Why Free Shipping Matters and How You Can Offer It On Your Website

It’s NO secret that a FREE SHIPPING offer helps greatly in converting website viewers to customers. According to Comscore’s webinar on February 11, 2010, the resource speaker Gian Fulgoni mentioned that 75% of the online shoppers asked answered that they would switch to another online retailer if shipping was not free during the checkout process.

In a 2008 survey conducted by Forrester Research, online retailers noticed that their web department became larger by 18%. However, 40% of the customers surveyed expressed that they were shocked at the shipping costs. Thus, carts were abandoned upon checkout. Sadly, many orders did not push through.

Two Brown Boxes

The Many Ways to Offer FREE Shipping

The Free Shipping Tactic

In order to generate more sales, several online retailers decided to add FREE SHIPPING as one of their selling strategies. Rather than shopping at Amazon, where shipping rates are calculated per item, customers now prefer websites like Wordery and Book Depository. These businesses make use of the “free worldwide shipping” marketing. How can people say NO to that?

The trend continues to increase and many businesses follow the same suite. There are a variety of ways to offer the FREE SHIPPING strategy:

  • Free Shipping Will Be Available Once You Reach the Minimum.

    • Amazon may not offer free worldwide shipping. However, they utilize this shipping strategy. They only provide free shipping for orders above a certain amount. When you order over $25, you are entitled to a free shipping option upon checkout. The package will be delivered to any U.S. state within 5-8 business days.
  • Flat-Rate Shipping Strategy.

    • Another popular marketing strategy is the flat-rate shipping. This option is cheaper than weight-based shipping especially if the items are quite heavy. The United States Postal Service offers a Priority Mail program to any U.S. destination. With its flat-rate shipping option, the shipping cost is uniform for all packages as long as it is not beyond the 70 lbs. maximum weight.
  • Free Shipping Only Applies to Selected Products.

    • Offering free shipping when you are selling a bundle is ideal. It encourages customers to try out the product bundle. Instead of just buying a piece, you are enticing them to get a bundle + FREE SHIPPING. For example, you can offer a jewelry set that includes a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a bracelet. Group products that complement each other and offer them as a bundle to take advantage of the FREE SHIPPING offer.
  • Limited-Time Offers During the Holidays.

    • Limited-time offers are effective marketing tools in order to cross-sell other items. It’s a terrific way to subtly tell customers to check out other products. Amazon is great at putting together related items. They will show you their “customers who bought this item also bought” list. So, you will end up adding more items to your cart in order to stock up for the holidays.
    • This is also an effective strategy to sell the remainder stocks in your inventory. It’s the perfect move to remind people that this is their last chance to buy multiple quantities. For example, you can offer a buy 5, get 1 promotion.

In conclusion, there are many faces to the FREE SHIPPING marketing strategy. These are only some of the popular options. If you want to know more on Amazon marketing strategies, I’ve posted about it here. In designing a website, it’s also important to take note of these consumer behaviors. You need to study how marketing strategies like FREE SHIPPING affect eCommerce and how it can help your improve your online store.