A dedicated reader has a question:
“James, love your emails and will be signing up for your program soon.
What do you think about free shipping? I don’t offer it now but I think I would get more sales if I did.
Firstly Tai; flattery will get you everywhere.
Secondly; in your scenario don’t offer free shipping.
It is true that free shipping will increase conversions but it will remove a valuable promotional lever and erode margin in a non-liner way.
What does that all mean?
If your standard experience is paying for shipping then free shipping can be used to increase basket value or as a occasional promotional tool. You have control over both of those.
Two real examples:
Your average basket value is $80 you offer free shipping for customers who spend $100 or more.
You want a boost in volume you run a free shipping this weekend only promo.
Both of those illicit consumer behaviour that is positive to your business and you have control over them. Ideal scenarios.
If you apply free shipping across your whole store then this is linear and applied to every transaction. Even if you sell a single item for $10 you are funding the shipping.
I’ve talked to plenty of retailers who feel stuck on the Free Shipping train and want to get off.
My recommendation is to set a threshold 20% above your average basket size.
There will be some short term pain but there are methods to wean your customers off it and actually increase sales and transaction value.
Hint: All customers aren’t created equal.
If you want a specific strategy for your business then you know what to do.