Smart Shipping Made Easy

Fast versus Free Shipping – Consumers Weigh In

Do customers always prefer fast shipping, free shipping or both?

by Paula Heikell

It’s one of the hottest topics amongst shippers today – how to protect their bottom line from escalating shipping costs while meeting online shoppers’ demands for service.

“Free shipping” is the answer most often heafree shippingrd as a top reason why shoppers choose certain e-commerce stores. But is it the only reason? Take a look at this insightful infographic provided by eFulfillment and you’ll see that other factors come into play. According to their data:

  • Free shipping is important, but not as important as low prices.
  • 58% of those surveyed want free or discounted shipping, while 28% want to have a choice of shipping options to select from.
  • A good portion of shoppers is willing to accept longer delivery windows for free shipping.
  • It’s still important to provide expedited shipping as an option.

Possible Solution: A Combination of Free and “Conditionally” Free Shipping Programs

Companies such as Craft Supplies, an online retailer of woodworking supplies, are embracing free shipping to gain a competitive advantage but getting creative to address those situations where free shipping is simply too cost-prohibitive.

Fast versus free shipping
Craft Supplies catalog.

“We were the first in our industry to offer our customers a flat-rates shipping program of $7 for orders up to $150 in value and free shipping for orders over $150 in value,” said Don Dafoe, Vice President of Marketing and IT for Craft Supplies, “To manage this marketing program cost-effectively, we needed to upgrade our shipping system and processes.” Dafoe chose to implement Logistyx Technologies’ multi-carrier shipping software system that allowed him to add USPS shipping – a cost-effective alternative to more expensive carriers.

Other Suggestions for Shipping Programs

Other ideas for win-win shipping programs that serve the customer and your company include:

  • Offer free shipping on standard delivery, but charge a premium for premier services such as expedited or time-specific deliveries.
  • Charge for shipping on low-value products and offer free shipping on high-value products.
  • Provide free shipping options if certain carriers are used.
  • Consider using lower-cost regional carriers, as well as the USPS.

If you’re new to the benefits of regional carriers, learn more by downloading our white paper:  Regional Carriers – A Sound Shipping Strategy for a Competitive Advantage.

These are just a few suggestions to consider. You may come up with some other useful shipping ideas by consulting your internal team, visiting your competitors’ e-commerce sites and talking to other shippers who have similar shipping requirements but are not necessarily in your industry.

Fast vs Free eCommerce Shipping InfographicAn infographic by eFulfillment Service

Leverage Technology

The best way to stay nimble in addressing shipping costs is to eliminate manual shipping processes and manage all your carriers on a carrier-agnostic, multi-carrier e-commerce shipping system. You’ll:

  • Speed up shipment processing while reducing labor costs.
  • Be able to respond to changing customer service preferences much more quickly.
  • Have access to good reporting tools that make it easy to track costs, delivery results and more.

For more information on how to implement a multi-carrier e-commerce shipping system to reduce your shipping costs, contact us today.

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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. 

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