To note, there is one type of promotion that can be adapted to almost any promotion strategy whether it is on its own or supplementary to another sale: Free Shipping. It does not just have to apply to online sales as some big ticket retailers will also offer this promotion for customers purchasing within their physical stores.
It's one of my favorite promotions, and according to research I found online, it is for a majority of the population as well. While I normally don't trust 'studies' from online and other companies without more intimate knowledge, I believe this one because it resonates with my shopping habits and sales trends I have witnessed in my professional career. Everyone loves free shipping.
Here is a stat from Stamps.com I found online that helps provide additional validation:
"According to 64% of the respondents, free shipping—with or without minimum spend—is the most effective promotion an e-commerce merchant can offer to drive sales during the holiday season. Coming in second place was another shipping-related promotion. 26% of the respondents chose discounted shipping as an effective tool to drive sales. Note: survey respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers." http://blog.stamps.com/2010/11/10/ecommerce-holiday-shipping-survey/
Below are four personal instances of when free shipping has worked for me in different promotion types:
- Free shipping for reaching a sales total dollar (or percentage) amount
- I have spent $100 on stuff instead of only $50 just because I can get free shipping.
- Buy a certain item, get free shipping
- I was buying something online last week and also ended up buying an additional item I liked but didn't really need because buying the item gave me free shipping.
- Free shipping for members of a service
- When I'm looking to purchase items, I also look on Amazon and attempt to get free shipping on 'Prime items' because I pay for a yearly membership to the Amazon Prime service. Plus its two day shipping!
- Free shipping during a certain time
- On 'Black Monday' sales, a lot of online retailers will offer free shipping without any strings attached. I don't have to leave my home to take advantage of Black Friday like sales.
When you ask someone what are some of the cons of ordering online (or a large item that can't be carried out of the store by the customer), one of the main points will probably be paying for shipping. When you eliminate shipping as one of the cons, it makes the purchasing experience seem so much more attractive as it allows you to to buy the products from a group of companies at low, competitive prices that can be lower than some of the prices you find in a physical store. Plus it saves you time from going out and searching for the items of interest in stores which may or may not have the items in stock and maybe at a higher cost. Additionally, when purchasing from within a store with free shipping, it lets you realize how much time and effort you are saving by not lugging a large item around on your own. Team lifts are really bad single lifts...
Hope that the above provides some additional insight into the awesome 'free shipping' promotion.