Online Retailers Expanding Shipping Offers to Increase Online Sales
Although many people prefer skipping the long lines at brick and mortar stores to shop online – particularly when it comes to last minute shopping or shopping in temperatures like we’ve had this week- shipping cost and delays are trade offs for customers that retailers aim to minimize.
Increasing online sales with free shipping
Free shipping has been a solution offered by many top online retailers this past holiday season to increase last minute online sales and attract budget conscious shoppers. Internet Retailer cited the popularity of shopping holidays such as Free Shipping Day, as well as data from FreeShipping.com, as evidence that retailers are responding to customers’ demands for free shipping .
More than 1 million consumers signed up for FreeShipping.com to gain access to free shipping offers from a variety of online retailers, ranging from Victoria’s Secret to Best Buy. According to FreeShipping.com, the number of visitors who logged into the site this year grew 25 percent compared to the same time frame last year.
A separate report from Internet Retailer found that approximately one-third of online retailers in the top 1,000 offered free shipping for orders of any dollar amount and nearly half of online retailers in the top 100 offer free shipping.
Some online retailers are even capitalizing on consumers demands by offering premium delivery services. The biggest leader in that regard is Amazon with its Prime service, which offers subscribers free, two-day shipping for more than 22 million items sold on the online marketplace.
Increasing online sales with faster shipping
Amazon also offered Amazon Prime customers local express delivery during the holidays to drive last-minute online sales, which allowed customers to order items online on December 24 and still receive them in time for the holidays.
Other online retailers are implementing eCommerce software to cut operating costs and speed up delivery by routing orders to the closest warehouse or fulfillment center to the customer.
Online retailers are also utilizing their brick and mortar store locations as fulfillment centers. If a product is out of stock at the warehouse, a product may be pulled from the sales floor to fulfill an online order and ship to the customer via their local Fed Ex or UPS. This eliminates the time it would take to wait for a purchase order of new stock to arrive at the warehouse. At the same time, a customer may choose to order online and pick the product up at the store nearby.
By having a number of different options available to get products into the hands of customers quickly, retailers are able to gain a significant advantage over competitors and satisfy customer demands.