Having a webbased company can have its rewards and its disadvantages. The cost of running a business of any kind rises every day. So how do you handle the dilemma if you want to offer free shipping or not?
Most knowledgeable entrepreneurs online understand the competition is already tough. You battle daily to get your site on search engines youre dealing with conflicting vendors and then always make sure that you follow all laws and regulations that can inhibit the free flow of trade. All you need now is to absorb the high cost of shipping right? Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule. But there are certain reasons when and how to offer to send an item for free.
Generally if a product can ship under 13 ounces of First Class mail of the US Postal system it is definitely worthwhile to offer free shipping. Why? Because the cost of the package and the postage can be below my target cost. Im sure many people who have ecommerce sites are aware of this finding but then I see many companies that continue to allow the delivery department to make the decisions. If they do not have an interest in your business their decisions are usually made by the simplest method not the most efficient and costeffective. Im a handsome kind of business owner. Im always looking for not only ways to make money without saving it too. But when an opportunity presents itself for doing both and creating some goodwill? Im over it.
There is the opportunity to show a season or special offer directly on your website for a certain set of articles or a period of time. For example free shipping for the whole month of January it promotes your site somewhere on search engines and it also covers the slow time of year. You can offer it in conjunction with special offers or when orders reach a certain amount. There are many ways to use free shipping in your market plan to increase sales. Use them wisely and examine the costs and pricing before you do.
Think of the good will you get and repeat whats possible when you send someone a free. Just like TV advertising with the child We like all free money right? Certainly we do and everybody is a little naive sometimes because we only need to know nothing in life is free and the cost is somehow built into the price. It is said who cares? It is all in view and if people perceive that they get something for free they usually buy your item before they buy one with a realistic shipping cost.
There is the other side of the coin where you can dollars cost your average shipping cost. Some take a fixed rate of a few dollars for all items in a similar weight group. Some will cost more to send a little less but a reasonable standard price is not necessarily chasing people away either. If you sell large heavy items link my proposal to the post office or another shipping provider and let them calculate the cost of the customer.
Estimated shipping based on zip code determined by someone else takes you away from the equation. The customer associates the cost with an indefinite third party and generally accepts the cost without much fraud. The buyer perceives that they get good value because the cost is exactly not a hypothetical amount that they always assume you earn more. Its a good and wise strategy that in combination with some free shipping removes some of the costly burden on a small company. My suggestion is to choose a shipper or two who have good advertising and a good reputation. People see the value there and will act on it.
I think that a wise solution like most things in life is a balanced approach probably the best solution. You can always finetune all the deals you make and the beauty of webbased or homebased companies is that you can be flexible from day to day. In fact search engines prefer new content.
I will say that I have a quick and fast rule for my company. I always offer free shipping on the very easy items because the cost is negligible. You may not have that luxury. You can sell monster tires or refrigerators where you can not offer free shipping and still be on the profit side of the sale. My proposal is in case it is to offer to send combined weight if they buy additional accessories.