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Should I Offer Free Shipping in My Online Boutique?

December 3, 2020 05:23

 

We’ve ALL been there.

 

We find a super cute T-shirt or pair of earrings. We head straight to checkout, super jazzed…

 

And then we realize shipping is an extra $10. 

 

So we go from being all excited about what we’re ordering to convincing ourselves we didn’t REALLY want it that much anyway.

 

We all have one thing in common: none of us like paying for shipping! With the rise of companies like Amazon offering free shipping on everything, customers are less and less willing to pay for it… and more and more willing to do whatever it takes to avoid it.

 

Offering free shipping can lead to higher volume sales and less cart abandonment. But here’s the thing... nothing is free. When you offer free shipping, you’re not magically erasing shipping costs – you’re just choosing to pay for that cost instead of making the customer do it. 

 

So should you offer free shipping in your online boutique?

 

Free shipping is a great perk for your customers and a good way to incentivize people to complete their purchase. Though it may eat into your profits a bit, there’s a good chance it will also help drive more profits altogether.

 

Here’s how you can offer free shipping & create a win-win scenario for you and your customers in the process:

 

Raise your prices to cover it

Worried that paying for shipping costs will eat too much into your profits? Raise your prices to cover it. Make sure your margins are large enough to leave you with an acceptable profit even after covering the cost of inventory, shipping/fulfillment, and other expenses. 

 

Be sure to advertise free shipping throughout your store as a huge selling point. Many customers will be willing to spend more per item when they know they won’t have to pay for shipping on top of it. In fact, one study found that free shipping offers saving a customer $6.99 were more appealing to most than discounts that cut the purchase price by $10.

 

Offer free shipping for higher volume orders only

Concerned about raising all of your prices storewide to account for free shipping? Consider setting a threshold, whether you offer free shipping on orders $25+, $50+, or $100+. This will encourage your customers to buy more. Studies show that free shipping usually promotes a 15-20% increase in sales – which should be more than enough to cover the cost of shipping!

 

Offer free returns instead

Still nervous about offering free shipping? Consider offering a different valuable perk instead, like free returns. Especially if you sell clothing, this can be a big selling point for both new and returning customers. 

 

One major barrier to buying online is the risk factor of not knowing how something will fit or how it’ll look in person. Offering free returns is still an investment, but eliminating that barrier to purchasing online can really pay off. In fact, one online retailer found that instituting a free-return shipping policy increased average spending per customer by a whopping 357%. Just be sure you advertise this perk throughout your shop and make it a selling point!

 

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