MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 1, 2011 – With the continued annual gains in online holiday shopping, the pressure on e-retailers to deliver gifts to waiting customers grows each year. During the busy holiday season and beyond, FedEx solutions make the logistics of running a web-based retail business simpler than “point and click.” With a variety of shipping solutions and customized support, FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) through its operating companies offers online businesses the value, speed, simplicity and reliability they need to compete during the holidays.
Despite the popularity in Black Friday “door-buster” sales, data points to continued growth in e-commerce sales this holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly half of shoppers will do some holiday purchasing online this year and more than two-thirds of retailers expect online holiday sales to rise by at least 15 percent. Overall, holiday online shopping is expected to increase by 12 percent this holiday season, according to eMarketer.
As e-retailers prepare for their busiest season and explore options that give customers access to “free” shipping, save money or simplify the post-holiday return process, FedEx has a solution. In addition to the following tips, please visit the FedEx e-commerce site at fedex.com/wecommerce where e-retailers will find white papers, tips, tools and success stories from business like theirs.
Merchants who offer free or low-cost shipping report that this increases sales. FedEx suggests the following tactics to help online retailers protect their margins while still satisfying customer preferences for “free” or low-cost shipping.
- Offer a flat rate for low-value orders. Forrester Research found 85 percent of consumers view a shipping fee that is less than 10 percent of the item’s purchase price as an acceptable cost cutoff. One large retailer takes advantage of that by shipping all orders under $100 for an $8 flat fee.
- Create a shipping club – Many retailers offer customers the option of paying a one-time fee in order to receive free shipping or speedier service.
- Provide optional upgrades – Whether they offer ground shipping for free, for a flat rate or at cost, many online retailers give customers the option to upgrade to faster delivery service for a fee.
- Offer free shipping for minimum purchase – Many retailers, large and small, provide free shipping with a minimum purchase.
- Offer free shipping on eligible products – This option is often offered with products that have higher profit margins or on lines that a retailer wants to promote.
- Offer free shipping for a limited time – Nearly 9 out of 10 online retailers offered some form of free shipping during the holiday season last year.
- Incorporate or eliminate shipping fees – Customers may be more likely to make purchases when free shipping is incorporated into the price of an item. Another way to entice customers is to eliminate shipping fees altogether if the consumer picks up the item at a store location.
- Additional tips can be found at http://www.fedex.com/us/ecommerce/retailing.html.
What can FedEx do for Your Online Business?
FedEx delivers hundreds of millions of packages around the world every year, giving the company an inside edge on e-commerce that extends to the e-retailers that leverage its solutions.
- FedEx can give online retailers the competitive advantage of speed as FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery® are faster to more locations than UPS Ground.
- When customers want their order in hand as quickly as possible, FedEx can deliver. Customers will love the option of time-definite delivery from FedEx Express® — a service that also gives shippers the power of later courier pickup times in more than 7,000 ZIP codes in 108 markets. The FedEx global network can help web-based retailers deliver almost anywhere in the world in 24 to 48 hours.
- Integrate FedEx shipping into the retail website to make customer tracking even easier. FedEx Web Services for Shipping, a free customer solution, integrates FedEx shipping, rating and tracking functionality into individual websites and other software applications. FedEx can also streamline shipping and returns with its easy-to-use electronic shipping tools, which also can easily integrate with a company’s current IT systems and be customized to meet their changing needs.
- Need reliability? FedEx delivers by backing FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Home Delivery shipments with a money-back guarantee.
- FedEx can give e-retailers’ online storefronts the tangible appeal of faster residential delivery, standard Saturday delivery and several other convenient delivery options, thanks to FedEx Home Delivery.
- FedEx allows online retailers to keep expenses down with FedEx SmartPost®, which offers simple, economical delivery of low-weight parcels to all U.S. residential addresses, including post office boxes and military destinations.
- In addition to economic residential, time definite express and several other delivery options, customers benefit from the convenience of the Hold at FedEx Location service and the power to reroute deliveries to the nearest FedEx Office® at no extra cost. No wondering if the package was left when customers weren’t home or dealing with returns from missed deliveries. Customers can simply enter their tracking number on the fedex.com home page and follow the steps to redirect.
- Create a service bundle to match each business’ needs. Whether it is a complex, high-volume online retail operation, or an entrepreneurial home-based storefront, FedEx can help create the right service bundle to save customers time and money.
- To avoid missed deliveries of packages that require a signature, recipients also can now sign up for notifications at www.fedex.com/notifyme.
January is Just Around the Corner – Returns Made Easy with FedEx
Whether a business handles one return per day or 1,000, FedEx has an economical return solution that offers your customers convenient drop-off options — including their own mailbox.
- For lower-volume returns, FedEx Ground or FedEx Express print and email return labels are ideal for processing fewer than 100 average daily returns. To use:
– clude a return label in outbound shipments or email a return label to customers.
– Retail customers then use convenient drop-off locations, such as a drop box or their nearest FedEx Office to ship the item back. FedEx has more than 52,000 drop-off locations throughout the U.S.
- For higher-volume returns FedEx SmartPost® Returns is an economical option when handling 100 or more daily returns and providing free shipping. To use:
– Include a return label in outbound shipments or email a return label to customers.
– Retail customers get the convenience of using the U.S. Postal Service® (USPS) to initiate return shipping, dropping off their package in their own mailbox, at any postal collection box or location, or at any FedEx Office, FedEx Authorized ShipCenter and FedEx World Service Center location. Customers can also request a free package pickup by the USPS® at their home or business address at www.usps.gov/pickup.
- Get more visibility on incoming returns with FedEx InSight®, which saves time and money by allowing retailers to track the status of all inbound returns in one convenient place. Knowing what is coming back helps retailers manage inventories, staffing and restocking more effectively.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $40 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.