This blog post is an extract from our 2016 Holiday Report. Access the 100+ page report for free here.

 

Free Shipping Day, which takes place on December 16, is exactly what it sounds like: a day on which thousands of retailers offer guaranteed no-cost delivery by Christmas Eve. In 2015, Free Shipping Day contributed over $1 billion in online sales.

This opportunity couldn’t be better-suited to consumer preferences. To put it simply, people love free shipping.

According to customer engagement company Accent, 88% of people are more likely to buy something online if shipping and packaging costs are waived. However, 3-in-10 businesses never offer free shipping. Roughly 6-in-10 offer free shipping based on a threshold—usually a minimum purchase amount.

Thanks to Free Shipping Day, you can tap into your audience’s enthusiasm for free shipping.

If you look at the below graph, it’s obvious most brands chose to send their campaigns on Free Shipping Day itself. But, Interestingly enough, our data shows this holiday isn’t being used to its full potential—we only found 35 emails that used “free shipping day” in their subject lines in 2015—out of thousands of companies we track.

free-shipping-day-email-volume

Since Free Shipping Day isn’t very popular (yet), this could be a fantastic opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other companies.

Take My M&Ms, for example. On December 17, 2015, they were the first retailer to promote Free Shipping Day. 

Company: My M&Ms

  • Subject line: Celebrate Free Shipping Day Early!

mm-s free shipping day email

This is a nice, simple, email that does the job. Let’s look at a few more examples from 2015.

Company: Ideel

  • Subject line: “Let’s Celebrate Free Shipping Day!”

Ideel_Free_Shipping_Day

Like 80% of the Free Shipping Day emails we analyzed, Ideel’s email was sent on the day of the holiday. Both the design and the concept are extremely simple. There isn’t a complicated promotion structure or an overwhelming amount of visuals, allowing subscribers to immediately hone in on the call-to-action.

Company: Olympus

  • Subject line: “? Free 2-Day Shipping on These Favorites & More”

Olympus_Free_Shipping_Day

This newsletter from Olympus uses a different strategy. Notice how their email header mentions a $50 minimum in order to qualify for free shipping. In their case, this is acceptable since most of their products start at around $500. If you’re a higher-priced brand, you could consider using an order minimum as well.

Notice how Olympus tries to drive action with its headline by reminding subscribers that the clock is ticking—a message that’s reinforced with the count-down timer underneath. This is a classic technique that creates urgency.

Even if you offer free shipping year-round, you can borrow from Olympus’ campaign. You could, for example, offer expedited (two-day) free shipping instead of standard shipping times.

mailcharts-holiday-report-promo-banner

Company: Belk

  • Subject line: “1 Day Only! Free Shipping + Up to 70% Off”

Belk_Free_Shipping_Day

Belk took things to the next level for Free Shipping Day. Complimentary shipping is barely emphasized—most of the attention is given to the “biggest sale of the season,” with 60 to 70% discounts, and a separate tiered discount offer.

While we love how appealing this offer is, there’s a lot for the reader to digest. If you can, simplify your promotions. The easier it is for subscribers to say yay or nay, the better.

Company: Tarte Cosmetics

  • Subject line: “Free 2 Day Shipping + Lipstick? Yes, Please.”

tarte_Free_Shipping_Day

Tarte also did something out-of-the-box. Along with free two-day shipping, the cosmetics brand threw in a free, full-size, product.

Giving customers freebies is an excellent way to make your offer feel special and exclusive. Plus, if you offer free shipping frequently, this will tell subscribers you’re not just trotting out the same tired promotion.

How to Optimize Your Free Shipping Day Email Campaign

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Take advantage of this under-utilized holiday: Do something for Free Shipping Day!
  • Use a straightforward, comprehensible, email to advertise a simple promotion. More complex promotions (with multiple ways to save) warrant more “flashy” emails which take more time to produce and is harder for subscriber to understand
  • Align your “free shipping” offer with your average product’s price point
  • If you already offer free shipping, consider providing free expedited shipping or waiving the minimum order threshold
  • Combine free shipping with a complimentary gift to make your campaign feel like a special event

On December 16th, will you help subscribers buy last-minute gifts in time for Christmas?

We hope so 🙂