CoolSavings: Free Shipping, Special Offers Prompt More Online Holiday Shopping

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Taking advantage of free shipping and finding special offers were the main motivators for increased online holiday shopping this year, a survey by interactive marketing services provider CoolSavings Inc. found.

Meanwhile, Internet shoppers say the successful delivery of goods purchased online is critical to their loyalty to online retailers, according to a new survey commissioned by UPS.

In the CoolSavings survey, 69 percent of 1,920 FreeStyleRewards members cited free shipping as a main motivator for increased online holiday shopping this year. is a site where consumers earn points by buying what they need from their favorite retailers. Finding special offers was a main motivator for 66 percent of members surveyed. Saving time and higher fuel prices each were noted by 57 percent.

When asked whether gas prices would curtail shopping trips, 75 percent said they would "do less driving to shop for myself and my family."

CoolSavings also found that music and movies led the list among items members plan to buy online, repeating their No. 1 spot from last year. However, clothing and accessories for the family -- including jeans and shoes -- appeared as top choices on the company's online wish list this year, bumping fragrances and DVD players, which were first last year.

The UPS survey was conducted in September by national opinion research firm Synovate as part of its weekly survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. Among the findings:

· Online consumers' top three delivery priorities, in order, are reliability, convenience and speed of shipping.

· 80 percent of online shoppers said a positive delivery experience would make them likely to buy from that online retailer again.

· 69 percent said they were more likely to patronize online retailers that offered package tracking, rates and service selection online.

Though Atlanta-based UPS does not estimate its online retail volume each year, its total holiday season surge will grow from 14 million deliveries a day to a peak of more than 20 million on Dec. 20. UPS also said that more than 18,000 of its retail customers have integrated shipping technology to tap into global IT infrastructure.

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