Small Business Tip: Free Shipping Equals New Customers!

If there’s one thing customers love, it’s the belief that they are getting a great deal. One of the easiest ways to pass a deal onto your customers is to offer free shipping.

With the growth of the Internet shopper, the offer of free shipping has exploded. Nearly half of the online purchases last year involved free shipping with many consumers declaring that they will cancel a purchase if free or discounted shipping isn’t available.

There are lots of ways that a retailer can offer free shipping. It may be a straight up discount or a bonus for repeat customers. It may require a minimum purchase or be offered to exclusive subscribers. The one requirement is that your customer leaves the transactions feeling like they have received a wonderful deal.

Here’s a look at some of the free shipping options you may want to consider:

Free shipping on every order. Not many retailers offer the all free, all the time option. A handful of big retailers have embraced this model to help streamline the shopping experience for the customers. Fans of the free shipping model are L.L. Bean, Nordstrom and Sears.

Members only. For this free shipping option, you have to be members of the exclusive club. Typically this only involves signing up for a fee oriented online club (e.g. Amazon Prime) or signing up for frequent email blasts.

Minimum order size. One of the most popular free shipping options requires us to buy more than we originally intended to in order to receive the free shipping option.

Site-to-store shipping. One of the newest free shipping options is the site-to-store option offered by some big name retailers. This requires you to order online and then visit the retail store to pickup your goods.

Flat-rate shipping. It may not be totally free, but it represents a big discount.

About the author:    The Business Girl is Terri Sullivan Biehn.  I have been a professional business writer and management consultant for more than fifteen years.  As a management consultant, I work with entrepreneurs to develop business plans and other documents.  Through my consulting practice, I coach entrepreneurs and small business owners on their general start-up, marketing, financial, operational and management issues.