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Free-Shipping, Twitter Promos Rule: eDataSource

12/6/11

By Ken Magill

Free shipping is one of online retailers’ top promotions of choice so far this Christmas-shopping season, and Twitter—at least message-volume-wise—is the No. 1 channel they’re using to tempt shoppers with their deals, according to new numbers from eDataSource.

Over the three-week period from Nov. 7 to Nov. 28, the more than 2,000 retailers eDataSource tracks sent 4,332 tweets with the words “free shipping” in them, according to the company.

By comparison, over the same period they sent 2,577 emails with “free shipping” in their subject lines, according to eDataSource, a company that provides competitive intelligence on email marketing and social media.

“Save” promotions of various sorts edged out “free shipping” on Twitter but came in second on email with retailers sending 4,550 tweets with the word “save” in them and 1,996 emails with the word in their subject lines during the three weeks, according to eDataSource.

"Twitter activity far outpaced email activity for these types of promotions, whether it was 'Free Shipping,' 'Save' or '50% off', showing that it is an increasingly important channel in the multichannel toolbox for promoting valuable offers," said G.B. Heidarsson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for eDataSource in an emailed statement.

As for specific discounts, retailers apparently tend to lean toward either 50 percent off or 20 percent off.

During the three-week period from Nov. 7 to Nov. 28, retailers sent 1,378 tweets with “50% off” in them and 921 emails with “50% off” in their subject lines, according to eDataSource.

During the same period, retailers sent 1,312 tweets touting 20 percent off and 809 emails with “20% off” in their subject lines, eDataSource reported.

By comparison, retailers sent 866 tweets and 611 emails touting 30 percent off over the three-week period, according to eDataSource.

The volume of Twitter and email promotions peaked during the week prior to Thanksgiving week and tapered off during Thanksgiving week, according to eDataSource.

For example, in the seven days ending on Nov. 4, retailers sent 954 tweets promoting free shipping and 615 emails with “free shipping” in their subject lines, according to eDataSource.

By comparison, in the seven days ending Nov. 21—Thanksgiving was Nov. 24—retailers sent 2,149 tweets and 1,115 emails touting free shipping, according to eDataSource.

During the seven days that ended the Monday after Thanksgiving, retailers sent 1,229 tweets and 847 emails promoting free shipping, eDataSource reported.

"'Save' was used more frequently in promotions prior to the week of Thanksgiving, while 'Free Shipping' really peaked that week,” said Heidarsson. “The percent-off offers also increased. This shows that retailers get more specific in their promotions, moving away from generic 'save' to specific 'free shipping,' as we got closer to Black Friday.

“They have a real urgency at this crucial selling time to maximize sales with a stronger call-to-action and by lowering the price point, because no other product feature or promotion really matters during this time."

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