Free Shipping Rules the Holidays

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 30 Oct, 2013

When it comes to online shopping this holiday season, the retailer with the best shipping offer will win.

This is because data from Marketlive's annual online retailer survey for the 2013 holiday season reveals that 91 percent of shoppers will respond to a promotion that offers free standard shipping, while 87 percent will shop with the online retailer who can guarantee an on-time delivery date. Plus, 31 percent of survey respondents said that they would pay full price for a gift if they receive free shipping.

That said, retailers should also know that the majority (72 percent) of consumers want the ability to purchase or reserve a product online for later pickup at a brick-and-mortar store. However, it is important to note that the top gift of the holidays is still a traditional gift card, according to 65 percent of respondents. And, when it comes to popular shopping days, 69 percent of respondents plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, while 68 percent plan to shop online on Black Friday.

"Online shoppers have become quite savvy. They know how to comparison shop from their mobile phones and they have come to expect certain things like free shipping," said Ken Burke, founder and chairman of MarketLive. "But our survey also uncovered many tactical things that online retailers can do this holiday season-like tangible gift cards,  24/7 customer service reps and online ratings and social sharing-to attract customers, retain margins, and compete successfully this holiday season."

The study also shows that 52 percent of respondents want online retailers to have Wish List functionality or a registry where they can find what their friends want for the holidays. And, when it comes to loyalty, price matters. In fact, only 38 percent of respondents claim that they will be loyal to a retailer because of a rewards program, while 51 percent said their loyalty comes from customer service and 90 percent will be loyal to a retailer because of their prices.