Power of Amazon's free shipping promos explained: report

Summary:Everyone loves free shipping, and perhaps we have Amazon to thank for influencing other online retailers.

It's no secret that free shipping is one of the many reasons that consumers shop on Amazon.com, whether it be bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription or the Super Saver Shipping option for orders over $25.

But the influence of Amazon's free shipping promotions has proven incredibly powerful over other online retailers as well, according to new research from Clarus Marketing Group, which specializes in providing "programs that deliver exclusive shopping savings and protection benefits to consumers."

For example, the number of online retail transactions tied to free shipping offers during the holiday season has grown from 44 percent in 2009 to 63 percent in 2011.

It's gotten to the point where free shipping is simply just an expectation. Clarus reports that 46 percent of customers will cancel an order if free shipping is not offered.

Certainly, free shipping is not cheap on the part of the retailer. But if 75 percent are consumers are said to be willing to purchase more if free shipping is offered, that's an opportunity they can't ignore.

Of course, just how "free" the free shipping is with Amazon Prime can be questioned considering subscribers are paying $79 per year up front.

Nevertheless, when you become accustomed (especially after trial and student memberships) to being able to get almost anything shipped for free and delivered within two business days, many customers seemingly become willing to pay for "free" shipping.

It's also proved to be a great offer for retaining subscribers. Clarus found that pre-paid shipping programs, like Amazon Prime, increases a consumer’s average spending by three times over, and that 90 percent of Prime members plan to renew at the end of their subscription.

Image via Clarus Marketing

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Topics: Amazon

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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