How important is free shipping for consumers?

How important is free shipping for consumers?

How important is free shipping for consumers? According to the 2014 United Parcel Service Pulse of the Online Shopper report, very.

In a survey of 5,800 consumers who shop online, 58 percent of customers have gone so far as to add items to their shopping cart to be able to take advantage of free shipping offers. Four out of five consumers believe free shipping to be a significant factor in their online purchase decisions. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to wait for two additional days if they could receive free shipping. Not only that, but the survey discovered the lengths customers would go to in order to qualify for free shipping:

  • They would choose the slowest shipping option to receive free shipping (50%)
  • The would perform an online search for a promo code for free shipping (47%)
  • They would opt for shipping an item to a store (35%)
  • They would join a loyalty program to gain free shipping access (31%)
  • They would postpone ordering an item and instead wait for a free shipping offer (30%)
  • They would shop at the physical location instead of ordering the item online (28%)
  • They would buy a different item priced above the minimum free shipping threshold (16%)

Only 7 percent of participants said they would do nothing to qualify for free shipping.

James Gurd of Digital Juggler, an ecommerce consultancy, commented:

“My view is that if you can offer free delivery without it compromising your business model, then that’s great value to the customer. However, it takes away the use of free delivery as an incentive. […]Should free delivery be standard? I don’t think it has to be but free delivery does remove one barrier to checkout conversion as has been evidenced by numerous studies. But it has to be commercially viable.”

Source: “How far will customers go to qualify for free shipping?” 2014. Econsultancy.com

“Study: Consumers Demand More Flexibility When Shopping Online.” 2014. Comscore.com

Image Source: Yoel Ben-Avraham: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epublicist/


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