How to use free shipping to boost your ecommerce sales
“Free shipping” is a powerful marketing and sales tool in ecommerce. It used to be a benefit that selected sellers offered to their buyers. Today, however, offering the free shipping option is not extraordinary any more.
In fact, today, the lack of the free shipping option can repel thousands of online buyers flinching at ANY shipping cost.
So what is behind free shipping?
Learn more about what online buyers don’t like and how to use it to your advantage.
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Online shoppers: what DON’T they like?
Online shoppers don’t like high prices.
However, what online buyers tend to particularly dislike are the unexpected costs that make prices higher. This is a bit like a stab in the shopper’s back and a disappointment which leads to abandoned shopping carts.
For this reason, never surprise your potential customers with unexpected shipping costs, they won’t like it. And you won’t like it if they fail to buy your product/s because of this fact.
According to Statista:
56% of online buyers leave without paying when faced with unexpected costs.
International shipping is no exception. To avoid this problem, consider adding shipping costs to the product price and offer your potential shopper the free shipping option.
Should I waive shipping costs?
- Roughly 61% of consumers are willing to cancel their order if free shipping is not included in the offer.
- Shoppers spend roughly 30% more per order if they have a free shipping option.
So, yes, it’s definitely worth giving waiving shipping costs some thought.
How does free shipping work from a psychological perspective?
- We see online shopping in itself as a free delivery benefit.
- Shipping articles bought online is not perceived as an extra service. This contrasts with traditional shopping, in which case we see shipping a product to our address as a special effort.
- Free shipping gives us the illusion of choice.
- Free shipping resembles buying from the shop next door where you don’t need to pay any extra charges for transporting your item
- FREE is a powerful notion: we tend to overvalue most things that come for free, considering it a good deal.
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Should online sellers offer a product discount or free shipping?
Online buyers love discounts and they will gladly accept any price cuts you have in store for them. But is there anything that they may love even more? Yes, it’s free shipping.
What’s the best deal?
- A: $ 4.99 for an item & $ 2.00 shipping, total $ 6.99
- B: $ 6.99 total price for an item, FREE shipping
- C: $ 4.99 total price for an item, FREE shipping.
You might want to offer both a discount AND free shipping to attract more buyers. But can you really afford it and won’t it affect your margins long-term? Won’t your potential customers be wary about your product being too cheap to be of good quality?
The most sensible option may be to go for the free shipping option only.
The word FREE works like a psychological trick. The concept of free increases the likelihood of finalizing a purchase immensely.
So yes, instead of a product discount, offer your customers free shipping.
Nudge the buyer away from ordering either too much or too little
An alternative option is to offer free shipping when consumers spend a certain amount of money on products from your shop.
This way, you can motivate them to buy more from you. Of course, your free shipping thresholds can be adjusted, depending on the quantities that will help your business keep shipping costs down.
How to set thresholds & prices? You can offer free shipping when:
- Customers buy smaller quantities with greater frequency: perfect if you want your consumers to visit your website more regularly.
- Customers buy larger quantities: perfect if you want them to shop with you more.
Consider your business objectives and what your company can afford and whether you wish your consumer to buy larger or smaller quantities.
For example, some companies may prefer to receive smaller orders, which reduces order processing costs. By the same token, you need to offer price variations when free shipping is an option.
Your free shipping policy should be a well thought out strategy that will bring you the desired benefits.
Free shipping in ecommerce: conclusion
The world of ecommerce knows well the importance of free shipping. It applies to both online businesses and shoppers.
You may have already made the most of offering free shipping options to your customers. If you haven’t tested it yet, though, it may be high time to do so.
Consider what works best for your business and start attracting more buyers to your shop!
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