Free Shipping for the Holidays

As summer starts winding down, a business owner’s thoughts turn to the holidays. As a small business owner, you have a little more time to start gearing up for holiday retail sales—but not much. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday are coming up sooner than you think, and competition for consumer holiday dollars is going to be cutthroat. 

If you sell online, know that to attract holiday shoppers this year, you’ll have to offer free shipping in some shape or form. Last year, 96 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers cited free shipping as a factor in their purchases. And FreeShipping.org reports that shoppers spend an average of 30 percent more when free shipping is available.

Here are some tips to make free shipping work for your business:

Free Shipping1.Offer a variety of shipping options:

Free shipping in exchange for a longer delivery period, or faster delivery for a fee

Buy online and pick up the item in-store

Buy online and return items in-store

Shipment tracking

2. Minimum purchase for free shipping:

Most big retailers set a price minimum for free shipping. Anywhere from $50 to 100 is the norm. Make suggestions for items to get the shopping cart total to the free shipping amount.

3. Make free shipping obvious:

Don’t hide the fact you offer free shipping until shoppers are ready to buy. If you have a brick and mortar store, advertise free shipping in your store. Post information about free shipping in all your social media channels.

4. Global shipping:

If you sell internationally, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer free or at least low-cost shipping. Sign up with a fulfillment center like Shipwire, Amazon and Innotrac to get products to your customers all over the world.

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky, SmallBizDaily, GrowBizMedia, SCORE BlogRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.