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Did Free Shipping Day Do the Trick for Small Biz?

Posted By Susan Payton On December 22, 2011 @ 2:30 pm In Retail Trends | 3 Comments

Free Shipping Day [1] was December 12 in Canada [2] and December 16, 2011 in the United States — and consumers, naturally, ate it up. But did it do what it was supposed to do for small businesses? Did it provide an extra shot of revenue during the busy holiday season? Let’s check in on Twitter to see what people had to say.

Procrastinators, Your Time Has Come (to Shop)


Notice that @CouponCabin was spreading the word to encourage shopping.  “And the shoppers went wild!” as you can see from the person responding to @CouponCabin ….



And then you had interested people like Susan Wenner Jackson [3] (@SusanWJackson) spreading the word to help her followers with a tip.

And these tweets were just the tip of the iceberg.  All over Twiter, consumers tweeted free shipping codes and shared links on Free Shipping Day. According to ComScore, 36% of shoppers [4] say they wouldn’t make an online purchase without free shipping, so the frenzy was understandable on Friday.

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Difficult Numbers to Quantify


Donna Feldman [5], a business coach, also spread the word.  It truly became a grassroots community movement, with word of mouth sharing made easier by Twitter.

While 2,582 companies registered on FreeShippingDay.com [6], there were untold numbers who did not sign up but still participated. Participating through the official website brought small businesses an extra oomph of publicity.

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It’s a Good Day to Buy a Laptop

 

Tech companies firmly wedged their way in among the 2,600 merchants who registered to participate in Free Shipping Day.  Even big sites like Mashable got in the act, by spreading the word to their communities about electronics.  Yes, it was a good day to buy a laptop …  or digital camera, DVD player, tablet PC….



Small businesses and consumers alike snatched up great deals and free shipping on electronics.  Students also snapped up great deals.  Neal Gompa, an engineering student, seemed happy about the HP computer he purchased from  HPAcademy [7], an official HP store offering discounts to students.

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Consider the Costs


But did Free Shipping Day bring more profit to small businesses? There are many factors to consider in determining profit, as Donald McMichael [8] (@DonaldMcMichael) pointed out, noting this article at Entrepreneur [9] about the pros and cons of free shipping.   The obvious is shipping costs. If you’re shipping a piece of furniture, your cost will be greater than if you’re shipping a towel.

Still many small businesses participate in Free Shipping Day to get new customers [9].

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Every Day is Free Shipping Day


Is Free Shipping Day just a gimmick? Retailers like @witchesandpagan [10] offer free shipping every day. I suspect many of the participants do,  too.  As we pointed out earlier this month, free shipping is year-round for some retailers [1].

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The Results


This year’s holiday shopping season has gone a long way to bring consumer spending back to life. Free Shipping Day saw $1.07 billion [11] alone in sales.

And it’s our hope that small businesses benefited. The proof will come next year — when you consider whether small retailers will participate in 2012.



With sales up 19% over 2010′s Free Shipping Day [12], this year seems to be a success. Retailers who participated got a little more attention and traffic to their sites, and they got new customers who, hopefully will buy from them again.

 


Article printed from Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com

URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/12/did-free-shipping-day-do-the-trick-for-small-biz.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Free Shipping Day: http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/12/free-shipping-day-december-16.html

[2] in Canada: http://www.freeshippingday.ca/

[3] Susan Wenner Jackson: http://workingmomsagainstguilt.com/

[4] 36% of shoppers: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11350335/1/free-shipping-day-boom-or-gloom-for-merchants.html

[5] Donna Feldman: http://www.thenetworkinggurus.com/

[6] FreeShippingDay.com: http://www.freeshippingday.com

[7] HPAcademy: https://twitter.com/HPAcademy

[8] Donald McMichael: http://donaldmcmichael.com/

[9] at Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222391

[10] @witchesandpagan: http://www.twitter.com/witchesandpagan

[11] Free Shipping Day saw $1.07 billion: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/free-shipping-day-punctuates-heavy-week-of-online-holiday-shopping-as-four-individual-days-eclipse-1-billion-in-spending-and-season-to-date-exceeds-30-billion-135824793.html

[12] sales up 19% over 2010′s Free Shipping Day: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2011/6672/free-shipping-day-drives-holiday-e-tail-sales-to-309b