Should I Offer Free Shipping?

Offering free shipping for your customers will surely make a big difference— if you do it the right way.

Research shows that many eCommerce sites don’t benefit much from their free shipping offer because more often than not, their customers are not aware. There are also cases when potential buyers get frustrated, annoyed, or angry because they felt duped by misleading information on shipping.

Why Free Shipping is Important

These days, it’s so easy to market your products nationwide and worldwide. However, the catch is in the extra costs incurred when it comes to shipping the items to the buyer.

According to studies, the top-most reason that online customers abandon their carts before completing the purchase is high extra costs. These costs refer to taxes and shipping fees added at the end. Thus, you are likely to increase your sales with free shipping offers.

Common Mistakes of Online Merchants

So you decide to give free delivery… But still it doesn’t seem to be working! What’s wrong?

Here are the common mistakes that plenty of online merchants and sellers commit:

Banner Placement Only

Often times the free shipping offer is placed on a banner or a site-wide header within the website. Even if it’s in bright colors and a big font, and even if it appears on every page, that is still not a guarantee that it will be seen by users.

Actually, 32% of eCommerce online stores commit this mistake. Don’t be one of them.

For many years now, users frequently miss out on such announcements because their eyes and brains have been trained to ignore these banners and site-wide headers. After all, these are always associated with ads that a lot of people don’t want to see.

You may continue to do banner and site-wide header placements but make sure that this isn’t the only way you inform your customers about your free shipping.

Header Placement on Product Pages

Some eCommerce sites have learned to include the free shipping announcement within product pages. However, they are often seen on the header section. Even when appearing in bold, differently-colored font, visitors don’t really pay attention to this portion of the page.

Text headers on product pages often give irrelevant information such as categories and titles. They sometimes provide generic information too, which is why they are mostly ignored. Besides, these headers may be difficult to spot among all the other elements on the page. What buyers are after are the images, features, and prices.

Usually, you’ll find the “Buy” button somewhere below these elements. Experts recommend that you place your free shipping information near this button so users will not miss it. Furthermore, it gives them assurance that the product they are checking out actually has free shipping.

Placement in the “Buy” Section

There are others who have figured out that free shipping must indeed be shown on every product page and not as part of the header. But then, incorporating this in the “Buy” section can be confusing.

In the first place, a person may not be as encouraged to buy if he does not see the free shipping data beforehand.

Second, think about what appears after a customer clicks on “Buy”. He’s suddenly bombarded with several other info he needs to navigate through before reaching “Add to Cart”. It can be distracting to see all the upgrade and bundle offers, warranty data, wish list features, and more. And when the buyer still has to pick out several options like the color, size, and quantity, his attention becomes focused on this.

Did you know that 56% of “Buy” sections are packed with information? There’s certainly a tendency to miss out the free shipping announcement.

Therefore, it is still best to show the announcement somewhere around the “Buy” button and not inside of this section.

Misleading and Vague Offers

Be careful when wording your free shipping or free delivery offer. A lot have made the mistake of misleading customers and turning them off for life.

What if you do place “Free Shipping on All Items” beside the “Buy” button, but you include a small asterisk beside it because the terms and conditions state that $30 worth is necessary to take advantage of it? Now this could be misleading. The words may be contradictory, which will make you lose customers fast.

When the customer reaches the total payment part and sees that shipping fees are still added and that there was actually a hidden clause to your announcement, he is likely to not just abandon the cart but will never return again.

If you wish to gain the trust of your customers and increase your credibility too, it’s important not to give misleading or vague offers. Be clear on clauses or terms and conditions. Give an outright announcement such as “Qualify for Free Shipping with Orders Worth $30 or More”.

Placing clauses or qualifying conditions that are only seen through a clicked link or shown in very small fonts means that you are providing false hopes and misleading consumers. Sure, some might still go through with the purchase but overall this will surely hurt your business in the long run.

It would also be great to add a feature that shows dynamic updating of qualification for free shipping. For example, when the customer adds an item worth $20 to his cart, the announcement must read “You are $10 away to qualifying for Free Shipping!”

Final Points to Remember for Better Profits

Every business owner wants better profits. Free shipping is an added bonus or feature that your target market would appreciate if done properly. It can boost your earnings if you inform people accurately and if they are well aware of it.

Here are some final points to remember:

  • Don’t depend on banners and site-wide headers for the promotion of your free shipping offer.
  • Place free shipping information near or around the “Buy” button on every product page.
  • All qualifying conditions must clearly be stated outright in your announcement.
  • Apply dynamic updating of free shipping information while qualifying conditions are being met.

These may seem like simple factors to consider and apply, but if you don’t follow them, your free shipping offer will not work out as much as it should.

By doing these things, you can ensure the success of your free shipping deal. It’s bound to make your customers happy and satisfied, while increasing your overall sales too.

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