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