A Forrester Research report is suggesting that after a festive season of e-commerce freebies like complimentary shipping, xmas discounts, and other bonuses, customers have come to expect such practices - all the time.

Online businesses which generally use these techniques for customer acquisition purposes are finding that, as Forrester's survey says, 82 percent of online consumers factored shipping costs into their "purchase decision", and are less likely to make quick purchases if shipping is not free.

Personally, I can identify with this completely. Only with my first ever online purchase (a book) did I pay shipping. Since then, when buying CDs, I've taken advantage of ChaosMusic's "spend $50, get free shipping" offer.

Will companies, forced to maintain low prices, free shipping, and so on, continue to struggle in their money-making efforts?

What do you think? If you are a customer, how much do bonus offers and free shipping influence your shopping? If you work for (or own) an e-commerce company, are you noticing a decrease in abandoned shopping carts while free shipping offers are available? Please login, and post your comments below.

A report from news.com which gives some information about what techniques companies are using for customer acquisition, and how these compare with their standard "off-season" practices, can be found here.