Free holiday shipping numbers increase

By Freddie Pierce
Free shipping promotions have built tremendous momentum in just one year according to Stamps.com, a provider of USPS postage online and shipping softwa...

Free shipping promotions have built tremendous momentum in just one year according to Stamps.com, a provider of USPS postage online and shipping software to over 400,000 customers. In its second annual survey on e-commerce shipping practices, Stamps.com reports that 68 percent of e-commerce sellers are planning to offer free shipping on more products during the 2011 holiday season, up from 53 percent in last year's holiday season.

Further backing the free shipping surge, 54 percent of survey respondents plan to offer the promotion on more than 50 percent of their holiday catalog -- an 11 percent increase from last year's holiday season. In addition, free shipping has proven to increase profits with 52 percent of respondents reporting that their average revenue per order increases by $8 or more.

“Remaining competitive requires online sellers to be aggressive with free shipping,” said Stamps.com President and CEO Ken McBride. “With Stamps.com, sellers have unparalleled access to the low-cost shipping services of the USPS, allowing them to offer robust free shipping promotions and grow sales.”

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Additional significant findings from survey respondents include:

- 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

- 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 Stamps.com customers who operate an e-commerce store.

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Edited by Kevin Scarpati
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