How to Offer Free Shipping on a Small Budget

May 30th, 2023 Comments off

What would you say if we told you 68% of customers take shipping costs into account when deciding whether or not to purchase an item? That’s exactly what our recent study found. With more than half of customers expecting free or low shipping costs, it’s worth taking into account. We understand offering free shipping might not be an option for your business year-round. However, there are ways to still meet customer expectations without breaking the bank. 

Offer free shipping during big holidays 

Offering free shipping during big holidays like Christmas or popular sales times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a given. But, you might be missing out on sales by limiting free shipping promotions during the holiday season. Holidays like Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July also include discounts and sales, so they serve as an opportune time to offer free shipping to customers. If you can’t offer free shipping throughout the year, utilizing other holidays to offer free shipping is the way to go. 

Set a minimum cart value

We’ve all seen in-cart messages that show us how much more we need to spend to qualify for free shipping. If customers are close to the free shipping threshold, they’ll be more likely to add a couple more items to their cart. This especially rings true during big shopping seasons. Add a minimum cart value that makes sense for your business to provide customers with a free shipping option. 

Additionally, you can make free shipping available for more expensive items to give customers an added incentive to complete their purchases. In our study, almost 61% of customers stated high shipping costs were the number one reason preventing their repeat business. Your business might not be able to offer free shipping on all purchases. But, your customers will appreciate the effort to incorporate free shipping where you can. 

Reward repeat customers with free shipping 

Customers return to your business because they had a positive experience and like your products. Keep customers coming back through exclusive offers like free shipping. Whenever customers share photos of your products on social media, ask if you can repost the content and send them discount codes for free shipping or sales on their favorite items; reward followers with giveaways that range from free products to exclusive deals. 

Social media isn’t the only way to promote free shipping! merchants can customize branded ship notification emails. These emails allow you to personalize a tracking page to include your logo, social media links, and a promotional message to boost the visibility of any running sales. Customers will receive emails throughout the shipping process, so they can take note of any sales. Those who order from your business regularly will be the first to know about free shipping or upcoming sales. 

Prioritize free returns 

Free returns are becoming increasingly important with customers. In fact, our study found 81% of customers believe returns should always be free. Free returns and free shipping might not fall within your business’s budget, so we recommend prioritizing free returns. The customer expectation around free returns is higher than free shipping, so offering free returns is crucial. As we’ve mentioned, you can offer free shipping during holidays and over a certain threshold, but free returns should be accessible for every order. 

Tips for offering free shipping

  • Offer free shipping during holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July along with Christmas and other major holidays. 
  • Calculate a free shipping threshold and include in-cart messaging to show customers how much more they need to spend to qualify for free shipping. 
  • Incentivize customers with free shipping and promo codes through social media and branded ship notification emails. 
  • Prioritize free returns over free shipping because customers have a higher expectation for online returns.

How to Provide Free Shipping This Cyber Monday

November 18th, 2016 Comments off Blog Free Shipping

We are big fans of free shipping. Who wouldn’t be? Customers rave about it and it makes conversion easier for sellers. What’s not to love about that? So, imagine our surprise when we learned that offering free shipping during the biggest ecommerce holiday of the year does not significantly impact sales.

ecomdash Free ShippingThe numbers don’t lie. Customers appear generally more willing to pay for shipping on Cyber Monday than normal. But this contradicts traditional knowledge about the positive impact of offering free shipping on ecommerce sales. As business owners, you have a decision to make. Should you use this customer data to remove free shipping and increase your revenue on Cyber Monday? Some people would be extremely uncomfortable doing so, while others would just look at it as a smart business decision.

Luckily, there’s a third option. You can still offer free shipping, but make your customers to earn it. This allows you to maximize revenue from customers who don’t mind paying for shipping on Cyber Monday without punishing your returning customers who are used to receiving free shipping. Here are a few of the ways you can get your customers to earn free shipping on Cyber Monday.

Spend X Amount

This is one of the most common ways that online retailers chose to offer free shipping. Rather than giving every order free shipping, they incentive customers to spend more money to earn it. It’s a simple tradeoff that has been statistically proven to increase both sales and revenue.

