Free Shipping Day is Now Free Shipping + Day

Like Hallmark, which has successfully made up holidays to sell cards, our industry has come up with promotional events to bait more sales in the home stretch of Holiday shopping. FREE SHIPPING DAY (December 18th), as it has now been coined, marks the calendar as a key online Holiday shopping date.  More than 1,000 retailers offer free shipping, but a majority offer it daily during the Holiday season… so is this really a differentiating factor to spur incremental action on December 18th?  If the fact that retailers have now been creating combo offers to sweeten the deal is any indication, the answer is No. Free Shipping is no longer the driving force behind the event for which it is coined.  The day has become just another way to highlight the opportunity to shop deep discounts AND get free shipping.

So how did retailers fare on Free Shipping Day this year vs. last? Our retailers saw a 17% increase in Revenue YoY – not a bad showing on a day where competition is fierce. The big story this year continues to be the large growth in impression volume over last year. Our clients on average are seeing 32% more impressions.  We owe the increased visibility to Google and Bing Product Ads, as more ads = more impressions.  That said, CTR took a hit with a 13% decline.  This is not surprising to us… after all, if you have 3-4 ads on one page, a shopper can only click on one.  Even with CTR down and CPCs up (17%), retailers were able to drive some strong topline numbers. Only time will tell what impact the margin hit they are taking to be competitive on Free Shipping+ Day will do to the bottom line.

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