August 30, 2011
Department Stores Offering Free Standard Shipping and Returns
Nordstrom, Inc. is the most recent upscale department store chain to announce they will be offering free standard shipping and free return shipping on nearly all orders placed on their website. This is a great improvement from their previous offer of free standard shipping on orders over $200 or more. Nordstrom, Inc. is in good company; other retailers such as L.L. Bean and popular e-retailer Zappos.com are also present on the expanding list of e-retailers offering free shipping as a standard.
Nordstrom and the multitude of other retailers offering free shipping are taking a step in the right direction. Online shopping is only going to continue to grow in popularity; the convenience and ease of e-commerce retail coupled with Generation Y’s prominence in the industry will only increase the percentage of transactions completed online. A retailer offering free shipping is given a quick edge over the competitor.
The edge that retailers like Nordstrom are missing, however, is the offer of same-day delivery. Stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdales have prime locations in major metro areas and yet they have not taken the opportunity to offer same-day shipping within those areas. The average consumer is getting used to getting what they want as quickly as possible and retailers need to capitalize on that. Even if the potential customer isn’t making a last minute purchase the idea of having their brand new hand bag or new pair of rain boots only 2-hours after they order makes any extra cost for shipping seem reasonable; that is a serious edge for online retailers.