If you are selling un-downloadable products on the Internet, you need to charge for shipping and handling. However, if you bill for these wisely, you can increase sales.
According to a survey conducted by comScore during the 2011 Christmas shopping season, 36% of online shoppers said that they only purchase from stores that offer free shipping, and 42% said that free shipping is important. Now, while this survey was targeted only at Christmas shoppers, comScore concluded that free shipping may increase sales throughout the year. In addition to no shipping charges, "all inclusive" price tags (including sales taxes and other additional charges) would also sell more products.
Unfortunately, free shipping is not an affordable option for all businesses. If you cannot afford free shipping unconditionally, try offering it conditionally. For example, offer free shipping
- on limited products with big margins or low shipping costs,
- only during sales campaigns,
- on large orders that exceed a predetermined total amount,
- only to members (free or paid).
Because different products have different profit margins, you should select methods that suit your products well. Also, make sure that you do not limit yourself to only one method. For example, assume that you are offering free shipping on all orders from members. At the same time, you can offer free shipping on large orders from non-members.
Whatever you do, the terms of free shipping should be simple and clear. Otherwise, it will backfire. Let us say that you are offering free shipping on large orders. On one product, 100% of the price qualifies for the total amount that makes shipping free, but on another product, only 50% of the price qualifies. This kind of condition would simply confuse shoppers, and they might leave your store before they discover that shipping will be free. Tell shoppers about free shipping in a simple way.
© October, 2012