In advance of the all-important holiday shopping season, dozens of major U.S. retailers are joining together to launch a service they believe will help win over big-spending consumers. For US$79, shoppers can sign on to a program called ShopRunner, which offers free, unlimited online shipping (and free returns) at partner stores like Barnes & Noble and Shop.NHL.com.
Online commerce is worth US$140 billion and growing in the U.S. But it has been dominated by the e-commerce giant, Amazon.com. Other retailers hope ShopRunner will help them take on Amazon and its own unlimited shipping program, Amazon Prime, which has an estimated five million members globally, notes the Wall Street Journal.
These shipping services are seen as a simple way to entice new shoppers and encourage repeat purchases. Once they’ve paid for ShopRunner, consumers have an added incentive to keep shopping in order to get their money’s worth in free shipping.