How and when to offer free shipping?

How and when to offer free shipping min

Customers naturally perceive shipping without additional payment as a significant advantage, while choosing, what store to prefer. From the clients’ point of view, nobody needs to explain, what does free shipping means: one does not need to pay an additional fee for the order to be delivered to their place. So, customers pay the total price that includes only the items they have put into their basket. This makes it convenient and attractive.

But on the seller’s side, this brings up the necessity of additional efforts. The question of how to offer free shipping can have different answers for different dropshipping platforms or apps used to set up an online retail store. With Ali2Woo the procedure is rather easy. The plugin is installed on WordPress websites and helps to establish, launch and manage the dropshipping e-commerce show in a small amount of time, offering your clients thousands of goods from AliExpress. 

The main difference between free shipping vs paid shipping is obvious: if the latter is used, the expense is on the buyer, and for the former, it is paid by the seller. But for their online shop to be sustainable, they may need to compensate for these costs somehow by adding a slight increase to the prices or limiting free shipping options to purchases that have the total cost above a certain sum, which makes it reasonable. Here you will find all the necessary information, if you ask yourself questions like “How can I offer free shipping?” or “When should I do it?”. You should know the basics of using it in the dropshipping store and getting the most benefits from it, making your offer more valuable for the client.

What does free shipping mean for the business? 

The explanation of how does free shipping work varies for different types of e-commerce strategies. Dropshipping stores have their specifics in comparison with traditional retailers: the latter buy items in bulk, stores them in their warehouse and then sends to clients from there. The former gets the products individually from the suppliers, depending on the contents of a particular order. This makes the delivery cheaper, the process of shipping itself gets complicated from the technical point of view. Therefore, one needs to thoroughly analyze delivery costs and logistics, so your store will not lose money. 

If you have chosen dropshipping as a main strategy for your e-commerce project, you don’t have control over what shipping fees your suppliers take. But you can control some characteristics of how it is arranged, and this opens the opportunity for finding clever ways to decrease shipping costs. To figure out, if you should offer shipping vs free shipping, you as a dropshipping store owner should understand, that it is impossible to make it free for everyone, because someone should pay for it in some way. It can be the seller or the customer in direct or indirect form, for example, if the seller increases the price to compensate for the shipping expenses.  

Sometimes suppliers give a retailer an option to ship their products using their shipping account. Often this means lower shipping rates. But before you decide to choose this solution, you need to conduct some analysis and calculate, how it will affect the prices in various cases, including: 

  • selling locally or abroad;
  • its dependence on the size and weight of the package; 
  • its dependence on what carrier services are used;
  • the lowest and the highest possible delivery price.

To lower delivery expenses, take measures to avoid split orders when possible. This term describes situations, when a client buys several items that appear to be from various suppliers, and therefore, different warehouses. Sometimes this means, that the delivery will costs up to two times higher. The proper presentation of products quantity and availability on your website helps to avoid this problem. You should encourage customers to make an order, where all components can be delivered from one supplier and one warehouse. 

Psychologically, when people compare free shipping vs higher price, the former feels beneficial to them, even if the actual sum is equal in both cases. It happens, because free shipping does not require client to do additional calculation, and the less complications, the more attractive the purchase looks. Seeing an additional fee at the final stages of checkout process can also feel disappointing for some customers, making them reconsider the purchase or remove some products from their basket. 

This means, that free shipping increases profits and benefits for your dropshipping store. But when exactly should you give your clients this option to get maximum effect? In the next part of the article, we will describe various options that are useful to have at hand.

How to offer free shipping from Aliexpress?

The most convenient way to manage dropshipping is using AliExpress Dropshipping Plugin for WordPress. It has flexible settings, that allow to define, what shipping methods are available, and set prices for various delivery methods. You can allow free shipping on all products or define various scenarios. Usually, it is recommended to add free shopping options in the following cases: 

  • If the supplier provides free shipping AluExpress via ePacket, or if this delivery methods costs very low. It is used on AliExpress very often, although only for some countries. With this method, you can offer competitive prices, making your products affordable for more buyers
  • If your current goal is getting as many orders as possible. Often it is recommended on the initial stages of your business’ existence when you need to be a wide client base. Lowering prices, offering gifts, or other lucrative options, including AliExpress dropshipping free plus shippingwill stimulate its growth and establish a solid base for developing your e-commerce store in the future. For this approach to be effective, you should have a good understanding of your audience, knowing, what products are they interested in and what price are they willing to pay.
  • If you can change the price to cover delivery expenses, so shipping will appear free to the customer. Be careful though, because if the total price gets too high, it deters customers and makes them turn away to competitors.
  • If you have already built a big enough customer base, you may want to concentrate on increasing the average order value. In this case, free shipping dropshipping still works, but this option should remain available only to customers who make a purchase above a certain limit. This will urge them to buy more to avoid paying additional shipping fees. 

What does free shipping mean for promotion?

When planning the advertising, you should check, if your competitors offer dropshipping free shipping or not. If other stores in your market area provide free shipping, you will have to do it too. Explore other e-commerce resources to figure out, what and how they sell and use this information to decide, how to advertise free shipping in your store. If your plan includes free shipping for purchases exceeding the certain limit, check, what limits other stores set. This will give you a rough idea of how big an average purchase is. More experienced retailers can also use information gathered from competitors’ websites to get advantage over them, offering customers a better alternative.

There are many other ways to use shipping options for marketing purposes. Make it available for limited periods of time, like for the weekend or some holidays. For this method to be effective, you have to gather information about the local market to know, what goods are often bought in what season. As you see, in this case, free option shouldn’t be available for the whole year, or your customers will not perceive it as something really valuable.

Another way of using free shipping for promotion is making it available for loyal customers. You may allow it for those who make purchases regularly or spends a certain sum during a set period of time. Such customers are responsible for a significant share of your profit, so offering them free shipping is a reasonable idea: this will further strengthen their connection to your company and motivate them to buy often, while you will spend little in comparison to what profit they bring.

There are also certain cases when it isn’t recommended to use free shipping on all products. It is often impossible with international shipping in certain countries because sending goods to other countries can be too expensive even with cheaper delivery options. In this case, a reasonable idea is to offer varied shipping options depending on customer’s region. As an example, consider a situation when goods for local buyers are always shipped for free, but buyers from other countries will be able to use it, only if their purchase is above $100 or $200.

For dropshipping shops that sell clothes and accessories, it can be wise to consider an alternative, namely, allow clients to return bought items without additional fee. Therefore, the clients have to pay for delivery but then they can return the item without hassle, if it does not fit right. For those, who want to buy clothes online, knowing about free return availability will significantly increase motivation to purchase in a particular store.

You see that there are various scenarios, depending on what area of the market you have chosen and who is your target audience. In the knowledge base of the Ali2Woo plugin, there are thorough recommendations, to help you with setting up your e-commerce store and turning it into a source of sustainable profits.

When and how to offer free shipping?

Now you know the most important facts and ideas to consider before setting up free shipping or lower prices. The first thing you should look into is your total earnings. Will they be enough for the sustainability of your business, even when all or some of your products will be delivered for free? Do your calculations and explore various scenarios, both positive and negative, and then make a decision. Take different factors into consideration, including ones that can increase your expenses. 

Do not forget, various shipping options are effectively used for marketing purposes, for attracting buyers and creating a positive experience for them. You can even provide them with dropshipping free plus shipping option, which means, that your goods themselves is given away for free while the delivery remains paid. Naturally, the total cost remains low and this increases sales, widening your customer base for future profits. If you choose the Ali2Woo plugin to manage shipping in your store and adjust them to various scenarios, growing your e-commerce profits and establishing a stable income.

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