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Survey: 68 Percent of E-Commerce Sellers to Offer Free Shipping on More Products in 2011 Holiday Season

November 18th, 2011

For e-commerce retailers, the holiday season can often be the most profitable time of the year. Savvy e-commerce sellers are offering more and more promotions to further increase profits and stay competitive, and this year’s Stamps.com survey shows that free shipping promotions can do just that.

In this, our second e-commerce shipping survey, free shipping shows a surge with 68 percent of sellers planning to offer the promotion on more products during the coming 2011 holiday season — a 15 percent increase from the 2010 holiday season. Also, 54 percent of sellers plan to offer free shipping promotions on 50 percent or more of their holiday collection, up from 43 percent in last year’s holiday season.

What’s the benefit of offering free shipping? Of survey respondents, 52 percent said the promotion increases their average revenue per order by $8 or more.

SECOND ANNUAL STAMPS.COM E-COMMERCE SHIPPING SURVEY RESULTS
The survey was conducted from October 31 to November 4, 2011 and was sent to current Stamps.com customers who operate an e-commerce store. Read on to learn more about the significant findings.

E-commerce sellers say free shipping increases average revenue per order
Stamps.com reports that 52 percent of e-commerce sellers who use free shipping as a promotion see their average revenue per order increase by $8 or more.

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E-commerce sellers are offering free shipping on more products in 2011 vs. 2010
Of survey respondents, 68 percent of e-commerce sellers are planning to offer the promotion on more products during the 2011 holiday season, up from 53 percent in last year’s holiday season.

question3 In fact, 54 percent of respondents will be offering free shipping on more than 50 percent of their holiday catalog — an 11 percent increase from the 2010 holiday season.

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Approximately 1 out of 2 customers expect free shipping
Of survey respondents, approximately half find that customers expect free shipping during the holidays.

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The holiday sales rush slows the productivity of shippers
Of survey respondents, 20 percent of e-commerce sellers are able to process and ship orders the same day during the holiday season, displaying a 5 percent decrease from non-holiday periods.

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The free shipping trend hasn’t affected product return policies
Of survey respondents, 66 percent said the customer is 100 percent responsible for shipping costs on returns.

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International markets contribute to profits
Of survey respondents, 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.

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 Why do e-commerce sellers choose not to offer free shipping?

Of survey respondents who are not offering free shipping, 44 percent said they lose money from the promotion, while 11 percent said the promotion does not increase sales.

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Are customers required to reach a minimum order amount to receive free shipping?
Of survey respondents, 51 percent said they do not require customers to reach a minimum order amount, while the remainder was unevenly split between e-commerce sellers who do require it of customers and those who require it on only on select products.

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How Much Do Customers Have to Spend to Get Free Shipping?
Of survey respondents who require a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping, 55 percent require an average order size of $50 or more.

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Competitiveness plays a small role in free shipping
Of survey respondents, less than half (43%) said their competitors’ free shipping promotions affect when they decide to offer free shipping.

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 Seller’s own websites are king when it comes to holiday sales
Of survey respondents, a seller’s own website is the leading source of online sales during the holidays at 39%.  Second was eBay at 31%, followed by Amazon at 17%. 

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