Free Shipping, Free Returns, Free Necklaces for Holidays
Retailers, both bricks and clicks, are planning to dig deep this holiday season to make sales, even if it comes at the expense of profits.
Free shipping (with some caveats) seems as though it’s almost become standard practice for online merchants. Others, such as L.L. Bean and Zappos, have raised the bar a bit further with free returns. So with the holiday season quickly approaching, what else is there for retailers to give away in the hopes of capturing a greater share of consumer purchases? How about jewelry?
According to an Associated Press report, Stauer, an online jeweler, is offering a $249 amethyst necklace for nothing more than a $24.95 shipping cost. The merchant offered a similar deal with a $179 pearl necklace in 2009 and found that about a third of its customers who went for the deal bought additional jewelry, as well.
“In this economy, you have to be outrageous in your offers,” Michael Bisceglia, president of Stauer, told the AP. “You have to shake up the world a bit.”
Getting noticed by being outrageous or other means is particularly important during the holiday season and there are plenty of retailers in addition to Stauer that are willing to do it. Last year, as discussed on RetailWire, TJ Maxx gained national attention for selling a limited number of 16 GB WiFi iPads for $100 below what they were being sold for elsewhere.
Retailers have always been known to sacrifice profits to make a sale. It can take many forms, including accepting a competitor’s coupons, offering price match/beat guarantees, special financing deals, etc.
“You may be making a $1 profit instead of a $3 profit,” Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer of ShopRunner.com, told the AP. “But you’re not losing a sale.”
- Free necklaces and shipping for holiday shoppers? – The Associated Press/Google
- TJ Maxx Gets Attention Selling Cheap iPads – RetailWire
Discussion Questions: Are retailers in panic mode about the holidays? Will “free” offers and other sales incentives be more prevalent this holiday season than in 2010?