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Logistics & Fulfilment

As self-isolation sets in, free shipping becomes “new normal”

As foot traffic in stores and shopping centres plummets, some retailers are beginning to offer free shipping to entice customers to buy online instead.

Mecca has started offering free standard shipping on all online orders, as it shifts to a new “no-touch” approach to its in-store service. Beauty retailers generally have stopped offering try-on and makeover services as a safety measure, while the coronavirus continues to spread.

“Free standard shipping on all online orders is the new normal, and available from today,” Mecca wrote in an email to its customers on Thursday.

Toys ‘R’ Us has also introduced free shipping for online orders of $50 or more. It is pitching the offer to grandparents, who may not be able to visit their grandchildren in person due to self-isolation.

“Toys ‘R’ Us is starting this initiative to help grandparents stay safe and enable them to send toys to their grandchildren free of cost,” Louis Mittoni, the toy company’s CEO, said in a statement on Thursday.

Decjuba has also opened up its free shipping to all customers, not just members of its loyalty program, writing on its website that it understands “shopping from the comfort of your home could be your preferred choice right now”.

While panic buying has driven sales growth in the supermarket sector, many retailers, especially those in discretionary categories, such as fashion and beauty, are seeing an unprecedented drop in sales.

Roy Morgan’s latest consumer confidence index is at its lowest level since 2009.

And while online retailers may be less directly affected by the crowd bans, which have seen bricks-and-mortar stores around the world close, they are not immune from the broader spending slowdown.

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