EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2679 - November 22, 2011     4 of 4

Growing Number of Sellers Plan Free Shipping Offers for Holiday Shoppers

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A greater number of online sellers are planning to offer free shipping on more products during the 2011 holiday season - 68% compared to 53% last year, according to a survey conducted by, a provider of Internet-based postage services. "Remaining competitive requires online sellers to be aggressive with free shipping," said President and CEO Ken McBride.

The survey found that 54% of online sellers plan to offer the promotion on more than 50 percent of their holiday catalog - an 11% increase from last year. In addition, 52% of respondents reported their average revenue per order increased by $8 or more.

When asked if customers expect free shipping to be included with purchases during the holidays, retailers were split - 56% said yes, 44% said no. Of the survey respondents who said they were not offering free shipping, 44% said they lose money from the promotion, while 11% said the promotion does not increase sales.

Additional significant findings from survey respondents include:

  • 20 percent of ecommerce sellers are able to process and ship orders the same day during the holiday season, displaying a 5 percent decrease from non-holiday periods;
  • 66 percent said the customer is 100 percent responsible for shipping costs on returns;
  • 82 percent project that at least some of their holiday revenue will come from international purchases, while 11 percent project international sales to account for more than a third of their holiday sales.

The survey was conducted from October 31 to November 4, 2011 and was sent to current customers who operate an ecommerce store. More information about the survey is available on the website.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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