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  • The San Jose Mercury News reports that a new survey by and BizRate Research suggests that during the upcoming holiday season, “79 percent of online retailers will offer free shipping with conditions such as a minimum order.”

    An example of one company that is offering free shipping is LL Bean, which is doing so for the first time in three years, started the offer on October 21, and has no minimum purchase.

    The Mercury News reports that an exception to the rule is, which won't offer free shipping, “but expects to boost online sales by 40 percent to 70 percent this holiday season with exclusive online merchandise such as cashmere sweaters and digital audio players.”

    And, it writes, “Free shipping doesn't come without a cost…

    “Many consumers mistakenly believe catalog and online retailers make money on shipping and handling, but the cost is usually subsidized by retailers, said George Hague, senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Assoc., a catalog consulting company in Mission, Kan.

    “Shipping and handling accounts for 7.5 to 10 percent of overall sales, so free shipping definitely affects the bottom line, he said.”

  • The BBC reports that Tesco targeted British consumers with 44 different email campaigns last month – a “massive” bombardment totaling up to 20 million messages, it writes, that was bigger than the campaigns used by Sainsbury, Asda, Waitrose and Somerfield combined.

    “Tesco e-mail campaigns offer deals on everything from DVDs, books and flowers to wine, gardening kit and gym gear,” the BBC reports.

    The goal is to capture online and in-store sales before consumers have a chance to think about shopping anywhere else.

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