What All Retailers Should Know About National Free Shipping Day

 In Ecommerce

If you are an online retailer, you are always on the lookout for ways to attract new customers and generate more sales. Throughout the evolution of ecommerce, just a few online shopping holidays have evolved. You are already well aware of a few of them if you sell online. Colloquial shopping rushes such as Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) have always been known to spur sales of goods, as shoppers flock to online stores looking for deals that are the online equivalent to the brick and mortar shopping holiday, Black Friday (the first Friday after Thanksgiving).

Others include preholiday sales in nearly every genre, spanning the gambit from Valentine’s Day to Fathers’ Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Halloween and many others. But one online shopping holiday that you may be unaware of – which drives more revenue than just about any other – is called National Free Shipping Day. Here are some key facts about this online shopping holiday, so you can prepare in advance and prime your store for conversions.

What is National Free Shipping Day?

So just what is this online shopping holiday, and how did it begin? It was created by a husband and wife couple back in 2007, who created a website that offered a portal into a variety of online stores that offered free shipping. As ecommerce was picking up steam, the founder of this holiday thought that shoppers would embrace a means to find free shipping from trusted retailers as a way to avoid the madness of the brick and mortar holiday shopping rush.

By 2011, National Free Shipping Day had truly caught on. A ComScore press release drove the real numbers home. Over a four-day period, where participating online stores offered free shipping to consumers, an estimated $1 billion in sales were generated. In the following year, 2012, the holiday also generated over $1 billion. For that period, it was estimated that spending had increased by more than 76%, as compared to traditional retail spending on Thanksgiving weekend.

shipping-graphSince that time, the holiday is now celebrated around the year. Retailers that have any kind of free shipping offer can submit their store for listing on the holiday’s main website. In turn, this attracts a trove of customers who are eager to take advantage of the holidays.

National Free Shipping Day Shipping Facts

  • The holiday spans four days in December, with special retailer offers revealed by the 16th of the month each year.
  • This interesting holiday was based in part on studies that have found, both when it was started and at the present, that offering free shipping can increase sales by as much as 90%.
  • The first National Free Shipping day was designed and organized with just two weeks to spare.
  • Over the first three years of the holiday, retailer participation increased tenfold.
  • National Free Shipping Day has outdone Black Friday year over year, routinely generating more revenue.
  • In 2011 and beyond, the holiday generated $1 billion year over year.
  • In just 24 months of its creation, the holiday has become the third most popular online shopping holiday for ecommerce.

What Stores Participate?

According to Time Money, as of 2015, over 1,000 stores were participating in National Free Shipping Day. These range from conglomerates such as Amazon to big box stores such as Best Buy, apparel retailers like Forever 21, all the way down to medium-sized and boutique stores. Participating retailers promise a free shipping purchase by December 24th of each year. Consumers can participate at no cost. Retailers have to follow the instructions provided by Free Shipping Holiday in order to submit their store for listing.

Why Free Shipping Sells More Products

Ecommerce is popular for many reasons. However, convenience is at the top of the list. But convenience can often be sullied by the notion of added cost. Over the past decade, consumers have come to expect more from online retailers. Marketplaces like Amazon have catered to this, setting new standards with low or free shipping prices and convenient, hassle-free returns.

Just take a look at these free shipping facts:

  • 83% of consumers will wait two or more days to receive an item if free shipping is offered (ComScore).
  • 58% of consumers will add multiple items to a shopping cart to qualify for free shipping (ComScore).
  • 90% of consumers say that free shipping is one the most desired ecommerce amenities (Marketing Land).

As the metrics above suggest, free shipping adds a unique value and amenity that many consumers have grown to love, and that most expect. One reason is that consumers see the price of your product, one number, but then head to the shopping cart to checkout, only to be hit with another, higher number, or an unexpected cost.

untitledThis added cost is one of the top 21 reasons why consumers abandon shopping carts. While it’s reasonable that most stores can’t afford to absorb the cost of free shipping all of the time, it does help us better understand why and how a free shipping holiday can be so popular and profitable to retailers.

If you are looking to give your sales a serious boost this year, consider how offering free shipping over a select few days may help. It could just create that profit windfall you’ve been seeking this holiday season. For further clarity, take a look at the infographic we’ve created below to find out how free shipping can help boost your sales.

Free Shipping and CUstomers