Most e-commerce websites operate on knife-edge margins and frequently overlook the impact that shipping for free can have on product order volumes.
When every extra cost has an impact on the bottom line, offering free shipping on your sales can seem like an extravagance. However, that's an illusion.
Free order shipping - at least the perception of free shipping - will, without a doubt, increase the orders on your site and you would be wise to make it a policy to optimize your web sales.
Removing delivery charges for orders makes excellent business sense for these reasons.
1. Utilize Free to Avoid Competitive Disadvantage
Free shipping is almost a standard feature in today's marketplace.
When you don't offer fee free shipping, your value proposition is lagging behind from the start. Business is tough enough without handing your competitors an easy advantage.
The best example of free shipping increasing sales volume is Amazon Prime.
Thanks to the widespread adoption of Amazon services, and in this case Amazon Prime's fee free model, consumers have been trained to expect the ability to buy products on the web without the addition of shipping and order fees. There are few discounts better than free.
Thus it's paramount to eliminate the perception of shipping fees from your web shop. This may mean that you have to increase the sticker price of your goods to masks the 'free' fulfillment and delivery cost; just remember, it's the perception that counts here. No online shopper likes seeing their cart value increase due to added fees at checkout.
Delivery fees affect cart abandonment rates, don't be that guy or gal.
2. Increases Order Values
But you don't need to offer free shipping on all your orders.
Setting a fair but significant minimum qualifying value for orders to qualify for free shipping can encourage shoppers to spend more so they buy enough products to unlock the free shipping incentive.
This keeps your stock moving and raises overall revenue for your shop.
They key to this method is you want your buyers asking themselves, “How can I get free shipping?”
As the video above points out, offering shoppers a reason to increase the volume of their orders - free shipping in this case - goes a long way to make the customer happy and improve your business at the same time.
What stores offer free shipping?
Do some due diligence by typing in “free shipping + your product” in google to discover which competitor offers free shipping on qualified orders.
3. Boost Conversion Rates
The sudden introduction of shipping charges is the No.1 cause of shopping cart abandonment.
All your marketing and conversion rate optimization work can be undone in a split second when you hit your customers with a surprise fee.
Free shipping has been shown to influence a shoppers buying decisions, in thousands of A/B test, in many consumer psychology studies and in tons of surveys.
4. Greater Confidence, Lower Risk
Stripping fulfillment charges out of the equation completely increases customer confidence and eases their reluctance to buy.
Removing the risk with free returns reduces buyer hesitation and increases sales.
Removing return fees has gone even a step further with trunk club subscription services that send out a big box of items every month, normally clothing, allowing the subscriber to try on the items and return what they don't want to keep at no cost.
5. Increased Customer Satisfaction
Free shipping streamlines the whole shopping experience from the customer's viewpoint.
A smooth experience means a customer is more likely to return to you for future purchases, rather than trying out a competitor.
And as any retailer knows, repeat customers are the most valuable ones of all.
If you're still on the fence, you can offer a selection of shipping options, or downgrade the shipping available when free, add-in guarantees and more to improve customer satisfaction for shipping on orders :
- free standard shipping
- 7 day shipping
- economy shipping
- free economy shipping
- shipping guarantee
- enjoy free shipping
- free delivery
You may also like: The Consumer Psychology of Product Packaging
6. Better Ratings and Reviews
Lastly, this increased satisfaction will also feed through into better customer reviews and ratings on sites such as Yelp and Facebook.
In today's social media-dominated landscape, a strong portfolio of positive reviews is a priceless business asset.
Wrapping Up: Is Free Shipping Really Free?
Of course, a store owner must meet the minimum expense of shipping to cover the orders free shipping cost and benefit from more orders.
While it may take some time to find free shipping that works for your case, the effort you put into getting free shipping offers systematized into your business structure will maximize your sales volumes, the frequency of orders and your business bottom line.
Offering free shipping is a no brainer for growing your online business and keeping your customers happy.
Before reconfiguring your current shipping offers, you can test out how free shipping will affect your customer purchase behavior in a low risk way by having a deal of the day promo on a few items, or a site wide promo code good for gratis shipping.
Deals, codes, coupons and other discounts are the best way you can get started before going all in on free shipping as a standard operating procedure for online orders.
When you factor delivery into your prices as a cost of doing business, the commercial benefits of eliminating shipping fees from your web shop will far outweigh any hit to your margins.
Get started some free shipping promos to discover all the new purchases you receive.
After the Checkout: Make Shipping Easy on Yourself with the Help of Fulfillment Bridge
Once you have your site optimized, from guests checkout options and pricing to images and user generated content, your sales will start to climb. Prepare to keep your customers happy and yourself sane by taking advantage of the full suite of Fulfillment Bridge Ecommerce solutions.