Kissmetrics found that presenting a minimum threshold for free shipping on an ecommerce site increased conversion by 26 percent. Average order value increased by 5 percent. The most important part of the process is calculating what the minimum order value needs to be. Pro ecommerce sellers use the formula below to make sure they are getting the most bang for their buck on free shipping.

ecomdash MOV

Create an Account

There are tons of great guides for ecommerce email marketing that will increase your retention and strengthen your connection with your customers, but you can’t even begin email marketing if you don’t capture email addresses. Cyber Monday is likely to be your highest selling day of the year, and if you let it pass by without collecting as many emails as possible, you’ve lost a ton of momentum that you won’t be able to easily get back.

Having customers create an account to receive free shipping is a great way to get the most out of the Cyber Monday mob. Depending on the information you request when they create the account, you can also segment your email marketing based on their gender, age, and interests, ensuring that your marketing hours are being spent in the most effective way.

Add an Item

This method is especially effective if you have items in your store that aren’t moving as fast as other items. Allow your customers to bundle a related accessory with their purchase to earn the free shipping. You get a higher order value and clear up more inventory space. The customer in turn feels as if they’re getting more out of their order, and a discount on shipping.

The item you choose to bundle should be something that a customer would need to go with their new purchase. If you’re selling guitars, your add-on item could be guitar strings or picks. If you’re selling makeup, you can bundle compact mirrors. This makes you look like you care about the buyer beyond their initial purchase.

Share Purchase on Social Media

There are tons of benefits to creating and maintaining a community of your customers on social media.

– Gives you an opportunity to humanize your brand
– Centralizes customer reviews that help new buyers convert
– Raises search engine ranking by adding to your link network
– Allows your customers a location to gather and form a culture surrounding your brand
– Provides a simple venue for quick customer feedback

That’s all easier said than done. Building a social media audience is not simple. One way to kick-start it is to incentivize your customers to share your brand on social media by offering them free shipping in exchange for hitting the share button. It supercharges your social presence by demonstrating that customers excited about your products. Not only have your customers showed off your brand to all their followers, but you now have access to your customers’ accounts.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of offering free shipping can’t be ignored. It keeps customers happy and increases conversion rates. But we also can’t ignore the raw data and revenue opportunities provided to us by Cyber Monday. This is one case where you can truly have your cake and eat it too. However you choose to allow customers to earn free shipping during the ecommerce holiday, make sure that it gives you key assets such as emails or an increased social presence. This allows you to capture momentum from the selling season and carry it with you into 2017. Harness your success and build upon it for the future. Now that’s an incentive we all want to earn.

Dion BearyAbout the author: Dion Beary writes about ecommerce for ecomdash, an ecommerce automation software system. He has more pairs of Chuck Taylors than any one person needs.


How To Offer Customer Service Through Your Order Fulfillment

June 15th, 2016 Comments off

sdc_ShippingStrategyCustomerServiceTo run a successful business, you need to have great customer service. While brick-and-mortar stores capitalize on the face-to-face communication we often associate with customer service, online businesses can still master the art of communicating with their customers – namely, through their shipping process. Here are five ways to master customer service by improving your shipping strategy.

1. Be clear about shipping expectations
Negative feedback is overwhelmingly related to issues associated with shipping. To hedge your bets and negate this, provide very realistic expectations for when an item should arrive. Be transparent, and explain the difference between shipping (when an item leaves your possession or warehouse to begin its journey to the customer) and delivery (when the package arrives on the buyer’s doorstep). During high-volume times like the holidays, provide a shipping time table that lets buyers see how soon they need to order packages to expect them by Christmas. Always try to get items to the Post Office the day the order was placed or within 24 hours, if possible. If and when packages show up early, buyers will be pleasantly surprised and more likely to leave positive feedback.

2. Include a custom packing slip
Marketplaces like Amazon have strict rules on how you can contact and interact with a buyer. The packing slip is a safe way to connect, and can help personalize the buying experience. Write a brief note within the packing slips thanking buyers for their patronage, letting them know that they are welcome to contact you, if necessary, and leaving the best method of contacting you. This will reassure buyers that you care, and that you’re just a phone call or email away should they need to reach out. The best packing slips I’ve seen also include a handwritten thanks with the signature of the employee that packaged my item. A reported 68% of customers will stop supporting a business if they feel that the company is indifferent towards them. Bring some humanity to the shipping experience and let buyers know you care.

