how to offer free shipping on your online store banner

It's almost the holidays, and we all know it's the most profitable time of the year for all businesses, including eCommerce. For this year's holiday season, you must differentiate yourself from your competitors.

A free shipping offer is guaranteed to increase your conversion rates. Many businesses say they can't afford free shipping because of low profit margin. However, if done right, you can significantly see a 15-30% improvement in your net profit, but you have to be very careful.

Why You Should Offer Free Shipping

Offer free shipping to push yourself ahead of your competitors and gain a competitive edge. You see, 90% of consumers would shop more online if the store offered a free shipping option. It's also interesting to note that 73% of consumers are more likely to buy an item if it includes free shipping.

These two stats should be enough to get you excited about shipping for free. Okay, we know you're asking how you can do that without sacrificing your profit and efficiency. Well, there are a few strategies that you can implement to ensure that you're not dipping too much into your pocket while creating enticing offers.

How to Offer Free Shipping and Make it Budget-Friendly

delivery rider on a motor bike

If you're a small business, it might be challenging for you to offer free shipping. Yes, it's good for your business because it draws in customers, but how can your business afford it?

Here's a few things you can try out for your free shipping offer:

1. Hide shipping cost in your product base price.

When you price your products, factor in the shipping cost. This guarantees that you still gain a profit while offering free shipping.

If you're selling small, inexpensive items, your customers might not be enticed to buy if the shipping cost is higher than the item price. If you increase your price a little--make it moderately priced but not too expensive to scare customers away--you can fold the shipping price into the price of your items and offer shipping for free.

It's technically an illusion, a trick, if you may. Your consumers will surely focus more on the free shipping offer than the price tag.

2. Set a minimum order for free shipping.

Several big eCommerce stores implement free shipping on orders over a certain amount. This particular strategy lets you manage your risk when you offer shipping for free because low-priced items in your store will not qualify unless your customers buy more.

Before you implement this strategy, think about your standard margin of sales. You must calculate the minimum order price that you need to gain profit while offering free shipping.

A typical free shipping threshold is $25, $35, $50, and $100. Of course, this doesn't mean you need to follow the same numbers. You must calculate your cost before setting minimum free shipping on orders over the threshold.

Setting Up Free Shipping with Strikingly

It's easy to set this up with Strikingly's Simple Store. Here are the steps:

1. Once you've set up your online store, go to Store, then select Shipping.

2. Select your preferred shipping option under "Shipping Rates."

3. Tick the box beside "Grant free shipping to orders of at least a certain amount (before tax)."

free shipping option on Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly

On your eCommerce product detail page, here's how it will look like:

product detail page on Strikingly with free shipping

Image taken from Strikingly’s Help Center

And here's how it will look if your customer orders an item (lower or higher than your free shipping threshold):

shipping cart view on Strikingly with free shipping

Image taken from Strikingly’s Help Center

And during checkout, here's how it will look:

check out page on Strikingly with free shipping

Image taken from Strikingly’s Help Center

Your customers will definitely be enticed to buy more from your store if they see your free shipping offer.

3. Offer bundled products.

You can select a few individual items into one bundle and offer free shipping when purchased. You need to make sure, though, that the products go well together. For example, you can offer a keyboard, mouse, and headphones bundle for gamers. These products can be purchased individually, but those who want free shipping can buy them as a bundle to optimize shipping costs.

As another strategy, you can show a bundle offering side-by-side individual products. Doing this will make your consumers realize that they're saving more if they purchase bundled items vs. individual items.

4. Create event-based discounts.

Flash sales are a trend. You can sell your products at a discounted price at specific hours of the day or offer free shipping. You can create announcements on your store using pop-ups or send out newsletters to all your customers announcing your flash sale.

You can also keep up with seasonal sales, like Black Friday, and instead of offering huge discounts, offer shipping for free.

If you build your eCommerce website with Strikingly, adding pop-ups to your website and sending newsletters is a no-brainer. Our website editor is ridiculously easy to use, and our marketing features are the same. You can schedule newsletters and add CTAs to compel your audience to take action.

5. Offer free shipping to members only.

Create a loyalty or rewards program for your website members. You can create a membership website with Strikingly and give free shipping offers specifically to your website members only.

Creating a membership website with Strikingly is easy. You can add different tiers and even subscription memberships. For your higher-tiered members, you can offer discount codes and free shipping. On the other hand, those in the lower tier can only take advantage of one--either free shipping or a discount.

6. Choose your best-selling items and offer free shipping.

If you've been selling products for a while, you probably already know which items are selling fast. Pick your top three (or top five) and offer free shipping if any product from your store is purchased with your best seller.

It's like a bundle deal, but only this time, you're focusing specifically on your fast-moving item.

8. Offer free shipping to specific locations.

Shipping fees are always cheaper at specific locations. Costs tend to increase with proximity. Therefore, offer free shipping to locations that make sense logistically for your business to provide free shipping without compromising your profit.

How to Promote Your Free Shipping Offer

Now that you know how the different tactics on how to offer free shipping, here are a few more tips for you on how to market your free shipping:

1. Use a promotional website pop-up.

You should present your free shipping offer to your customers as early as possible, given that 90% of them will purchase because of free shipping--put it on your landing page.

This is the easiest and most effective way to promote your shipping for free offer. With Strikingly, setting up a promotional pop-up is, as usual, ridiculously easy. If your shipping fee comes with a coupon code, you can add it to your pop-up.


Image taken from Strikingly

To make it easier for your customers, you can add a call-to-action button that will immediately redirect your consumers to your online store.

2. Offer free shipping to customers who abandoned their carts.

During the holiday season, people are always looking for the best deals, and they shop around. They might've added items to their shopping cart and abandoned them because they're looking at other online stores.

This is your captured audience. You can email them and entice them to proceed with their purchase by offering free shipping. This method can significantly increase your sale.

3. Run email promotions to your subscribers.

This is perfect if you have an email list. If you don't, it's best to start generating one now by adding a sign-up section to your website. You can offer free shipping to those who sign up for your email list.

Some eCommerce websites offer a one-time free shipping discount to everyone who signs up for their marketing list. The offer is shown to anyone who lands on their website for the first time. To entice people to sign up and make an immediate purchase, set a timeframe for the free shipping offer. For instance, if they sign up for your email list and purchase within 48 hours, they qualify for free shipping.

4. Use your social media channels to promote your free shipping offers.

Your social media channels are a great way to promote your offers to new and existing customers. Utilize the tactics that you learned above and bundle them with your announcements.

For instance, you can post teasers about your upcoming free shipping event at least one week before the actual date. Teasers tend to keep the excitement high and create hype. On the day itself, you can post a video or an image announcing your free shipping promotion and add all the dynamics to qualify (free shipping on orders over, site-wide free shipping, etc.).

Free shipping is scary. Before you implement and stick with one free shipping strategy, do a test. You can choose a few items in your store and compare the results over time. Your data should give you a better idea of which tactic will work best for your product or business.

And remember, do not let free shipping sink your product. Everyone is doing it, even your competitors. However, that doesn't mean that you should follow suit immediately. Calculate and test. Choose the right time and strategy to implement your free shipping offer and always, always protect your bottom line.