Let’s talk about free shipping. Those two, simple words hold so much power in the world of ecommerce. If you want to make it as an online seller, you need to learn why free shipping is essential and why you should be offering it whenever possible.
Everytime you shop on Amazon, how often do you skip products that aren’t Prime? It happens all the time. Products that are fulfilled by merchant (FBM) still sell, but not at the same frequency as the much more convenient Prime listings.
Free Shipping is the Standard
The truth is, people love free shipping, even if they are secretly paying for it in the product’s price. Free shipping has become the standard and companies that try and charge for shipping are only making themselves look like the enemy.
As an online store, you need to learn how to bake your shipping costs into the price of your product. When all things are equal, shoppers will usually choose the option with free shipping. Online shopping is all about convenience and free shipping is the ultimate convenience.
Reduce Cart Abandonment
If we know that free shipping is something our customers want, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that charging for shipping actually increases cart abandonment and sales.
Kissmetrics found that shoppers were 28% more likely to abandon their cart if they experienced unexpected shipping costs. Think about that for a second. Reducing something as important as cart abandonment by nearly 28% would lead to a lot more sales and more profit for your business.
Increase Potential Sales
Look, if free shipping reduces cart abandonment, it is reasonable to assume that it also increases sales.
A poll by the National Retail Federation found that 66% of online shoppers consider free shipping to be an important deciding factor when it comes to online shopping and whether they follow through with an online purchase. The numbers don’t lie.
It’s Profitable Too
I bet this sounds weird, but hear me out. There are two ways to approach this statement.
The first revolves around you baking your shipping costs into your prices. In this scenario, the shipping is free in name only and your customers are actually paying for it without actually knowing they are. You get all the benefits of offering free shipping and it doesn’t cost you anything.
The second way this works is based on the fact that most consumers are willing to wait a little longer for products that ship for free. Rather than sending things through express shipping, you can usually send it through the cheapest method, saving you money, and keep your customers happy in the process.
The Question of Returns
A lot of online stores fear that their customers will take advantage of free shipping and be more likely to return a product, costing your business money in the process.
While this is a worthy concern, it doesn’t happen as often as you think. If you sell high quality products, customers won’t feel the need to return them. This tends to only happen if you are selling low quality products, don’t protect your products during the shipping process, or engage in false advertising.
If you want to run a successful ecommerce business, you have to accept that free shipping is the standard. There is no way to avoid it, and if you try to fight it, you will cost yourself potential sales in the process.
Free shipping doesn’t have to be a drag on your profits, there are many ways you can benefit from it and still make high-profit margins on your sales.
Now get out there and fix those listings.