Free Shipping Online: A Powerful Conversion Tool

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Despite the costs to ecommerce stores, free shipping remains a powerful incentive proven to convert sales. Here are some of the forms that “free” shipping can take:

  • Sitewide – If your profit margin supports it, you can offer free shipping on all the products you carry.

  • With Membership – Customers receive free shipping if they pay an annual fee (for example, Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping) or hold a store credit card.

  • With Minimum Order – Free shipping is offered to customers who purchase at and above a predetermined dollar amount.

  • Select Items – If shipping costs vary greatly across an online store’s items, free shipping can be offered only on certain items.

  • Pick Up – An ecommerce store with one or more brick and mortar locations can offer an option to purchase online, and pick up in-store for free.

  • Return Shipping – Offering free return shipping can help reduce buying uncertainty and convert sales, particularly on items that require being seen or tried on in person.

  • Location Specific – Free shipping can be applied to particular destinations; for example, within the contiguous United States only.

  • Flat Rate Shipping – Though not wholly free, offering a single low flat rate for shipping, no matter how many items are purchased, is still an appealing customer incentive.

The numbers support it – FreeShipping.org’s studies conclusively show that online customers prefer merchants that offer free shipping, and will often abandon their cart or find another store that does offer free shipping if charges reflected in their shopping cart are too high.

Have you tried any of these free shipping tactics with your online store? Let us know in the comments.

[Photo credit: malias]

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