December 12, 2011, 10:55 AM

Free shipping is standard practice for big e-retailers this holiday season

Responsys finds, however, that free returns are relatively rare.

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Most large online retailers offer free shipping deals for the entire holiday season, suggests research released today by e-mail marketing software company Responsys Inc. It tracked the e-mail marketing messages of more than 100 major e-retailers and found that 55% of them are making the offers available for the entire shopping season.

Of all the retailers tracked, the vast majority, 75%, have offered free shipping at some point during the holiday season, Responsys says.

Free returns, though, are relatively rare, with only 10% of the retailers that were tracked offering the promotion so far this holiday shopping season.

Responsys also says that last week, the retailers it tracked sent each of their subscribers an average of 5.2 e-mail marketing messages, down 8% compared with the previous week but up 12% compared with the same period in 2010. “Holiday e-mail volume has peaked earlier than last year because of the big expansion of e-mail messaging around Cyber Monday and because fewer retailers are running ‘12 Days of Christmas’ daily e-mail campaigns and some of those are starting later than usual,” says Responsys research director Chad White.

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