With more than one-third of consumers saying they’ll try to save money this holiday season by shopping online, retailers have now answered their call with ‘Free Shipping’ offers galore. eDataSource‘s analysis of email, Twitter and Facebook marketing messages from more than 2,000 retail entities since October 17, 2010, shows that brands used “Free Shipping” fairly consistently week-over-week until making a significant jump during the week of Black Friday. For the week of November 21, the promotions went up 107% in Twitter, 81% in email, and 63% in Facebook. This jump signals a shift in focus from driving in-store traffic to accelerating online sales with free shipping as the trigger. I’m surprised to see it didn’t happen even sooner since value is still of such importance to consumers this year.

Twitter Activity Far Exceeds Email and Facebook Messaging 

Reflecting the fact that free shipping is one of consumers’ most anticipated and favorite holiday promotions, we found Twitter activity, including Tweets and Retweets, unexpectedly high around the offer. Twitter promotions were the most prevalent of all digital marketing free shipping messages over the past six weeks, outnumbering email messages using the term in the subject line by almost eight to one (77%) and outpacing similar Facebook promotions by 279 percent this past week. Tweets containing “free shipping” not only consistently and thoroughly outnumbered similar e-mail messages and Facebook posts throughout the past several weeks, they went up 154 percent from the week of October 17th. The fact that Twitter messaging around free shipping was so high shows how viral of a medium it can be. And while Facebook seems to have been underutilized in this regard, brands should not overlook these social media channels for promoting such a highly sought-after deal.
Additional highlights:
  • Email messages containing “Free Shipping” steadily increased week-over-week until the week of Black Friday, when they almost doubled (81%) from the week before and more than doubled the 2-4 weeks prior (132% more than the week of Oct. 17).
  • Tweets containing “Free Shipping” consistently outnumbered emails with the same term in the subject line by 50-80%, depending on the week.
  • All digital marketing messages with “Free Shipping,” including Facebook (63% higher than week prior; 96% higher than week of Oct. 17) peaked during the week of Black Friday.

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