Is free shipping a good fit for your business?

If you are a business owner whose products require shipping, whether or not to charge a fee can be a tricky decision. Although free shipping is a consumers’ dBusiness owner - bakery (CanStock)ream, it can have financial drawbacks for you.

Before diving in, you may want to consider your options. What would be the best fit for your business?

  • Look at using promotional offers other than free shipping, as they can be just as effective.
  • Evaluate how heavily you rely on free shipping as a selling point. Many businesses offer free shipping; what sets your business apart?
  • How will you manage return shipping? Will your package come with a return shipping label or will the customer be charged for return shipping?
  • Research whether your small business can afford free shipping, as it can be costly. You have to do what’s best for your business; free shipping may set you back more than move you forward financially.

If you decide that free shipping could benefit your business, you may want to consider incorporating these strategies:

  • Offer a minimum purchase amount. This promotes sales while still allowing your business to make a profit.
  • Shop around to see which shipping company has the best offers. Some companies offer promotions and discount packages for small businesses.
  • Remind customers about what they’re saving on shipping. Showing how much they would have spent without free shipping serves as validation during the buying process.
  • The more you ship, the more discounts may be available to you — be sure to inquire about volume discounts.

Include easy-to-find shipping information and policies on your website and packaging — this will prevent confusion when customers are planning to buy or return items. In order to really make an impression, it may be a good idea to provide shipment tracking numbers, so customers know where their package is. One-day delivery can also be a good way to increase customer satisfaction. These strategies can be helpful in promoting repeat sales.

Your small business is unique; you want it to grow and flourish over time. Before making any decisions, you may want to determine if offering free shipping will increase your profitability.

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