Do you know about the e-commerce holiday Free Shipping Day? It’s coming next week on December 15, and it’s a great way to once again insert your business into the conversation around holiday shopping. If you’re not already offering free shipping as a default, Free Shipping Day is a great way to test it out for 24 hours and get more sales in the process! Let’s cover some things to know so you can make the most of this one-day event for your online business.
What is Free Shipping Day?
Free Shipping Day is a one-day event held annually in mid-December. On the promotional holiday, consumers can shop from both large and small online merchants that offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. The 2017 event is scheduled for Friday, December 15.
Free Shipping Day was started in 2008 by Luke and Maisie Knowles, founders of Coupon Sherpa and FreeShipping.org, in an effort to extend the online shopping season. Statistics at the time showed online shopping peaked on Cyber Monday, generally held the week immediately following Black Friday. Consumers believed they would not receive their online orders in time for Christmas after that date.
How do I create buzz around my participation?
Put on your creative marketing hat and fire up your marketing channels. You’ll definitely want to send an email to customers letting them know you’re participating and reminding them there’s still time to ship their orders before the holiday weekend.
Segment customers into categories and write at least a couple different approaches to maximize interest. Try targeting people who haven’t shopped with you in a while and entice them to come back to take advantage of this single-day sale. Target regular customers to remind them that you’re here for them in a pinch and that they can still get the gifts they want to be delivered.
Since this is a one-day event, don’t be afraid to treat it like a flash sale in your communications, too. Send emails, post to social media, and create a sense of urgency to SHOP NOW.
How can I afford to participate?
This comes down to the rates you’re paying for shipping. For example, ShippingEasy customers get Commercial Plus Pricing on USPS shipments. This saves eCommerce sellers up to 46% on their shipping, making it much easier to offer something like free shipping—particularly in a short-term window like this Free Shipping Day holiday.
Whatever software you use to ship should use shipping rules and automation to help you decide which method of shipping will be best depending on the size and weight of your package, where it’s going, and when it needs to arrive. By optimizing your shipping methods, you can minimize the cost to your bottom line when offering free shipping.
Which shipping methods should I offer for Free Shipping Day?
To make sure your participation in Free Shipping Day doesn’t turn into a customer service nightmare, you need to be familiar with the holiday shipping deadlines for each carrier, and which services are available to you at the best prices.
As you can see in this graphic (click to see a larger, high-resolution version), with Free Shipping Day falling on Friday, December 15, you can still use USPS First Class Mail, Priority Mail (try our free calculator and check your costs), and Priority Mail Express methods. If you have international customers in Canada, Priority Mail Express International is also still an option.
UPS 3-Day Select and FedEx Home Delivery are options still available to you, but be aware that these come with possible surcharges and are already not the most cost-effective methods. UPS, in particular, will be tacking on a 27-cent surcharge the week before Christmas, which can be difficult for smaller merchants to absorb when offering shipping for last-minute orders. Since Free Shipping Day falls on a Friday, you’d need to get these out Saturday or deal with the added fee when shipping UPS.
You don’t want to miss your opportunity to jump on a holiday like this that is specific to online merchants. With some quick thinking and planning, you can make it work for you and grow your orders last-minute.
Need to get better rates so you can participate in Free Shipping Day without taking a huge loss? Take ShippingEasy for a spin, FREE for 30 days. Click the button below to get started!