The shopping world just got a little bit smaller. Shoe authority Endless.com has introduced international shipping to more than 50 countries, including the UKand its free. At least, its free for orders over $100, which at £62 covers just about everything.
Its big news for e-tailers and online shoppers alikeour editor ordered her wedding shoes from Endless within minutes of learning about the free shipping and 365-day return policy.
But free international shipping is also an obvious step for any e-tailer eager to expand its potential shopper base. Yesterday, Asos credited international sales with pushing company-wide sales 63% higher in the first quarter of the financial year. The strong results are at least partly attributable to the online fashion retailers introduction of free worldwide shipping six months ago.
Free global shipping is working, and it is our intention to bake it into the plan, and make it permanent, Chief Executive Nick Robertson told the FT.
Kevin Fegans, international spokesperson for Asos, told us that free shipping has been a huge success in the US and UK, and noted that the company registers significant sales increases whenever it offers free-shipping promotions to its other 197 countries.
The last hurdle for someone to make a purchase is shipping charges, so if you remove that barrier and offer free returns, theres nothing to lose, he said.
Opening sales to new countries or adding a blanket free-shipping policy might give e-tailers a shot of sales adrenalin, but it does involve significant infrastructure investments.
The retailer can end up with quite a large bill if many items are returned, said Andy Mulcahy, a spokesperson for IMRG, the UK industry association for global e-tailers. And in the mid-fashion range, the return rates are 25-35%.
The cross-border complications probably explain why brands that have declared their commitment to offering international shipping are More