About Free Shipping Day®Before the U.S. recession hit in 2007, the phrase "Free Shipping Day" didn't exist in the national vocabulary. After a few short years, Free Shipping Day now stands side-by-side with Cyber Monday and has left Black Friday in the dust. Not bad for an event that was built in under two weeks and, fittingly, gives procrastinators hope for yuletide savings.
Free Shipping Day® is a coordinated one-day, online-shopping event in which thousands of merchants participate and offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. Now in its eighth year, Free Shipping Day comes on Friday, December 18, near the tail-end of the shopping season.
A Unique Beginning
Luke Knowles -- who, along with his wife, created the popular year-round free shipping website FreeShipping.org in 2007 -- hatched the idea for and created the Free Shipping Day® program in two very hectic weeks before the event in 2008. In an abrupt brainstorm, he thought merchants would relish the opportunity to extend the online holiday shopping season, which is fast becoming the preferred mode of buying for those who dread crowded malls and rainchecks.
Knowles understood last-minute purchases are as much a part of the holiday season as eggnog and poinsettias. Yet since the advent of online shopping, consumers have seen December 11th as the final day to order gifts or risk having them come after Christmas Day.
The Free Shipping Day® program shifted this paradigm with a simple concept: Give consumers what they want in a timely, convenient and affordable fashion. In the digital arena, this means free shipping with a guaranteed arrival date. Knowles points to recent stats from a survey that show 90% of consumers spend more when offered free delivery, while nearly half will abandon a shopping cart if met with high fees.
Despite the relatively short history of the Free Shipping Day® event, Knowles' philosophy has propelled it into the national spotlight. And what a history it has been: After just four years, Free Shipping Day® services had created what is regarded as a premier shopping holiday.
In 2011, Free Shipping Day® produced a program yielding huge numbers with more than $1 billion in online sales and was the highest-earning Friday in online retail history. In 2012, the event again generated over $1 billion in online sales, representing a 76-percent increase in spending compared to the corresponding Monday in 2011.
An Unprecedented Change
With the popularity of Free Shipping Day® firmly established, Knowles and his team decided to shake things up for the 2013 event. Instead of allowing stores to participate with any kind of free shipping offer, they decided to make "real free shipping" -- or free shipping with no minimum order requirements -- mandatory for all merchants. This bold move resulted in a curated list of stores whose last-minute offer better reflected the event's namesake and gave shoppers exactly what they asked for: waived shipping charges and delivery by Christmas Eve. This change resonated with customers and merchants alike and has remained the cornerstone of Free Shipping Day® ever since.
Equally impressive is the media attention the Free Shipping Day® coordinated event continues to attract. The event has been featured in every format - video, audio, print and online - by trend-setting outfits such as The New York Times, "O" Magazine, Woman's Day, Fox News and dozens more. Along with national publications, hundreds of regional newspapers and broadcasts latched onto the event as a sensible, consumer-friendly way to fill holiday wish lists.
Although the Free Shipping Day® program continues to evolve each holiday season, Knowles is confident it will only grow in prominence as shoppers want to enjoy the holidays without worrying about camping out overnight to secure a coveted gift. Consumers have made their intentions clear: Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day is here to stay.
Look Who's Talking about the Free Shipping Day®