Catalog Tracker: Free S&H Isn’t Just for Holiday

If you thought free-shipping offers would go the way of holiday ornaments and leftover wrapping paper — that is, into storage until the next holiday season — you thought wrong. Nine percent of the 368 catalogs received by list firm Direct Media’s Catalog Tracker service in January offered free shipping and handling.

That’s more than double the 4% of catalogs received in January 2002 that offered free S&H. What’s more, it’s virtually the same percentage as offered free S&H in December 2002 and down just slightly from the 8.8% of catalogs received in November 2002. Apparently consumers are becoming used to the incentive of free S&H, and catalogers are becoming used to the lift that the incentive provides.

On the other hand, a smaller percentage of catalogs offered deferred billing in January 2003 than in January 2002: 6% vs. 8%.

Among some of the more unusual promotions offered: free returns on orders of more than $100 (now-defunct plus-size women’s apparel catalog Avenue); “one week only receive 20% off any catalog” (apparel and decor title Bloomingdale’s by Mail); “Enter the $2,500.00 Jackpot!” (general merchandise catalog Carol Wright); 5% off orders of more than $60 and 10% off orders of more than $120 (plus-size women’s apparel cataloger Junonia).

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