Free-Shipping Day is dead. Long live free shipping!
The shopping holiday that began in 2008 as a way to boost online sales in mid-December will not be celebrated again this year, according to a note posted to its website. Entrepreneur Luke Knowles, who created the websites FreeShipping.org and FreeShippingDay.com, came up with the faux holiday to help juice e-commerce sales--luring procrastinators with free shipping on products that would arrive just in time for Christmas. During its peak, the site claims, it drove more than $1 billion in sales.
"It's been an incredible journey, but now it's time we settle in for a long winter's nap," reads the post on FreeShippingDay.com, the day's official website, noting the site will not be hosting the 11th annual event nor accepting business sign-ups. "We hope the spirit of Free Shipping Day lives on, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!"
The end of this shopping holiday signals a larger trend in the marketplace toward free shipping. A recent survey from Deloitte found that 88 percent of shoppers would rather avoid shipping fees than get their orders delivered faster. A different survey from the National Retail Federation shows that 47 percent of online shoppers would typically back out from a sale if shipping isn't free.
"Consumers today want what they want when they want it, and they don't expect to pay a premium to get it fast," Mark Mathews, vice president for research development and industry analysis for NRF, said in a statement announcing the NRF survey results.
While you may decide to charge for shipping throughout the year, doing so during the holidays can backfire. Here are four other holiday sales strategies to consider either this year or next.
As for FreeShippingDay.com, the site will live on, offering free-shipping deals and coupon codes for thrifty consumers.