In a new survey by Shop.org, four out of five online retailers said they will offer free shipping with conditions this holiday season, meaning a customer must purchase a certain item or a certain dollar amount to qualify. More than half of online retailers, 57.4 percent, plan to offer free shipping without conditions, and 30 percent of the retailers said free shipping offers will start earlier than they did last year.
According to Shop.org’s eHoliday Study, conducted by BIGresearch, online retailers are expecting an increase in holiday sales compared to last year, and holiday shoppers are planning to spend more of their budget online. Almost half of online retailers, 45.8 percent, expect their holiday sales to increase at least 15 percent over last year, and just one in five online retailers (20.3 percent) expect sales to be flat or decline. More than one-fourth of online shoppers (26.7 percent) said they plan to spend more of their holiday budget online this year, with reasons ranging from the ability to shop anytime (41.9 percent) to shoppers feeling it’s easier to compare prices (34 percent) to convenience (32.4 percent).
To gear up for the increase in holiday sales, 47.1 percent of online retailers surveyed will be increasing their use of social media this holiday season. This year, retailers are adding or improving their Facebook page (60.3 percent), Twitter pages (58.7 percent), and adding or enhancing blogs and RSS feeds (65.6 percent). Retailers are also adding or revamping their websites’ shopping cart (45.2 percent), search capabilities (44.3 percent), suggested items (42.9 percent), customer ratings and reviews (40.6 percent), and featured sale pages (37.1 percent).
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