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Free Shipping Promotions Are a Given for Retailers

A few fulfillment options are still less common

September 22, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

Most retailers worldwide offer a selection of free shipping options to customers, at least some of the time, research revealed. Retailers can still differentiate by offering ways to fine-tune shipping to customer needs.

Frequency with Which Retailers Worldwide* Offer Select Fulfillment Options to Customers, April 2016 (% of respondents)

Market intelligence company Retail Systems Research (RSR) surveyed 100 retailers from the US, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Most offered some form of free shipping, whether that’s free ship-to-store or free shipping with strings like minimum order size , at least sometimes. However, there are some options that retailers are much less likely to offer. For example, a third of respondents said they never offer membership-only quicker shipping options, something Amazon successfully does. And an additional 35% said they never offer incentives for consumers to select slower shipping options.

Areas in Which Retail Executives Worldwide* Plan to Invest in Omnichannel Initiatives, Dec 2015 (% of respondents)

Those incentives could be a way to win customers. February 2016 research found that two in five US digital buyers typically used economy ground shipping, and were fine with waiting five to seven days for their items. Other promotions may be more valuable to these shoppers than fast free shipping.

Offering a variety of fulfillment options is one of the main ways retail executives worldwide are investing in omnichannel initiatives. A survey from retail software solutions provider JDA, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that more than half of respondents planned to extend the options they offered for order fulfillment. And nearly as many said they would be expanding their supply chain capabilities to do so.


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