What Free Shipping Means to Your Customers

Customers want free shipping. Amazon has forced the issue, pushing retailers to offer free shipping on products. The customers of today expect shipping to be fast, and if you’re in a niche where other retailers are offering free shipping or better prices, you’ll need to offer the same perk to compete.

Free shipping

One study suggests that 90% of consumers say that free shipping is the incentive to shop online.

People want to shop online because it allows for shopping day and night, but if shipping is too costly, these shoppers will go to ground stores.

If you’re a small business owner, free shipping may mean the difference between your customers going to Amazon or shopping on your site.

So, what does free shipping mean to your customers?

Your Brand is Willing to Compete with Worldwide Retailers

If your site specializes in male scrubs and they can be found on Amazon or Walmart, consumers will take a few points into account:

  • Pricing
  • Shipping

If your pricing is similar, shipping will then be considered. Whoever offers free shipping or better shipping prices may get the sale. You may not be able to compete on price, and if you have matched shipping, one thing will come into play: experience.

Consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience, so perhaps you can beat the retailer in other ways:

  • Better customer support
  • Guides and information on the products
  • Personalized experience

In fact, 42% of consumers would pay more for a welcoming experience, and 52% will pay more for speed and efficiency.

Excitement to Buy Now

Free shipping creates excitement for consumers, and your brand can leverage this excitement. How? Consumers are willing to add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. One survey found that 58% of shoppers will add additional items to their cart just for free shipping.

As a business owner, this means that free shipping can increase your average sale figures.

Average sales per customer will increase when there’s an incentive to reach free shipping thresholds, but keep these thresholds modest to avoid forcing customers to look elsewhere for free shipping.

Free Shipping is One Less Fee

One thing that consumers despise above all else is extra fees. When a consumer makes a purchase, extra fees at checkout can cause them to abandon their shopping cart. I recently made a purchase for someone who is recovering from cancer. My gift was $29.99, but shipping was going to be over $15 – a very high fee.

I searched around for coupons, and I found one that took 20% off of the total.

Otherwise, I was willing to abandon the order because shipping should never be that high when delivery was 5+ days away. Even Amazon has learned that a mere $0.20 was enough to keep French buyers from shopping on their site.

So, when you offer free shipping, it can mean the difference between making a sale or not.

There’s a perceived value in free shipping, and consumers put a lot of emotion into a purchase when they’re charged an unexpected fee, even if this fee is higher cost shipping.


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