April 20, 2012, 10:34 AM

House and home e-retailers ship products fastest

12% of online retailers offer free shipping on all orders.

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A slight majority of online retailers—54%—offer free shipping options, with 26% of them requiring an order price between $50 and $100 to receive the deal and 12% requiring no minimum at all, according to a February analysis by fulfillment services company Innotrac Corp.

SmartHub, the company’s research and strategy branch, gathered benchmark data about 56 aspects of customer experience, shipping options, shipment arrival and the returns process among 100 major e-retailers in February. It will repeat the process seven more times throughout the year to track changes.

SmartHub found that 37% of online retailers require shoppers to click through three checkout pages. 29% have four checkout pages and 21% have two.  

The average time to process return credits among retailers in the survey is six to 10 days. Of those, flowers, gifts and jewelry merchants processed returns the slowest, with 38% in that group taking more than 21 days to do so.

The vendor also found that 47% of customer service representatives were able to view inventory on other channels. For example, a call center agent could see if a product is available in a physical store.

Larry Hanger, senior vice president of client services at Innotrac, will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition this June in Chicago, in a session titled “Managing Returns for Profitability.”

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