Consumers Take Free Shipping for Granted

If you haven’t noticed, gas prices are pretty high, and since my family lives about 60 miles from most retail stores we do most of our shopping online. One of the biggest determinants of whether we’ll buy a particular product online is we can get free shipping. It turns out we’re not alone:

According to a ComScore report released today, nearly half of those orders included free shipping, at 47% versus 53% for Q’1 ’11, 49% versus 51% in Q’4 10 (the holiday season) and 41% versus 59% in Q3 ’10.

“A lot of consumers are taking free shipping for granted,” said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. Indeed the report also came to the conclusion that 61% consumers are “at least somewhat likely” to cancel their entire purchase if free shipping isn’t involved. So have we come to expect free delivery on our gadgets, Christmas sweaters and cookbooks?

As eCommerce hits the highest share percentage its ever seen versus retail ( 8.6% ), the perk of free shipping is a major incentive to buy more, as orders with free shipping average around 30% higher in value those that tack on a couple of bucks for transport.

Now I’m not so dense as to not understand that when a business says that they offer free shipping what they’ve in-fact done is to include the price of shipping in the retail price of the product. I get that, but for some reason that $3.99 shipping charge your company tacks onto the end of my order is a real turn off. It’s psychological, I’m sure.

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