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The patient shopper gets the reward.

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now behind us, let's take a moment to look at the online sales results. The early projections on total dollar sales for Cyber Monday $9.4 billion. Black Friday's online sales were nothing to complain about, either add another $7.4 Billion for a grand total of 16 billion in online sales in just two days. As much as retailers love these numbers, there is one small problem they now face. They now have to fulfill 16 billion dollars' worth of online sales in a very short period of time.

As total online sales grow year after year, it puts an increasing amount of pressure on an already straining retailer. The fundamental issue boils down to timing, it's one thing to process 16 billion dollars' worth of orders over the course of a few weeks, but when you cram this into one week, it suddenly turns into a monumental task. The maddening part for retailers is that most of these purchases are not necessarily needed the next day. The consumer could probably wait a few days if not a week or more for that purchase. After all, the holidays are still weeks away, but consumers have been conditioned into expecting delivery the same or next business day, and this is a hard habit to now break.

Want to break this consumer habit? Offer an incentive! And this is just what many retailers are now doing. Stores Like Gap and Target have now started to offer a new no-rush style of shipping often with some added incentive like a coupon's or giveaways. Gap's slow ship program ran this year across all of its various brands like Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Hill City from November 27th to December 4th. What was the incentive? The shopper was automatically entered into an hourly raffle for a $200 gift card. Gap has not revealed just how many customers have selected this slow ship option for the chance at the prizes, but it is the third year for this promotion, so it has to be reliving some of that shipping pressure, not to mention creating some positive buzz.

Consumers like fast shipping, but it's not a deal-breaker, they can be convinced to wait a bit if the incentive is right. This helps to take some pressure off retailers and shippers alike who have all been put on the hot seat as a result of online holiday season shopping. Independent retailers should use these same tools whenever possible. It will not work on some sales platforms that monitor your processing time, but if you are running your own online store, it's quite easy to offer your clients a little reward for their patience.

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