How the Offer of ‘Free Shipping’ Affects On-line Shopping

The phrase “free shipping” is like a siren song to many who shop on the Internet. For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10, says Wharton marketing professor David Bell. Bell noticed this phenomenon a few years ago while doing research for an online grocery store, and the observation prompted him to look more closely at the ways Internet retailers use shipping charges — or the lack thereof — as a promotional tool.

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