How to Choose the Right Shipping Option for Your Online Store and Increase Sales

21 Oct 2015

In the beginning, you should completely change your perception. If you are perceiving free shipping as something that will ruin your business, and you think it’s not necessary, think again. You’re wrong, and the sooner you change your perspective, the better. Here’s how to choose the right shipping option for your eCommerce store!

If you are into eCommerce, sales and conversion rates are on top of your priority list.

After all, you engaged into the whole thing with one mission – to sell.

And that is perfect.

However, selling is not where everything ends.

Everything ends once the product is delivered.

And that will not happen on its own.

Today, shipping is in the spotlight, so scroll down to find out how to increase sales by offering free shipping to your customers.


Be honest

Buyers are continuously searching for new and better deals.

There is nothing that is appreciated more than a coupon code, gift card or “Sale” banner.

But if they go to online store and see that this time they haven’t received a coupon code for example, they will simply continue searching for what they need and will not abandon their shopping cart in disappointment.

On the other hand, if they have placed items they wanted in their cart, hurried to checkout and started counting the days before the door bell rings, and suddenly were faced with additional expense, they will for sure, go for the corner of their screens.

Statistics are clear, 55% declared that they would leave their purchase if faced with unexpected shipping costs.

Then, we know the drill, sending emails, popping up windows, sending coupon cards and reminders.

But why all the extra work, when you can have your buyers at checkout, and you on the other side already wrapping up orders.

It can be avoided, and the easiest way to do so is to let your buyers know whether they will receive free shipping or not – in advance!

That’s why, whatever you choose, make sure you’re transparent and honest to your customers.

Change your perception

In the beginning, you should completely change your perception.

If you are perceiving free shipping as something that will ruin your business, and you think it’s not necessary, think again.

You’re wrong, and the sooner you change your perspective, the better.

You should perceive free shipping as one of many marketing tactics that you apply on your online store.

Because that’s what free shipping is. Nothing but a way to attract customers, keep them on your online store and make them talk about it.

And you already know how powerful word of mouth can be for your customers.

It is estimated that buyers will spend 30% more if free shipping is included.

Statistics are clear on this one – 28 % of customers will leave their shopping cart if they are not offered free shipping.

Now, how about this – 47 % of all online stores offer free shipping. It certainly is a game changer.

Be careful

Let’s say you launched your online store and prepared yourself well for the whole eCommerce journey.

You were in the process of setting up your shipping rates and decided, that you should offer free shipping.

But, be careful. Not every store is the same, and what worked for someone else might not give the same results on your store.

So, think – what is your product?

Because introducing this amazing offer on your online store has to be viable before anything.

Meaning, if you are a small business owner, it is possible that free shipping will be too much for you to handle, especially in the beginning.

The smartest thing to do, in that case, would be to set up a threshold for free shipping.

Make it stand out and let your customers know from the beginning that they will have their items shipped for free, if the the sum of items in their shopping cart exceeds certain amount.

You can even create a coupon code and hand it to customers that fulfil the prerequisites that you have previously defined.

You can even go one step further and let them know how much they need to purchase in order to obtain free shipping.

And of course, you can do even more – you can recommend items that will fit into that price point perfectly.

Another one would be determining what to offer based on what they already have in their cart.

That is the kind of personalisation that will mean a lot for your online store, and not only in terms of shipping options.

You customers will love you:

  • for offering free shipping. Generosity wins.
  • because they will know right from the beginning what is the amount that they have to spend in order to get free shipping. No surprises.
  • for doing the math instead of them and saving their time by notifying them how much they have to spend to obtain free shipping. You will save their time.
  • you will show that you care by offering exactly what they need. Personalisation in all its glory.

On the other hand, you will most definitely increase your average conversion rate value.

Your buyers really appreciate free shipping and if that means that they have to put a little extra something into their cart…well..that was never a problem.

Of course, make sure that your products are always quality ones.

That way your customers will not resist them. Another advantage is that you will rarely face abandoned shopping carts on your online store.


Offer different options

Have you thought of setting up flat rate shipping on your online store?

It can be quite useful! It implies that the customers will have to pay for shipping on a flat rate – that you have previously set up on your store.

Meaning – no matter what they buy, the shipping cost will be the same – whether they bought earrings or furniture.

It’s quite easy to set it up in your admin panel if you’re using Magento, so make sure you additionally explore what would this option mean for your online business.

Flat rate shipping can bring a lot of advantages to your online store.

Of course, sometimes you will win some, sometimes you will feel like you losed money.

But, never think short-term.

Longterm, you will probably realise that flat rate shipping brought you good.

If you are in the beginning of your eCommerce adventure, maybe you are still not aware of what would your customers prefer.

It is not at all a bad idea to offer different options to your buyers.

Offer free shipping, but leave it to them to decide – maybe they are in a hurry and wouldn’t mind paying a little extra, or they would love to be able to visit the store and pick it up then and there. You can offer free shipping only on selected items.

Over the time, you will see their habits and you will adjust.

And remember, always test!

In the end..

Countless statistics are talking in the favour of free shipping, so if you’re still ignoring precious feedback from customers, you’re wrong.

Yes, customers have become spoiled, and every day is a struggle to keep them pleased.

Yes, they will leave your store unless it loads in two seconds.

It all comes to that, and you cannot go against it.

It is a bargain hunter inside each and everyone of us.

But it is a bargain hunter that helps the progress of your store.

And you cannot afford to ignore it.

You cannot change the fact that buyers will always perceive shipping as an additional cost, and usually will not be willing to pay for it.

Whether you choose free shipping for all articles, setting up a threshold or flat rate shipping, have this in mind – always be honest and always warn your customers on time.

If there is shipping, let them know in advance.

If you own traditional store, let them know is it possible for them to drive-through and collect the items by themselves.

Otherwise, you will face abandoned carts and you will have to spend a lot of resources, time, money and energy into figuring out what went wrong on your pitch perfect store.

Use free shipping to attract customers, use it to increase average value of your orders and to get under your buyer’s skin.

Longterm, it will prove it was a great idea!

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