Today’s savvy consumers have come to expect free shipping as a perk of spending their money online. But as the retailer on the other side of that equation, it may sound not so great. Turn free shipping for customers from your fulfillment warehouse into a win-win proposition this holiday season with these helpful tips.
How to Offer Free Shipping the Smart Way
Shopkick is a shopping app company that partners with major retailers such as Target, Old Navy and Disney Stores. According to their survey of holiday shoppers, free shipping was the top benefit expected by 94 percent of respondents.
So, the question is not if you’ll offer free shipping, but how. You can resign yourself to accepting it as the cost of doing business, or you can use these creative suggestions from experts to offer free shipping without sacrificing your profit margins.
1. Build shipping costs into the sticker price.
This is the easiest and most common way to cover free shipping. When you factor the costs into the sale price of your products, the difference is negligible and greatly outweighed by the perceived benefit of free shipping.
2. Optimize packaging.
When is the last time you reviewed your packaging standards? Elements like oversized boxes and excessive filler can unnecessarily drive up your shipping costs. Proper packaging keeps shipping expenses manageable while reducing your carbon footprint for additional savings.
3. Boost average order value.
If a customer can be enticed to increase the dollar value of their order, you realize a greater profit with only an incremental change in shipping costs. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
• An order includes multiple purchases of the same item
• Free shipping kicks in at a specific minimum order threshold
• Offer free shipping on a select number of items with higher profit margins
4. Tie free shipping to customer loyalty programs
Amazon Prime launched its growth to more than 200 million subscribers with the promise of free shipping. But you don’t have to confine this strategy strictly to paid membership services. You can simply offer free shipping as a perk for repeat customers.
5. Offer additional shipping options.
It is said that time is money, and for some people, that means they are willing to pay for it. Yes, most people are in a position to wait for standard shipping if it means getting it for free. Others are in more of a hurry, whether they have a pressing need or they’re just impatient. Expedited shipping options provide flexibility as well as another way to offset the costs of free shipping.
6. Offer event-based free shipping.
Instead of blanket free shipping, consider using strategic timing. Create a set schedule on certain days and times or run flash sales where you “randomly” announce free shipping for sales during a limited period of time. Both plans will build excitement in shoppers and encourage return visits to your site.
7. Partner with an experienced fulfillment warehouse.
Let’s face it. Selling is what you know and love. An experience fulfillment warehouse can offer advantages, such as good relationships with carriers, that keep shipping costs down while providing superior service to your customers. In the meantime, you’re free to work on building your business.