There have long been a couple of main attractions to online shoppers. First is (was?) the absence of a sales tax for product shipments. The other is free shipping, a practice that many retailers have adopted in order to keep up with the Joneses, or, in this case, Amazon.com Inc. (NYSE: AMZN).
A tradition now in its ninth year, Free Shipping Day, is a moveable feast that occurs nine days before Christmas Eve. The promise: Merchants must offer free shipping on all orders and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve for orders placed on December 16.
Luke Knowles, founder of Free Shipping Day, reported Tuesday morning that more than 400 retailers have signed up for the promotion, and many more are expected:
Since our event is a couple days earlier than last year, we could see participation numbers reach close to 2,000. [While] it’s difficult to compete during the holiday season without a free shipping offer, [Free Shipping Day] continues to be the most popular online promotion.
Among the retailers already on board are Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Cabela’s Inc. (NYSE: CAB) and Macy’s Inc.’s (NYSE: M) Bloomingdale stores. These major retailers are joined by literally hundreds of specialty online shops selling everything from bar stools to quilts to customized golf balls.
According to Tuesday’s announcement, consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to fulfill their holiday gift lists. The National Retail Federation reported that 57% of shoppers questioned in a recent survey plan to shop online this season. In another study conducted by PR firm Walker Sands, 88% of shoppers said they are more likely to buy online when free shipping is offered.
For an up-to-date listing of retailers offering free shipping on December 16, visit the Free Shipping Day website.