There are many competitive advantages to offering “free shipping” to your e-commerce customers, and if your competitors are doing it, you might not want to be the store that charges extra fees to shoppers.
That almost certainly means they’ll buy the product somewhere else, right?
Should you offer free shipping or look for cheap ways to speed up delivery for customers who use e-services? packet’s Find out how to use free shipping as a marketing tool that customers will love and how to choose the best option for your store (and tell their family and friends about).
Free shipping can cause long wait times for delivery.
The average person who buys something online wants it right away. Amazon Prime comes to mind, right? People are willing to spend more than $150 per year to get “free two-day shipping.” Even though that’s how it’s sold to customers as a benefit, e-commerce experts know that it’s just a service that gives you a discount on shipping if you pay for it ahead of time. That also comes with some pretty cool monthly benefits for streaming music and videos.
So, when you look at the average delivery times for cheap wholesale items on AliExpress and see 30 or 60 days, what does that mean? You can’t help but think that NO ONE will want to wait THAT LONG for a product they bought online. No matter how cool it is or how much cheaper the price is.
Members of Dropship Corporation can use our software to look for products from all AliExpress sellers, including an increasing number (up to 10,000) of American wholesalers. You can quickly see the information about fulfillment and shipping, and you can sort by e-packet delivery service to make sure that your customer doesn’t have to wait too long.
Still not as quick as Amazon Prime, right? But that’s when you need to come up with a pricing strategy that makes customers feel like the wait was worth it. In this video on our blog, you can find out more about e-packet delivery as a way to save money and improve customer service.
Consumers are starting to realize that they can save a lot more money by waiting for products and not giving in to their need for “instant gratification” and shipping. This is an important thing to keep in mind. We can thank stores like WISH for this change in culture. If you ask a regular online shopper about their WISH purchases, you’ll find that, on average, items take between 4 and 6 weeks to arrive, depending on the item. But because the prices are so low, people don’t mind the wait.
Remember this method when you set the prices for your own products. Use e-packet shipping when you can to get your customers’ packages to them faster. But if you can’t, make sure your product is priced at a discount that makes it seem like “an offer they can’t refuse” because it’s such a great deal. Trust us; smart shoppers are willing to wait for the right product at the best price.
Using free shipping as a way to boost the average order value (AOV)
Can you make your free shipping offer more like a game so that people have fun and save a lot of money at the same time? One of the rules of good customer service is to make the decision to buy and the process of buying fun. If you place a “qualified purchase” (one that meets a certain minimum order value) and add rewards like “free shipping,” “discounted product bundles,” or “free products,” you can get a discount or a free product. You can be sure that your customers will add a few more items to their carts to get the discount and extra rewards.
You can make that a regular part of your e-commerce sales strategy. Or, you can make the incentives for AOV (average order value) limited-time offers that coincide with big shopping holidays. There is a lot of evidence that both of these methods help increase the amount each customer spends when they come to your store. Try both ways and see which one works best for your brand and business model.
Forklifts are free to ship.
Spend a little more to get shipping for free? Online shoppers love getting a good deal.
Abandoned Cart Syndrome is made worse by shipping and handling fees.
Be honest about the fact that shipping and handling fees will be added to the prices of the items in your online store. There are some good ways to add fair S&H costs that won’t affect your profit margin, the amount of money you make from sales, or the appeal of the products you sell online.
When a customer has enjoyed shopping on your site, looked around, and added items to the cart, they should know that there will be shipping and handling fees when they are ready to check out. One of the biggest mistakes we see every day is when business owners hide the fact that there is an extra 10% to 25% fee for shipping until the customer gets to the checkout page.
Then what does it do? That client has left. Extra fees at the end of the sales process are bad for business and make customers feel tricked and lied to. Most shoppers find it so offensive that they will just walk away from the products they were planning to buy. Even worse, they probably won’t come back because they think that hidden shipping costs are bad customer service. They are right, too.
There are two good ways to solve the problem and give your customers a good shopping experience when you add shipping and handling costs to every product you sell. One idea is to include the cost of shipping in the flat-fee list price for every product. Then it’s easy to talk to your customer, since shipping and handling are already built into the price.
This way of building in shipping and handling costs is very customer-friendly and makes sense if you think about how you shop in a real store. Sure, we expect to pay more sales tax at the register (depending on where you live), but we don’t expect to pay extra fees that make it hard to figure out if we’re getting a good deal on the things we’re buying. This model is used by a lot of stores, and customers like knowing that the price they see is the price they will pay.
The other way to tell people about shipping and handling costs, which takes more work but is accurate, is to add them as a subtext below the price of the product. Tell your customer how much each unit costs so there are no surprises when they go to pay.
Many people who have shopped online before know that it is convenient to order something from an e-commerce provider. They don’t have to waste time driving to more than one store, finding a place to park, fighting through crowds to find the things they want, and then standing in long lines of tired people to buy what they want. And for most busy people, it’s worth a few extra bucks to skip that time-consuming process and have their products delivered in a box right to their door.
Sales can go up if you offer free shipping.
Some people have grown up with computers and have been shopping online for years to find good deals on good goods. These early adopters and pro-level consumers have the most experience looking for the same product and figuring out which store has the best deal, whether it’s a big box store or an independent online store. They don’t always look at the brand or culture of the online store. Instead, they mostly look at two things: the price of the product and the cost of shipping and handling. That will help them figure out where to buy the product (because they know enough about e-commerce to understand that they have many different resellers to choose from).
Others compare the price of an item they want to buy online with the cost of shipping and handling, which is a simple but important factor. Sure, if you order something online, you won’t have to waste time going in and out of stores to find it, which is a plus. But when you add in the cost of shipping and handling, that advantage quickly fades into the background. Even more so if the costs of shipping and handling are higher than what the average customer thinks is fair.
If you do offer free shipping, use it as a way to promote your store and bring in new customers. Online shoppers definitely see it as a benefit, so put it in banners on your site, as subtext in blog posts, in sponsored ads, and on your social media profiles and cover art.
“If it won’t cost me anything extra, why shouldn’t I just order it online?
“This is the value proposition you create when you add free shipping to your pricing strategy.
Don’t feel like you have to offer free shipping every day of the year. Take a cue from how Big Box stores market themselves. Around Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Ramadan, Easter, and Valentine’s Day, they offer “free shipping” as a huge incentive to get people to buy.
To use free shipping as an incentive, advertise a special code that shoppers can use at checkout to get the deal. Why does a code work as an incentive to make a sale? When the shopper adds up all the items in their cart, they can also see how much they would usually pay for shipping and handling. (Don’t hide that feature; they need to see how much it would have cost without your free shipping offer).
When online shoppers use a “free shipping code,” the price of their purchase goes down. This is a valuable experience that makes them happy. They know they saved money, which makes them more likely to finish their orders (less likely to leave their carts at checkout) and gives them a real sense of satisfaction. What do you know? People like to tell their family and friends about deals they find, so the coupon code for free shipping is likely to get passed around. In fact, you can add apps to your Woocommerce or Shopify store that make it easy to create a popup with the “free shipping code” that your customers can share on Facebook or Twitter with just a couple clicks.
On our SLACK channel or in our 60-Day Challenge Facebook Group, Dropship Corporation members can get help and talk with other members and e-commerce business owners. Ask questions, and we’ll give you some guidance and advice you can use to start experimenting with “free shipping” and Average Order Value (AOV) strategies to help you build momentum and sales volume.
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