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Free Shipping, just doubled the orders
little changes, making big difference?

 9:04 am on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

We always offered free shipping but we never displayed it as boldly as it is now, and the orders nearly doubled for over a week now. I need to check if there is nothing else affecting it, but I was wondering if little changes as such made a big difference in your case?


[edited by: Habtom at 9:06 am (utc) on June 25, 2007]



 12:43 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread's title is very misleading:

Who says "Free Shipping Pays" or "Free Shipping, just doubled the orders?" (for one week. LOL)

Consensus among experienced web sellers here is that free shipping is NO GOLD MINE. And for many sites, it's a loser.


 12:47 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tonearm asked, "Has anyone been successful trading off profit per item for greater volume?"

I have in a small way, not with identical items but with similar ones. I sell some widget "collections." I got this idea from a competitor I'm friends with. He said the only real money he made with a certain group of widgets he sold was through his "collections." I thought it was hokey but tried it and it works great. A collection is organized around some theme and gives a percent off, like "The All Red Widget Collection--10% off." It is worth it to give a small discount because you have to pay less in fees and it takes less time to package one shipment instead of 3, for instance.

It has made a big difference for me with my low-priced items, and I plan on trying it with more expensive items when I have more of a selection of them. I already have some themes worked out for those collections.

Some people in my niche also do kits along similar lines. You buy a collection of things that are geared towards a particular purpose or activity. I have noticed various merchants doing that sort of thing. A kit has the same purpose--to get customers to spend more at a time so less money is wasted on fees, etc. I haven't tried this technique yet.

[edited by: HRoth at 12:48 pm (utc) on June 27, 2007]


 1:01 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Who says "Free Shipping Pays" or "Free Shipping, just doubled the orders?" (for one week. LOL)

Jsinger, without having any other changes, considering the same month last year, and everything being the same, the orders have gone almost double. We were providing free shipping for quite a while now, but we haven't shown it in bold as we are showing it now.

And yes, the orders are up by 86%. If I find something else affecting it, I will let you know. But right now too busy handling the extra orders.


[edited by: Habtom at 1:02 pm (utc) on June 27, 2007]


 2:31 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Regardless of what has been said pro or con, the simple fact is, some products lend themselves to free shipping and some do not.

One of the problems we have with free shipping is that our margins are low on many of the high priced items, and competition is cutthroat, and many are heavy (or have high dimensional size)

For us to offer free shipping on a $400 item that costs between $20 and $60 to ship (depending on where to), we would have to raise our selling price.

And when people are shopping, the price is what they look at first. While some may check shipping costs later, there is also the fact that all of the price comparison sites also show the selling price, not the price + shipping.

We only charge actual shipping from the UPS API, but we have seen at least a couple of our competitors charging much higher shipping - apparently in order to lowball the "selling" price.

[edited by: Wlauzon at 2:32 pm (utc) on June 27, 2007]


 6:07 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I heard that FREE shipping pays at a Webmaster World conference three years ago and its still true. Nothing is better then no taxes and free shipping. If you send someone a coupon and they have to pay some enormous shipping fee they will abandon the cart.


 7:43 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jsinger, without having any other changes, considering the same month last year, and everything being the same, the orders have gone almost double.

But nothing is ever the same on a year to year basis. Search Engine position varies daily, to name just one factor.

We have access to all sorts of sales stats, but even so, it's painful to determine effectiveness of the things we fiddle with.

Free shipping is more expensive than a few years ago when gas could be found under a dollar (for about one week as I recall :).


 9:10 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

My results (which are well tested - 50/50 split test over a minimum of 1000 orders each group). My product is cheap - ranges from a couple of dollars to around forty with the most common price points at 10 and 20 dollars.

Free shipping - increased number of orders by about 25%, decreased order size (dollar value of products) by about 20%, decreased profits.

Free shipping over $x - decreased number of orders (didn't expect that), increased size of orders, marginal increase in profits (less than 2%)

No free shipping - baseline

Another thing that I found was that the free shipping offers were more effective when they had expiration dates.


 5:10 pm on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Has anyone added "Free Shipping" to META descriptions or title? Curious if that could be used to attract clicks.


 10:00 pm on Jul 7, 2007 (gmt 0)


1. amazon, zappos.com, and other large retailers give free shipping when the order amount is sufficient. amazon has a $25 min. zappos sells product whose average price is $50 - $100.

2. You could even give free shipping on all orders over $25, and $2 shipping on all orders under $25; run this as a limited time;

3. You could focus it even more, but allowing to preferred customers--this way you avoid "buy and run' one time shoppers; or only those in your email list--to promote the possibility of repeat customers in the future.

4. if you sell a lot, you may be able to get better shipping rates; and then you might be able to offer free return shipping (depending on a myriad of factors), and ultimately maybe even raise prices a few bucks when you get enough repeat business.


 2:57 am on Jul 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

..I heard that FREE shipping pays at a Webmaster World conference three years ago and its still true..

No, it was not true then and it is not true now. Never was.

You are making a blanket statement that for every business and for every product, free shipping is better.

And it ain't true.

And what exactly does "free shipping pays" mean? Pays WHAT? You get more orders and make less because you PAY more shipping costs?

As far as hearing things at conferences, if you go to enough conferences of any type, even strippers conferences, you will eventually hear almost anything.

But just because it was presented at a conference does not make it always true.

Let's not forget that the famous Piltdown Man saga started at a conference :D


 8:03 pm on Jul 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, I think you have to take it on a case by case basis... I do both free shipping on some items, but charge on others. I sell small items like CDs, which I send through the mail. Obviously that's easy to factor into your overall price and absorb. So free shipping on that is just a nice little bone to throw. But I also sell many larger items, most of which are considered 'excess size' by the shippers. On those, we can just barely charge a shipping price that breaks even with the cost before people start balking when they see the shipping fee. To send those items out free would kill us. Hiding the fee in the price would also kill us, as it would put most items well over many of the psychological boundary prices that means the difference between sale and no sale. I've often wished I could see how many people start to checkout with an item, then say no when they see the shipping added.

I think one option might be to offer free shipping for a limited time... Maybe during a typically slow period when sales are down anyway. I think it's the limited offers more than anything, which get people to pull the trigger... when otherwise they put it off until some other time. It's like when you buy in bulk to save money... If people think they're getting a deal they won't be able to get later, they use that to justify the purchase psychologically.


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