A Challenge for Fall? Nordstrom’s Free Shipping for Online Orders

Seattle—Well into the back to school season and mindful of approaching holiday season, retailers are already vying for consumers’ attention—and dollars.

Nordstrom’s announcement this week that it will offer free shipping in the United States on all Nordstrom.com orders may be the first gauntlet thrown down in the battle for online dollars this fall.

Previously, Nordstrom only gave free shipping on orders of $200 or more, now regardless of the size or amount of the purchase, shipping will be free.

Ups the Ante?

While the move is in keeping with Nordstrom’s reputation for customer service, it also is smart business. According to a survey from comScore, 61% of consumers will likely cancel their entire purchase if free shipping isn’t offered.

While companies such as L.L. Bean, Zappos, Shopbop, Sears, and ASOS are among well known retailers that offer unconditional free shipping, Nordstrom apparently is first among department stores. Macy’s charges $8 for orders under $99,  JCPenney and Lord & Taylor charge on a scale based on the purchase amount. Saks Fifth Avenue offers free shipping on orders of $150 or more when using a discount code.

Last week, Neiman Marcus issued a promotion code allowing free shipping on all orders for a week but extended it until Labor day after Nordstrom’s announcement.

Nordstrom announced earlier this month it would invest 15% of its budget into improving its online capacity, including recently launching an enhanced mobile website, and a search by store function on its retail website.

Nordstrom’s free shipping does have some restrictions, however; it excludes products from Coach or Westin Heavenly Bed, merchandise from Nordstrom Rack or international sales. Shoppers can expedite purchases by paying a $15 fee for two day shipping.

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