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Shop.org: E-tailers will be more promotional than ever

Washington - The holiday season kickoff - Thanksgiving weekend - will be all about special promotions and deals for online shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation.

The newly released 10th annual Shop.org eHoliday survey, which was conducted by BigInsight and polled 9,383 consumers from Nov. 1-6, found that 97.3% of online retailers will offer special promotions at some point over Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and the weekend. That is up from 90.2% last year.

Additionally, 45.7% will offer specific online deals on Thanksgiving Day, and a record 85.0% will offer special promotions on Cyber Monday, compared to 78.4 % last year.

"Consumers are increasingly shopping and buying both online and in-store this holiday season," said Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org executive director. "Savvy retailers are getting the word out to customers about in-store offers and events using online vehicles such as Facebook, email, Twitter, and mobile alerts. Now more than ever retailers are integrating their digital and in-store promotions, working to create that seamless shopping experience that they know consumers demand and expect."

Looking to draw in shoppers, retailers said they will sweeten deals with increased offerings of coupons and/or percentages off their purchases (47.1%), limited-time promotions (26.5%), and other online-specific promotions (29.4%).

However the biggest treat they'll be giving their customers will be free shipping without conditions, as 44.1% of retailers polled will offer this "customer-favorite" on Cyber Monday - up significantly from the just 12.5% last year. Another 29.4% will offer free standard shipping with conditions.

"There's no question that one of shoppers' favorite deals is free shipping-in fact, many expect it- and retailers are responding," said Pam Goodfellow, BigInsight consumer insights director. "The free shipping ‘savings' plus any additional discount or promotion should pique online shoppers' interest from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday this year."

The weekend doesn't end on Monday - or as it is now called, Cyber Monday, when 56.8% or 72 million people are expected to do online shopping for a holiday gift from the office this year, the survey found.

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