July 25, 2011, 4:11 PM

Zazzle looks to dazzle with free shipping options

The personalized products retailer offers one year of free standard shipping for $9.95.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Zazzle CEO Robert Beaver

Personalized products retailer Zazzle Inc. is riding the free shipping wave with two annual options.

Under terms of the new “Zazzle Black” rewards program, members receive one year of unlimited standard—two- to five-day—shipping for $9.95 or unlimited two-day delivery for $39.95. The offers were timed to coincide with Zazzle’s sixth anniversary on July 18, Robert Beaver, co-founder and CEO, tells Internet Retailer.

The offers also reflect Zazzle’s wish to thank its current customers, numbering more than 20 million, and future shoppers, as well as an understanding of a consumer hot button, Beaver says. “We’ve read about Amazon’s success with its Prime shipping program. And we know people want free shipping and they don’t mind paying something up front,” Beaver says. “We think it’s the way the world is going.”

Consumers who pay $79 annually for Amazon Prime receive unlimited two-day shipping on products without minimum purchase amounts.

Shipping more than 20 million units annually enables the retailer to negotiate discounted shipping rates, which it’s passing along to customers, says Jason Kang, vice president of marketing at Zazzle, No. 134 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The company has high expectations for the shipping programs because they’re scratching an itch for shoppers. “E-commerce consumers are being conditioned on free shipping,” Kang says.

Zazzle shoppers can sign up for a 30-day free trial by providing a credit card number. Once the trial period ends, members that don’t opt out during the trial will be automatically enrolled in the standard shipping program for one year. The offers apply to most products and most addresses in the U.S.

Shipping rates apart from those under the Zazzle Black rewards options are based on multiple factors including size and product type.

Zazzle’s traditional customized products include t-shirts and coffee mugs, but have expanded to include personalized Keds shoes and iPad cases. More content and products are on the agenda for the next six to 12 months, although Beaver declined to be specific.

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