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Confusion over shipping costs

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 17, 2011

The National Retail Federation is reminding consumers that Free shipping isn’t free…but it works.

According to the NRF, there’s a dirty little secret: retailers have a love/hate relationship with free shipping. Why? For starters, it’s hardly free – after all, somebody has to pay for the but shoppers have tunnel vision for this incentive and have come to expect free shipping like they expect low prices. And retailers are listening.

NRF notes that, is predicting that a record 92.5 percent of online retailers will offer free shipping this holiday season – and “that’s not only going to be a Cyber Monday staple.”

Free shipping offers are likely to be found all holiday season long, as 56 percent of retailers say their budgets for free shipping are higher this holiday season than last and one-third say free shipping offers will start earlier in the season than last year.

The dilemma for retailers has become weighing the “conditions” surrounding free shipping. What’s the minimum purchase required for shipping to be free? Which items are included (or excluded)?

Currently, it seems like retailers will be promoting free shipping with conditions most often but a handful are planning some “no minimum” promotions on key spending days.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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