3. Offer a discount for their next purchase
Discounts and coupons encourage repeat salesand demonstrate that you appreciate a customer’s business. As always, you must abide by each marketplace’s rules when offering discounts or coupons. It is legal to extend a discounted offer, but you cannot do so in exchange for positive feedback. A coupon for their next purchase may encourage feedback organically, but you can’t use it an as incentive.

4. Brand your packaging
The more you can make your buyers’ shopping experience stand out, the better. A 10-year study found that brands that can evoke an emotional connection with buyers can effectively charge up to 200% more than competitors. Branding your packaging will contribute to this. If you sell on your own website, you have free rein to package as creatively as you like. That said, you can still offer a unique experience on stricter marketplaces. After you have the appropriate packing materials, like bubble mailers or sturdy boxes, what can you add to set yourself apart from competitors and create a fun experience for customers? What unique addition would make sense with your brand persona? I recently ordered balloons from a small, party supplies seller on Etsy. When the package arrived, I opened the bubble mailer and confetti came out. It was fun, surprising, and totally consistent with the brand. Creating a genuinely fun shipping experience for me set this seller apart from her competitors, and demonstrated to me that she thinks about her customers from start to finish. I loved it, and I will definitely purchase from her again.

5. Make all returns free
We know not every seller is able to make free shipping work with their budget. Free, unconditional returns is a great alternative to offering unlimited free shipping, and benefits the customer and retailer alike. Here’s why:  a reported 49% of consumers believe shipping costs to be the most exasperating aspect of returning an item. Another 88% of consumers would rate free return shipping as either “important” or “very important” when making purchase decisions, and 82% of another test group affirm that they would complete an online purchase if the seller offers free return shipping. Making returns easy and free for the buyer is a great way to nail customer service and promote buyer trust. And if a buyer does make a return, they are more than likely going to shop from you again in the future, if your return shipping is free.

Offering exceptional customer service through your shipping process doesn’t just impress customers – it encourages future purchases, stewards repeat buyers and helps you win out over competitors. Get creative with branding, be generous with returns and communicate with buyers that you’re a reliable and considerate retailer. If you can nail this, you will reap the benefits. Happy selling!

ecomdash_logo_smallEcomdash is an award-winning multichannel inventory software for e-commerce retailers. It offers an end-to-end e-commerce solution to complete workflow, including inventory and sales order management, product listing, dropshipping and fulfillment management, reporting and more.

Survey: 68 Percent of E-Commerce Sellers to Offer Free Shipping on More Products in 2011 Holiday Season

June 2nd, 2022 Comments off

For e-commerce retailers, the holiday season can often be the most profitable time of the year. Savvy e-commerce sellers are offering more and more promotions to further increase profits and stay competitive, and this year’s survey shows that free shipping promotions can do just that.

In this, our second e-commerce shipping survey, free shipping shows a surge with 68 percent of sellers planning to offer the promotion on more products during the coming 2011 holiday season — a 15 percent increase from the 2010 holiday season. Also, 54 percent of sellers plan to offer free shipping promotions on 50 percent or more of their holiday collection, up from 43 percent in last year’s holiday season.

What’s the benefit of offering free shipping? Of survey respondents, 52 percent said the promotion increases their average revenue per order by $8 or more.

The survey was conducted from October 31 to November 4, 2011 and was sent to current customers who operate an e-commerce store. Read on to learn more about the significant findings.

E-commerce sellers say free shipping increases average revenue per order reports that 52 percent of e-commerce sellers who use free shipping as a promotion see their average revenue per order increase by $8 or more.


E-commerce sellers are offering free shipping on more products in 2011 vs. 2010
Of survey respondents, 68 percent of e-commerce sellers are planning to offer the promotion on more products during the 2011 holiday season, up from 53 percent in last year’s holiday season.

question3 In fact, 54 percent of respondents will be offering free shipping on more than 50 percent of their holiday catalog — an 11 percent increase from the 2010 holiday season.


