Several months ago, it appeared that free shipping offers were losing their luster. Among the books received by Catalog Tracker in July, for instance, only 9% promoted free shipping, down from 10% the previous July. And just 7% of the catalogs received in August offered free shipping, flat with August 2002.
Apparently the luster has returned. Ten percent of the 536 consumer catalogs received by Catalog Tracker (a service of Greenwich, CT-based list firm Direct Media) in November touted free shipping, up from 9% of those received in November 2002. Likewise, 11% of the October 2003 books included free S&H offers, compared with 9% of the October 2002 catalogs, and 9% of the September 2003 catalogs, compared with 6% of those the previous September.
The percentage of catalogs offering deferred billing declined somewhat, though, to 5% in November 2003 from 6% the previous November. But the percentage promoting percentage-off savings increased from 4% in November 2002 to 5% this past November.
The year-over-year number of catalogs received in November declined nearly 21%, to 536 from 675 in November 2002. That echoes the previous month’s figures: 558 catalogs were received in October 2003, down 21% from the 677 received in October 2002.
Among the promotions, apparel and home decor marketer Bloomingdale’s by Mail offered a free gift-wrap kit on orders of at least $100. Gifts mailer Cashs of Ireland gave a free Waterford gift to customers who placed orders of more than $200. General merchant Dr. Leonard’s promised a free gift with every order, while cosmetics marketer Sephora included free samples with every order.