A Million Ways To Offer Free Shipping In Reality
With many eCommerce giants offering free shipping to all its customers, the question for other ecommerce websites isn’t ‘should I offer free shipping?’ The more appropriate question is ‘can I offer free shipping?’ Offering free shipping might seem like a big cost if you do not have complete understanding of the various options available to you. This write up explores the different ways one can incorporate free shipping without compromising on profits.
When you are selling niche products, you aren’t competing with multiple websites for customer base. Therefore, for niche, hard to find products, you can simply include the shipping cost in the price of the product. Customers like the option of free shipping available to them even if the products are priced steep.
High Margin Products
If you are selling expensive products like laptops, cell phones, refrigerators, etc; odds are that you have a decent margin on them. Consider taking a dip in the margin to offer free shipping to customers. But in return, you can expect increase in the volume of sales to compensate for the lost margins. If you offer a product competitively priced and offer free shipping along with it, you are definitely looking at increased volume of customers.
Low Margin Products
It is quite a challenge for merchants to offer free shipping on low margin products. You can set a minimum limit to orders above which you offer free shipping. For example if a customer is buying a book from your website for INR 155 and your minimum limit set for free shipping is INR 200, the customer is most likely to pick up an impulse item like stationery or a mug for another INR100. What you did here was not only offer them free shipping but also increased their shopping volume!
But if you are unable to offer free shipping in any of the above manner, it is still not a lost cause. Companies are innovating everyday to come up with new methods to make the dream of free shipping come to reality.
Here are a few ideas you can implement after carefully analyzing your nature of products and nature of your customer base:
• The good part of using free shipping as a promotional tool is that the results are easily measurable. Therefore, you can look into your marketing budget and explore if there is place for free shipping.
• If you have a vast range of products in your website, you can offer free shipping on select products. Similarly, you can offer free shipping on select locations where you can afford it. These tactics will divert some traffic on your website.
• Some companies today are also offering a free membership club for its customers. The membership comes with an annual fee and shipping is free for the club members! You can generate some bulk profits by this method and carefully divert the funds to bring free shipping to reality.
• If you are unable to manage any of the above, keep a flat shipping rate. Customers find it frustrating when they select a product and then find varying shipping prices on each of them. Studies have suggested that with flat shipping rates, customers add the cost of the price of the product itself.
• Going further, there are many shipping companies who offer free shipping for your products as against free advertising for them in your website. It sounds like a classic win-win situation right?
• You can also urge vendors to offer direct shipping to your customers. Some vendors offer direct shipping thus taking you off the responsibility!
• If you are picking products from your warehouse and then shipping it to customers, you can consider direct shipping form vendor to customer. This will save you costs in storage of inventory which you can later direct towards free shipping.
• You can also consider offering free shipping only on returns. If you have a high returns rate his will boost your customer volume.