Free Shipping: A Powerful Marketing Tactic

The online commerce world is constantly changing, yet one thing remains the same: the dramatic impact “free shipping” has on sales. “Free shipping” is the top offer customers look for and will respond to in e-mail messages. In addition, many customers abandon their shopping carts because of high shipping charges and select retailers who offer free shipping over those who don’t.

Many people wonder, is free shipping really free? Unlikely. Pricing is often a perception game, with the cost of shipping getting absorbed into the product cost. However, many people would often rather pay more for a product than pay the extra shipping.

Here are a few creative shipping promotion ideas to encourage customers to purchase from you rather than your competitor’s website:

  • Offer a shipping promo relevant to purchase amount. For example: Receive free shipping with an order or $50 or more.
  • Send a free shipping code as an exclusive offer, such as a birthday or anniversary promo, or to those who “like” you on Facebook.
  • Depending on the types of products you offer, consider an affordable $1/item shipping option.
  • Offer free site-to-store pickup, which also encourages additional sales when customers pick up their package.
  • Offer a customer loyalty club that offers free shipping or reimburses shipping after reaching X amount of annual purchases.
  • Consider offering a free shipping club that usually carries an annual membership fee. For example: Pay a $30 annual membership fee to receive free shipping on every purchase for one year. This not only encourages loyal customers to purchase more than they may otherwise, but also encourages customers to do their shopping exclusively at your business versus another because of free shipping.
  • Offer a flat-rate shipping promo. While shipping isn’t free, it can often encourage customers to make more purchases, knowing they will only pay X for shipping regardless of their purchase amount.

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