Nov 3, 2017
Written by CJ
As one of Q4’s largest shopping events, Free Shipping Day is a cost-effective means of driving last-minute holiday sales and boosting brand presence.
As advertisers make final arrangements for Q4 placements and promotions, the organizers of the 10th-annual Free Shipping Day—scheduled for Friday, December 15, 2017—are busy making this year’s milestone event better than ever.
“Since the beginning, our event has been all about capturing consumers’ attention at a crucial point during the holiday season,” says Morganne Pace, Affiliate Manager for Kinoli Inc., the company that created Free Shipping Day. “In 2008, we gave shoppers’ confidence their orders would arrive in time for Christmas. More recently, consumers are attracted to Free Shipping Day because they can shop a wide variety of retailers, take advantage of deals and not worry about delivery fees and times.”
Free and on-time delivery has always been the cornerstone of Free Shipping Day. The first event earned $764 million in online sales, despite being organized in just two weeks. In 2010, Free Shipping Day’s sales surpassed Black Friday’s online earnings by nearly $300 million. In 2011 and 2012, the event became a billion-dollar shopping holiday, and is close to hitting that milestone again after organizers made free shipping on all orders mandatory in 2013.
Free Shipping Day’s appeal is due to customers’ desire to shop online late in the season, while still taking advantage of discounts and free delivery. Online shopping is especially important in 2017 as industry analysts find shoppers are increasingly swapping shopping bags for delivery boxes. According to Market Track, shoppers believe they can find the best deals on popular gift categories online. What’s more, shoppers last year demonstrated a willingness to delay online shopping late into December. Between Free Shipping Day (December 16) and Christmas Eve, order volume increased 25% YOY, whereas YOY order growth in the first half of December averaged 5%. In fact, 70 percent of respondents to PWC’s holiday survey said they plan to wait until after Black Friday week to finish their shopping.
For advertisers, Free Shipping Day represents a cost-effective means of boosting brand signals and holiday sales in the days leading up to Dec. 25. This year, event organizers offer the following advice to maximize advertiser participation:
Since the recession, consumers have come to expect discounts from retailers. Consumer demands on stores during promotional events like Free Shipping Day are high, and as such a noteworthy offer is required to capture consumer attention. “The advertisers who perform the best during our event are those who offer discounts on top of their free-shipping-on-all-orders deal,” says Pace. “The higher the discount, the more likely advertisers are to be featured in the Staff Favorites category which users flock to during the event.”
This year, Free Shipping Day’s 10th Anniversary gives advertisers an opportunity to leverage their offer with the event’s celebration. “In honor of our 10th anniversary, we’re suggesting participants include a discount of ‘10’ with their free shipping deal,” says Pace. “This can be 10-percent off or $10 off orders placed during the event.” Advertisers who take advantage of this option will be placed in a special 10th Anniversary category during the event and be featured prominently on the page. “It’s our way of celebrating a milestone while also making it advantageous for our partners, without whom we couldn’t have made it this long!”
Advertisers interested in submitting an offer for Free Shipping day can do so through the merchant sign-up page.
Part of Free Shipping Day’s appeal to advertisers is the caliber of media attention they receive during the holiday season. As a permanent fixture in the holiday shopping lexicon, the event is often mentioned alongside shopping veterans Black Friday and Cyber Monday as crucial opportunities for retailers to boost sales. Since Free Shipping Day falls later in the season when shoppers’ attention starts to wane, it’s incredibly important for advertisers to promote their participation to their customers.
“Free Shipping Day’s focus on free and on-time delivery is what resonates with shoppers,” says Pace. “Even today, when free shipping is more widely available than it was 10 years ago, shoppers have been trained by Amazon to expect free and fast delivery.” By promoting your participation in Free Shipping Day, current and potential customers can associate the event with your brand and plan their spending accordingly. “Free Shipping Day is included in a wide variety of media, from The Washington Post to local news broadcasts, so it’s important for retailers to help their customers make the connection between their brand and the event.”
Promoting participation through newsletters is a great way to get existing customers excited about the event. Social media is also an important outlet for reaching potential customers, especially during the event’s 10-year celebration. “This year, we’re putting a lot of resources into social media campaigns to spread the word about our milestone event and our participants,” Pace says. This means more exposure for both the event and participating brands. Stores that tag event-related posts with the hashtag #ShopFreeShippingDay will have the chance to be featured on Free Shipping Day’s social media accounts and relevant campaigns leading up to and during the event.
Not every store has the resources to purchase top-tier placement on Free Shipping Day, but there are other exposure opportunities that cater to budgets of all sizes. “We have a wide variety of participants on Free Shipping Day, from top brands like Target to small, niche retailers,” says Pace. “As a small business ourselves, we understand restricted marketing budgets and we want everyone to feel like they receive value from our event.”
Other exposure opportunities include the aforementioned 10th Anniversary promotion, as well as Tier 1 through 5 placements with varying revenue share and flat fee rates. Contact Morganne Pace for more information on promotional opportunities.