Should Your Business Offer Free Shipping? The Answer May Surprise You

Free Shipping

If you’re in the business of e-commerce, chances are you’ve asked yourself, should I offer free shipping? The answer may surprise you, with new research delving in to whether it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Here are the pros and cons of two options available when handling the big question of free shipping.

Standard Free Shipping

Having free shipping as the standard for your online store is what most people think of when they think “free shipping.” The best example of this is Amazon Prime: While not necessarily “free,” it’s marketed as such, and free two-day shipping is a tough price to beat. This highlights one of the big issues with standard free shipping: your customers will expect it. Chances are if you make it the standard for your store, it may come back to haunt you if shipping costs increase. Not only that, but having free shipping 24/7 cuts out one of the big draws of offering it in the first place; being able to market it.

However, standard free shipping does have its benefits if you can keep your shipping costs low:

  • Free shipping gives a huge leg up over your competition in the eyes of a consumer, as there are no surprises in your shopping cart at checkout.
  • According to Marketing Zeus, 55% of buyers interviewed said they abandoned their shopping carts due to high shipping costs; a non-issue if you exclusively offer free shipping.

Occasional Free Shipping

Occasional free shipping is another possible avenue. With an occasional free shipping plan, your business can offer free shipping for the holidays, as a sale, or as a “thank you” for making an order over a certain amount. This can be a big draw to customers who may have been unsure of making a purchase in the first place.

According to Marketing Land, consumers are two times more likely to respond to free shipping than percent off deals. That’s a huge difference that definitely shows the power of leveraging free shipping as an exclusive deal as opposed to a standard service.

Conclusion: Do What’s Right for Your Business

Here are some last minute tips to follow when making the final decision:

  • If you can keep shipping costs low, offer free shipping as standard.
  • Follow the shipping offers of your closest competitors.
  • For occasional free shipping, market it as an exclusive deal through your social and email channels.
  • Provide free shipping to users who purchase over a certain amount.

The world of free shipping is a complex one with many different avenues depending on your business. If you need expert advice, J. M. Field Marketing is always here to help with your fulfillment and shipping needs.

Should Your Business Offer Free Shipping? The Answer May Surprise You was last modified: January 26th, 2016 by Zack
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