The fifth annual Free Shipping Day, hosted by FreeShipping.org, will be Monday, December 17. Free Shipping Day is an event for consumers to shop online and receive free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. The event offers great sales opportunities for online independent retailers, as a recent ComScore study reports that the number-one reason customers recommend a website is an offer of free shipping. Offering free shipping with a particular minimum purchase can help drive sales, too, with 70 percent of online shoppers surveyed saying they add items to their carts in order to qualify. Retailers can sign up to promote their free shipping offers, along with any other promotions of their choosing, at FreeShippingDay.com. According to the company, offering a discount, such as 10 percent, along with free shipping, gets the best response. Last year Free Shipping Day was on Friday, Dec. 16, and 2,600 retailers participated, according to FreeShipping.org. Online sales on Dec. 16 totaled $1.072 billion, making it the sixth heaviest web shopping day of the 2011 season.
The original goal in founding the one-day event, says founder Luke Knowles, was to promote online shopping later into December than was common five years ago. Knowles reportedly picked Dec. 17 this year because it is about the last date when orders placed online can be delivered in time for the holidays. Knowles says many e-retailers, whether they register to appear on FreeShippingDay.com or not, will benefit from the word-of-mouth and shopping frenzy the event generates. FreeShipping.org works with more than 4,000 retailers to showcase their free shipping deals year-round.