Did you feel that bit of excitement pulse through your body as I read that?
Ok, we’re on the same page then.
On the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, today is the day when a “whopping” 2,584 eCommerce stores are offering – you guessed it – free shipping.
The number of online stores participating in this promotion is rather pitiful considering how many eCommerce stores are actually out there.
I didn’t see too much promotion revolving around Free Shipping Day, and I don’t hear many people talking about it either. It seems it has as much buzz factor as Small Business Saturday – and that’s more like a waning hum, rather than a buzz.
Almost all the online stores I buy from already offer some form of free shipping, so this promotion is nothing new or noteworthy for them. In fact, free shipping is almost the norm and to charge for shipping is becoming more and more of a conversion killer.
Granted not all eCommerce stores can offer a free shipping deal because of either the type of products they sell or the margins associated with them. But the majority of consumers feel shipping charges are nothing more than a profit center for the store owner. (And we all know how true that is, don’t we?)
When I owned TheFerretStore.com, we started out with a free shipping policy from day one. In 1994, we offered free shipping on orders over $25. By the time the company was sold in 2006, we still offered free shipping, but it was with a $49 order.
Before selling off my remaining eCommerce stores this October, free shipping over a certain dollar value still prevailed with exceptions on heavy, bulky items that would be impossible to ship for free.
Offering your customers free shipping – if you can do it – is a very effective means of getting the sale. It may cut into your margins a little, but the increased business should balance things out in the long run. Then of course, you can always tick your prices up a bit to make up for the shipping charge – but don’t do that if it’s going to price you out of the ballpark. Just make sure to get a quote from staveley head as all of your shipments should be fully covered by an insurance broker.
Maybe next year, instead of Free Shipping Day we can have a Pay for Shipping Day. With strong promotions, national media attention and plenty of hype we can encourage shoppers to dig a little deeper and pay more to get their holiday orders.
Wouldn’t that be nice.