Aiming for Amazon: ShopRunner Launches Web Shipping Service for Retailers

Online-retail giant Amazon.com tackled one of the key challenges to shopping online -- the shipping costs -- when it began offering free shipping for many orders starting back in 2002, as well as a flat-fee annual membership program for shipping starting in 2005. Now retailers such as toy-store chain Toys R Us and nutritional-supplement seller GNC are following suit.

They plan to offer free shipping through a new company, ShopRunner.com, which appears to have set its sights on taking U.S. e-commerce market share away from Amazon this holiday season. ShopRunner, which is owned by Pennsylvania-based GSI Commerce, launched Tuesday with a set of 15 retail partners, including Rockport, Bare Necessities and the NFL shop already using the service and an additional 27, such as Borders (BGP), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), signed up to launch soon.

The ShopRunner site is offering a 30-day free trial for its service, which will provide two-day shipping and free returns for an unlimited number of items from its retail partners. After the trial, ShopRunner will charge $79 a year for membership, which will get members shipping from all participating retailers at no additional cost.

By launching ShopRunner, GSI appears to be taking aim at Amazon, the world's largest online retailer. Amazon's Prime shipping service also charges subscribers $79 a year to ship all their orders from the website. In the second quarter, 169 million consumers visited retail websites, a 13% jump from the same period last year, and Amazon grew its market share of the growing market with a 21% increase in site visits, according to ComScore.

GSI is spending about $5 million on ShopRunner's launch and will split a some of the subscription revenue with its member companies, ShopRunner President Mike Golden told The Wall Street Journal. He declined to say how much stores are paying for the service.


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smj3aaa

Stay away!!!! We are contacting the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General. What they advertise is very misleading and they are very hard to work with…awful! Most of my items qualified, but I was still charged by NFL.com. They give you the run around…in hopes that you just plain give up? They have online trolls EVERYWHERE trying to cover the mess that is their company. STAY AWAY. In the end, you will end up paying more than double for standard or two day shipping with this company. My guess is that they will not make it more than six months…and you will end up paying! The stores (Toys-R-Us, NFL) told me they are hard to work with…Toys-R-US gave me free shipping out of their own pocket…they said they (ShopRunner) is a third party company and that they are having a hard time with them. Save your money…join Amazon Prime or go to RETAILMENOT.com. Free site with 1,000's of free shipping codes. (No, I do not work for them…but the site has saved me a TON of money!)____STAY AWAY from SHOPRUNNER!!!!!____

December 21 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jenblair11

Shoprunner is a TOTAL scam--read the fine print carefully. Your "FREE" trial membership is not free if you don't cancel before the end of the 30-day period. If you use the service even ONCE during their so-called "FREE" trial period, and cancel ONE DAY after the 30 day trial period, they will charge you the full $79. No pro-rating, no partial refund, nothing. I canceled ONE DAY after the 30 days and they gave NO sort of consideration for having used the service ONCE. I paid $79 to ship ONE item from Toys r Us! So if you sign up just to get free shipping during their BOGUS free trial, make sure to CANCEL RIGHT AWAY!!!

November 25 2010 at 1:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jenblair11's comment
smj3aaa

Stay away!!!! We are contacting the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General. What they advertise is very misleading and they are very hard to work with…awful! Most of my items qualified, but I was still charged by NFL.com. They give you the run around…in hopes that you just plain give up? They have online trolls EVERYWHERE trying to cover the mess that is their company. STAY AWAY. In the end, you will end up paying more than double for standard or two day shipping with this company. My guess is that they will not make it more than six months…and you will end up paying! The stores (Toys-R-Us, NFL) told me they are hard to work with…Toys-R-US gave me free shipping out of their own pocket…they said they (ShopRunner) is a third party company and that they are having a hard time with them. Save your money…join Amazon Prime or go to RETAILMENOT.com. Free site with 1,000's of free shipping codes. (No, I do not work for them…but the site has saved me a TON of money!)____STAY AWAY from SHOPRUNNER!!!!!____

December 21 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rkumarsmail

Until they too offer the "NO SALES TAX" savings that one gets shopping at Amazon, I find it hard to see people paying another $79 to shop here. I think the only way they can compete is either by offering this sales-tax savings benefit too or use their legal/ legistlative efforts to level the playing field that unfairly takes biz away from sales-tax collecting sites.

October 10 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rkumarsmail's comment
smj3aaa

Stay away!!!! We are contacting the BBB and the Ohio Attorney General. What they advertise is very misleading and they are very hard to work with…awful! Most of my items qualified, but I was still charged by NFL.com. They give you the run around…in hopes that you just plain give up? They have online trolls EVERYWHERE trying to cover the mess that is their company. STAY AWAY. In the end, you will end up paying more than double for standard or two day shipping with this company. My guess is that they will not make it more than six months…and you will end up paying! The stores (Toys-R-Us, NFL) told me they are hard to work with…Toys-R-US gave me free shipping out of their own pocket…they said they (ShopRunner) is a third party company and that they are having a hard time with them. Save your money…join Amazon Prime or go to RETAILMENOT.com. Free site with 1,000's of free shipping codes. (No, I do not work for them…but the site has saved me a TON of money!)____STAY AWAY from SHOPRUNNER!!!!!____

December 21 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply