Importance of Free Shipping for Increased Business

“You’ve got to stay super focused on shipping product. There isn’t a version two or three if there isn’t a great version one,” – Brendan Iribe

Free shipping is an integral part of the world of e-commerce now. In modern times, online business enterprises and catalogue businesses ship their products primarily through means of air and road transport. These business operators have realised the importance of free shipping because this encourages customers to shop more frequently without paying for product transportation and delivery. Most Internet-powered businesses have warehouse locations in a few key regions and customer orders are shipped out of these warehouses by road and air. We have to bear in mind the fact that free shipping emerged as a novel means to entice customer dollars into online businesses; this tactic has since become standard practice for most online business operators.

The importance of free shipping is most evident in online business models. In recent years, many businesses have emerged in the online space and this has helped to create a competitive market. Online business models have proliferated in this age of near universal Internet access. A very wide (and deep) range of products is available to the online shopper; these include cosmetics and beauty products, home improvement products, electronic gadgets, watches, clothing, footwear, lingerie, food, groceries, books, white goods, brown goods, among many others. Customers are at liberty to peruse these goods in the comfort of their homes and offices and order the products in single or multiple quantities. Most of these products qualify for free shipping and this creates an additional incentive for customers to shop online.

The modern online business enterprise has diversified the promise of free shipping into multiple tiers of service. Some of the biggest online businesses offer two-day delivery schedules to customers that invest in certain programs operated by the business. These programs demand an annual fee from customers that choose the free, two-day delivery service. We have to bear in mind that this privileged service is one of the methods used by the business to expand its customer base. The importance of free shipping is also borne out by the fact that customers are assured that their product selection(s) will reach the designated delivery address within a finite time frame. Meanwhile, the business enterprise has to remodel and exert its back-end infrastructure to respond effectively to such promises made to the customer. Significant investments in technology, transportation, and infrastructure have to be made so that the enterprise can consistently deliver on its promises.

Brick and mortar business enterprises have also realised the importance of free shipping. Certain retailers offer to ship products to customers free of charge once the shopping bill exceeds a certain amount. We could say that this is an attempt on the part of the traditional business enterprise to expand online operations and to tap the Internet-fuelled shopping boom. These business enterprises have realized that significant amounts of shopping dollars are being spent online, and a serious business cannot afford to stay out of the online shopping domain. A commercial Internet presence helps these brick and mortar businesses to reach online customers; this tactic also enabled the said merchants to display their wares to a far wider audience, and hence more potential customers. Operating an Internet business also helps these enterprises to clear out their inventory through special sale offers to online customers. The last leg of an online transaction typically highlights the importance of free shipping. Therefore, we could say that such practices are helping to bridge the divide between brick and mortar business enterprises and online shopping portals.

Owners and operators of small business enterprises have realised the importance of free shipping as a key business advantage. They have realised that the powerful incentive of free shipping can be an incentive for most online shoppers. In addition, removing the cost of transportation and delivery can help the small business owner to craft a competitive strategy in a market dominated by huge online retailers. The bulk use of shipping services enables the said businesses to seek sizeable discounts from shipping operators and transportation service providers. Prior to despatching the goods to the customer’s address, the small business operator can choose to enclose an updated version of their product catalogue. This encourages a deeper assessment of the products offered by the selling party and may clear the path for future sales. Further, the small online business operator may choose to offer special discounts if products are ordered within a stipulated time period. Some online businesses also offer shoppers an opportunity to pick up their goods from the nearest brick and mortar shopping establishment. We must bear in mind that all these selling strategies hinge on free shipping and thus highlight the importance of free shipping.

Commerce has a tendency to multiply successful selling strategies. This is borne out by the fact that free shipping can be tied to the use of in-store credit cards by certain retailers. These bespoke credit cards are designed for use only in certain branded shopping establishments. The business enterprise makes it clear to all shoppers and potential clients that the use of the said credit card will entitle the shopper to free shipping. In addition, using the said credit card also qualifies the shoppers for free return shipping. These incentives highlight the importance of free shipping in expanding the business by growing the numbers of active shoppers. Return shipping is important because when shoppers buy clothes, they may have to return certain items due to size or colour considerations. Free return shipping serves to assure the average shopper that their money will be well spent and that the business enterprise has committed to clad him or her in the exact fashion he or she desires. The use of the bespoke credit card also offers the business enterprise a guaranteed pool of customers that will use the credit card and all the special offers attached to the card. The businesses can use the information from such card-based purchases to create and develop customer profiles. This information can be leveraged to create future products and services in the interests of expanding business operations.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the importance of free shipping in modern business transactions. We have demonstrated that free shipping offers have a direct impact on customer conversion rates and have helped to build the business fortunes of online business operators. Free shipping helps to convert online visitors to frequent shoppers and this should be counted as a significant business achievement. Free shipping is a widespread phenomenon in modern e-commerce, but we have to bear in mind that shipping costs can add significant charges to an online shopper’s final bill. The modern business enterprise should also invest in efforts to highlight free shipping offers. This can be counted as an advertising strategy that helps to expand the customer base of a business, while signalling corporate intent to help the shoppers to expand their shopping lists. Free shipping also helps to improve the customer experience because such offers excise the cost of transportation and so the customer can use his or her dollars to pay for the products and services they really want.


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