If youre like I love to shop online but what keeps you from doing more online is the cost of getting the items you want on your door. This high season changed a bit. I have received more emails with free shipping than ever before. Most had a limit to what you needed to spend to benefit but there were some who had no limit. Some have not offered free shipping but they offered express shipping at the same price as standard shipping. The dealer I saw to print free shipping most was LL Bean. They sent me emails by email. I also saw a TV commercial about their offer.
Why is not free shipping even more common?
The reason you have not seen all dealers who come out with a freight bid are related to how they position their brand and their companys pricing strategy. Some retailers feel that they should not be advertising. They feel that their brand has enough prestige and proprietary products that if someone really wants their product they will pay for it. Brookstone is probably a good example of this. I have never seen an offer from them coming in my inbox or my mailbox. The same goes for a company like Tiffany. In one way they are right. Offers are a lot of advertising and those who have to do with shipping are most marketed. They know deals break down their brand so they just do not offer them.
Free shipping is prevented by a second reason
The other shipping deals are not as popular as they should have to do with the fact that many dealers simply can not afford them. A clothing company usually pays $ 3-7 to send something to your house which is a small hit for their overall profitability when they offer to take care of the shipping. But back to our previous example a company like Brookstones massage chairs sells and they can cost from $ 100 - $ 250 just to get them to your house. Granted not everyone buys something like a massage chair but given that these products do not have a high margin rate the company can simply break even if they give away the freight. Obviously this is not why businesses are on business.
The future of free shipping
More and more the retail is environmentally friendly. One of the main reasons is that you have coupon sites out there like promoting free shipping as a large area of their websites and emails. This does something that consumers are running all the time. Also companies realize that consumers want to shop from the comfort of their home and get rid of the time it takes to travel to the mall find a parking lot brave the cold and then find the store in the mall just to be assisted by a little associate. The increase has been quite great when you consider that a company like LL Bean always took the strong spot that they were not commercials as it was their business philosophy and today they kick out free shipping letters per week and blow this across their catalogs and televising their offer on national television. Shipping offer for free discounted or flat will continue to be out there and is likely to become an even bigger part of our lives in 2006.
What does this free shipping trend mean to the consumer?
The consumer will benefit from this trend because it will not end. Personally my hope is that every company takes on the Staples philosophy and offers free shipping on the next days shipping on everything they sell. Currently the distribution networks used by the companies usually us UPS are distributing this but if you take a staple model with 18 distribution centers to get you the product you want the next day and apply it at national level then its all the more possible for companies to charge less or nothing for shipping. I know of course that the answer will be the cost of inventory is too high for companies but I think there will be ways to manage this as well and increase the number of stock changes that companies see overall. In the end it may mean a smaller presence and investment in shopping malls as consumers turn away from this shopping experience to enjoy the pleasure of shopping from home. Net net consumers will continue to benefit. Just make sure that the price of the product is not higher than you can pay in retail so the company can cover the cost.