As an organic online retailer, you should know that many customers don't just want, but expect free shipping year round. At the very least, they expect it during the holiday season. In fact, a comScore holiday survey shows that 36% of online shoppers only shop free shipping sites and another 42% of online shoppers actively search out free shipping sites. Plus, if you can offer free shipping during the holiday season it'll give you a leg-up on other organic online retailers, because a bulk of organic companies fail to offer free shipping.
That said, shipping is expensive, so how on earth can you afford it? The good news is that you probably can afford at least some free shipping, which, when paired with other attractive deals will draw customers in. Keep reading for ideas about how to better afford free shipping for all your organic goods this holiday season.
Many businesses head straight to companies like FedEx and UPS for shipping needs, but USPS actually has some of the better business shipping rates around so long as you're not shipping super heavy items.
USPS offers online shipping with discounted rates and free delivery confirmation, free Saturday delivery, zero surcharges for residential delivery, easy to use mobile applications, eco-friendly packaging, return options and even international shipping, among other perks.
To learn more request a free USPS business shipping kit.
There are various ways to offset your shipping costs by bringing in cash another way, though not all of these will work for every organic business. Some popular ways to defray shipping costs include the following...
For local customer purchases you can actually deliver some packages by hand. This brings up other costs of course, like gasoline costs and employee time. Still, in some cases, if you have a bunch of deliveries in the same area, it can be more cost-efficient than shipping. Plus, personal deliveries give you a chance to connect with customers.
Consider offering free shipping only when customers purchase a specific set amount, say over $25 or over $50, depending on your product. Be realistic though when setting limits. Folks get mighty upset when you offer free shipping for goods over $50 if your products are small and cost just $5 each (say organic soap). Few people want to buy $50 worth of organic soap simply to get free shipping.
A perk of this method is that it encourages people to buy a set amount of goods and people easily except this shipping style, because many businesses ship this way.
Additionally consider which products you will not ship for free, then include this information in your shipping policy. It's a fair standard in online retail to not ship overly large items for free and to exclude specific areas where international or offshore shipping rates are simply too costly.
If you can't go free-shipping all-the-way, at least consider some sort of free shipping deal, such as purchases made during a specific week or free shipping on special items. Also, if you're not offering free shipping, be sure to offer other perks, like free gift wrap or a free sample with every purchase. Customers upset by the lack of free shipping may overlook it if you can offer another enticing deal.