68% of shoppers will not complete half or more of their orders when no free shipping option is available, according to a Digital Commerce 360/Toluna Free Shipping report based on 969 consumers.

All I want for Christmas is free shipping. A quick look at the shoppers surveyed as part of a Digital Commerce 360/Toluna Free Shipping report based on 969 consumers found that free shipping is the great equalizer as 91% of shoppers have not placed an online order when free shipping was not offered. Additionally, 68% of shoppers will not complete half or more of their orders when no free shipping option is available.

I am one of those people who failed to order when free shipping was not present. Of course, if I absolutely need something, I might pay for shipping as 46% of those surveyed concurred, though I certainly wouldn’t be happy about it. I have learned over the years which retailers make this perk available, how to secure it as a promotion and where a promotional code can be found via a Google search.

Additionally, our November, 2019 Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights research suggested that the most important factors in choosing retailers when shopping for the holidays were competitive prices (76%) and free shipping (70%). I might not always be concerned about prices, but I always know I hate to pay for shipping.S

When it came to taking advantage of promotional days this holiday season, our surveyed shoppers advised that Cyber Monday would see the greatest shopping traction (60%), followed closely by Black Friday (56%). As it turns out, free shipping was so beloved in the shopping community that they made it a holiday. To think that Free Shipping Day would even come close at 41% was shocking to me. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as most shoppers probably share a similar sentiment to mine about this coveted offer.

Thinking about this holiday season, I have my favorite sites, and finding free shipping is usually a given for each of these. Amazon comes with Prime and Zappos is always in the mix. Beyond that, I can count on Target because, even if shipping isn’t free, I can still pick it up in store. Best Buy and The Home Depot are always handy for the DIY shoppers and electronics mavens, and they too have extended free shipping to their holiday shoppers.

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There are many workarounds for shoppers. I have been known to cheat as I hoped to hit the minimum threshold. I’m sure many shoppers do the same, ordering something extra only to return it to the store or back to the retailer. I will always sign up for a retailer’s email, and I often get 20% off my order and free shipping–now that is a real bonus day. Omnichannel can play an important role as well. Take the all-important apparel and home categories. 56% of online apparel shoppers and 51% of online home goods shoppers choose to visit a physical store as they don’t want to pay for shipping, according to the Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights 2019 Apparel survey and 2019 Home Goods survey.

Does this mean I never pay for free shipping? Of course not. If I can’t find free shipping, I explore whether or not it is a good deal based on the overall order value and factor in the shipping charges. If it seems to be reasonable, then I might pay but I will sulk for at least 5 minutes.

 Remember, there also is a time value of money, where one can spend so much time trying to save $10 that I would encourage my fellow shoppers to surrender. And speaking of surrendering, here are a few thoughts about when I might succumb:

  • I haven’t reached the minimum threshold and don’t want to waste my time ordering more only to return it
  • If it’s a must-have item for me or my family
  • If it’s on my kid’s wish list
  • If it’s truly a better deal to pay and take the promotion being offered
  • If it’s being expedited, no need to worry about shipping costs

Lastly, there are few rules that have been shared by Santa’s helpers that will help to deliver a successful free shipping holiday:

  • Always sign up for emails that give you an incentive on your next order and especially free shipping.
  • Keep free shipping retailers top-of-mind.
  • Watch your email, as free shipping doesn’t magically appear when you go directly to the site.
  • Sign up for free loyalty programs where you can receive free shipping as there’s nothing to lose.

 One final wish

As it turns out, shoppers have similar sentiments about paying for returns as they do for shipping. Thus, they have also gravitated to securing free return shipping. It’s instructional to also see that 72% of online shoppers ranked free return shipping as No. 1 in importance when it comes to features that contribute to a superior shopping experience. If you can extend this offer, shoppers will be forever grateful.

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