Approximately 1 out of 2 customers expect free shipping
Of survey respondents, approximately half find that customers expect free shipping during the holidays.


The holiday sales rush slows the productivity of shippers
Of survey respondents, 20 percent of e-commerce sellers are able to process and ship orders the same day during the holiday season, displaying a 5 percent decrease from non-holiday periods.


The free shipping trend hasn’t affected product return policies
Of survey respondents, 66 percent said the customer is 100 percent responsible for shipping costs on returns.


International markets contribute to profits
Of survey respondents, 82 percent project that at least some of their holiday revenue will come from international purchases, while 11 percent project international sales to account for more than a third of their holiday sales.


Why do e-commerce sellers choose not to offer free shipping?

Of survey respondents who are not offering free shipping, 44 percent said they lose money from the promotion, while 11 percent said the promotion does not increase sales.


Are customers required to reach a minimum order amount to receive free shipping?
Of survey respondents, 51 percent said they do not require customers to reach a minimum order amount, while the remainder was unevenly split between e-commerce sellers who do require it of customers and those who require it on only on select products.


How Much Do Customers Have to Spend to Get Free Shipping?
Of survey respondents who require a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping, 55 percent require an average order size of $50 or more.


Competitiveness plays a small role in free shipping
Of survey respondents, less than half (43%) said their competitors’ free shipping promotions affect when they decide to offer free shipping.


Seller’s own websites are king when it comes to holiday sales
Of survey respondents, a seller’s own website is the leading source of online sales during the holidays at 39%.  Second was eBay at 31%, followed by Amazon at 17%.


“Free Shipping” Holiday Promos Can Eat Web Retailer Margins

September 24th, 2014 3 comments

If there is one thing that online consumers respond to besides sales during the holiday season, it’s free shipping.  free_shipping4A 2008 survey by Forrester Research showed that 75 percent of shoppers prefer to buy from sites that offer free shipping, a jump from 61 percent in 2007.  This holiday season, 73 percent of consumers told Google that they would be taking advantage of free shipping at their favorite web retailers when buying gifts for friends and family.

Free shipping may entice sales, but the shipping itself isn’t free for the web retailer mailing the products.  Instead of the shipping costs being paid by customer, the web retailer must now absorb those additional costs from their profit margin.  During a down economy, it makes sense for ecommerce site owners to look for the most economical shipping option to fulfill your customers’ holiday wishes of free shipping.  Where can you find a reliable, yet inexpensive carrier to handle your shipping needs this holiday season?

The good old US Postal Service, of course.

“FREE SHIPPING” cost you less with the USPS and
How can you save money by shipping with the USPS through

  • 10 percent off on package insurance
  • Insure packages up to $2,500 in value
  • Up to 11 percent off Priority Mail retail rates
  • Up to 8 percent off on International Mail classes
  • Free Delivery Confirmation for Priority Mail packages

And, unlike UPS and FedEx, the US Postal Service doesn’t charge for residential deliveries or fuel surcharges.  The US Postal Service also offers free packaging supplies for Priority Mail packages and will pick up parcels from your business for no charge.

Ecommerce made easy… Import Sales Order Data Directly from eBay, Amazon and More is a great option for web retailers who want to take full advantage of the cost savings the US Postal Service can deliver. software even allows web retailers to import sales order data directly from popular online marketplaces including eBay, Yahoo! Stores,, Google Checkout or PayPal Shops.   Once the data is imported into, the shipping manager can batch print up to 1,000 shipping labels at a time or pick and choose individual labels to print.  The software will also match all the address data to the USPS database to prevent any undeliverable addresses prior to the package being sent out.

For web retailers using Amazon and eBay, will also post- back the package tracking data and costs into the sellers account.

It’s time to rethink your holiday shipping.
When retailers combine the services of the USPS with the ease and  convenience of, they have a powerful tool that reduces the  impact FREE SHIPPING offers can have on their bottom line.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055

Monday–Friday, 6am–6pm Pacific Time