a taste of that convenience, the bar for merchants has again been raised to compete and win,” states Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton.

Denton adds: “Our research shows that shipping speed directly impacts brand loyalty and that brands have an incentive to prioritize sustainability.”

Propeller Insights surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers on behalf of Ware2Go in May 2021. 


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