3 Steps for Merchants to Leverage Free Shipping Day
The holiday shopping season is just getting underway, and you’re likely busy confirming placements and promotional opportunities to maximize exposure and conversions. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important events, but research suggests they’re less important to consumers than they once were. According to a recent survey conducted by Accenture, fewer people plan to shop on Black Friday due to the perception that they can get the same deals on other days. What’s more, PwC reports that 70 percent of shoppers will not finish their holiday spending until after Black Friday.
As organizers of a popular holiday shopping event, we know how important it is to capture consumers’ attention during this crucial time. The 10th Annual Free Shipping Day on Dec. 15 is poised to be bigger than ever, thanks in part to shoppers’ growing preference for online shopping this holiday season. The same Accenture survey found 54 percent are more likely to shop online this year than in-store, and free shipping continues to be in high demand with 53 percent of shoppers reporting free delivery as a top consideration in purchasing decisions.
As the only free shipping-centric holiday shopping day this season, Free Shipping Day represents a unique opportunity to boost Q4 exposure and sales. The popularity of the event is expressed both in the impressive sales and media coverage it receives. During its flagship event in 2008, Free Shipping Day earned $764 million in sales with 250 participating retailers. By 2011, Free Shipping Day became a $1 billion ecommerce event and cemented itself within the holiday shopping lexicon.
It’s notable that a small business of fewer than 12 employees manages Free Shipping Day, but what’s even more remarkable is that participation is free. Paid placements are available but not required, giving small retailers with limited marketing budgets an unparalleled opportunity to promote themselves alongside such big names as Target and Harry & David. To help merchants of all sizes maximize their participation in Free Shipping Day this year, here are three essential considerations:
Plan your offer
First thing’s first, plan an exceptional offer to increase conversions. As a requirement, all merchants must offer free shipping on all purchases and promise delivery by Dec. 24 for orders placed between 12 a.m. ET and 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 15.
Offers that perform best on Free Shipping Day include a discount for extra savings, like “free shipping and 20% off.” Today’s consumer is discounted-oriented, so consider going beyond the free-shipping-on-all-orders offer if possible. This year, in honor of Free Shipping Day’s 10th anniversary, we’re giving merchants the opportunity to include a “10” in their offer and be featured in a special section on the website on Dec. 15. The offer can be “10% off” or “$10 off,” and can include a code like “FREESHIPPINGDAY10” or “FSD10.”
Submit your information
Merchants can submit their offer through the sign-up page on the Free Shipping Day website. Specific requirements are detailed on the form, but at minimum merchants must offer free shipping on all orders with promised delivery by Christmas Eve. Upon approval, merchants will receive an email confirming participation.
Our team will take submissions up until the site goes live on Dec. 15. With over 1,000 merchants expected to participate this year, it’s best to get your offer in as soon as possible!
Promote your participation
One of the many advantages of participating in Free Shipping Day includes the top-tier media attention it receives. Previous events have been featured on Good Morning America, the TODAY Show, the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and many other high-visibility outlets.
Since the event receives so much national and regional coverage, it’s imperative that merchants promote their participation to customers. Include Free Shipping Day in newsletters to subscribers and highlight your involvement on social media. Tag #ShopFreeShippingDay in relevant social media shares for an opportunity to be featured in the event’s social media posts and campaigns.