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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 20, 2008

Flaunt your free delivery

Consumers are going online to do their holiday shopping as a way of saving time and money, especially on gas, which makes offering free delivery a powerful way of attracting new customers.

by Helen Leggatt

By offering free shipping on Internet orders, not only do your potential customers benefit from shopping from home but they are also not being penalized for doing so by incurring delivery charges. Amazon has recently dropped its minimum order value by two-thirds in the run up to Christmas.

To make the most of your free delivery offer, ensure that consumers are made aware of the offer details at every opportunity including via email communications, offline promotions, search ads and in product information.

Linda Bustos of e-commerce blog Get Elastic recently wrote of several ways in which consumers can be made aware of free delivery offers, many of which I have summarized below:

1. Email marketing - use free delivery calls to action in subject lines, making sure to reiterate the offer in the body of the email message.

2. Meta tags / descriptions - revise your tags and descriptions to reflect your free delivery policy.

3. Search ads - highlight free shipping offers in search ads, be sure to test different formats and wording.

4. Shopping comparison sites - take advantage of optional promotion fields when using price comparison sites to promote products. Many users of comparison engines make searches for "free delivery".

5. Website homepage - devote prime positions on your website's home or landing pages to promote free delivery with links to detailed policy information.

6. Website product/category pages - push the free delivery message at every opportunity where a buying decision is being made in particular on category and product pages.

7. Affiliates - let your affiliates know about free delivery options and encourage their use of the promotion to increase clicks.

8. Checkout - for many consumers the checkout is where surprise charges and delivery fees are often encountered, sometimes referred to as "shipping shock". For those who have managed to miss out on all the other touchpoints above, the final place to please your customer with free delivery offers is at the checkout. If you have a minimum spend to qualify for free delivery, the checkout should flag the amount needed to qualify and perhaps offer relevant accessories or products that complement the consumers existing purchases to bring the spend level up, if required.

Tags: affiliates, checkout, comparison engines, email marketing, free delivery, meta tags, product page, promotion, shipping shock

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