Start Your Free Shipping Offers Earlier

Multichannel merchants should start free shipping promotions earlier in November, instead of waiting until the week of Black Friday, according to research released by eDataSource.

More than one third of consumers will try and take advantage of deals like free shipping. “It is still a trigger in the online space so don’t wait until the week of Black Friday to use it,” says G.B. Heidarsson, executive vice president of sales and marketing for eDataSource. “Start the promotion sooner to stand out online.”

eDataSource’s research included a six-week analysis of “free shipping” promotional email messages, Tweets and Facebook posts among more than 2,000 retail entities since Oct. 17.

The data revealed no clear increase in those messages until the week of Nov. 21 when promotions rose 107% for Twitter, 63% for Facebook and 81% for email compared to the prior week.

Here are some takeaway points from the eDateResource research:

Build your twitter following and tweet to promote highly sought-after deals. Consumers are looking for value and are motivated to share it with their friends and followers.

Use Facebook more to promote valuable offers like free shipping.

Tweets containing “Free Shipping” consistently and thoroughly outnumbered Facebook posts and emails containing the same term in the subject line, and showed the biggest increase during the week of Black Friday.

Marketers should not overlook Twitter’s viral effect for promoting highly sought-after online deals this holiday season.

“The jump in the past week signals a shift in focus from in-store promotions to accelerating online sales with free shipping as the trigger,” Heidarsson says. “I’m surprised to see it didn’t happen even sooner since value is still of such importance to consumers this year.”

Jim Tierney ( is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.