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Why I offer Free shipping on most of my items.

There's been a lot of posts lately in the forum on free shipping or including the cost of shipping in an item's price.

Check this out (top reasons why shoppers abandon carts):

#1 High shipping charges. 44%

I offer "free shipping" on most item in my store because of this factor.

Buyers often have an idea on what they *think* it should cost to ship something. 99% of the time they're wrong in the shipping estimate in their head and it actually costs more. If they see you're charging even just $2 or $3 more than what they think it should cost it can kill the sale. Now they think you're trying to rip them off in shipping charges. The weird thing is it's often the shipping charges that will seal the deal in making the sale rather than the retail price.

They have no idea how much your handmade item should retail because the prices range in handmade so much across the board. They think they know what the shipping should cost and people are so freaked out and conditioned to watch out for jacked up shipping costs.

I totally get rid of the chance buyers will abandon their cart due to high shipping charges because I have no separate shipping presented to them.

Marketing with free shipping has worked really well for me. I do get feedback that says something like "Can't beat free shipping! Thanks!" or something about the free shipping.

You never know unless you try it to see if it works for you. And when I say try it I mean for like 6 months straight or a year rather than just 1 weekend.

343 Responses

Here's another with research reports conducted by PayPal, BCG, Marketing Sherpa and other marketing agencies.

This is interesting, thanks!
if all of my items were small and light, i would consider it. but many of them are heavier and weird shapes so i don't think so. also most of my sales are for multiple items and how they pack together and how much packing they require can really effect shipping prices.

the bottom line is if i made shipping part of the item's price many of them would appear too expensive and turn buyers off.
Interesting read. Thanks for the links Molly.
Also - on the second link I provided, the number #6 reason is -
Couldn’t find preferred pay option: 24%

That's also a good reason to consider offering both Paypal *and* direct checkout if you can.
I've struggled with the idea of across the board free shipping for a while now. I've seen several reports similar to the ones noted here, but, bottom line is, my little supply items would end up being priced right out of the market. I just can't justify free shipping.
Molly, did you have a noticeable increase in sales when you started free shipping? I've tried it as a promotional thing, but didn't seem to make a difference.

I've abandoned many carts when the shipping is calculated. The last one was $9 shipping for 8 buttons (not on Etsy). Our shipping here is upfront, so I wonder if that makes a difference vs calculated.
I build domestic shipping into my item prices (except for my destash) basically to make things simpler for buyers. I started doing it when Etsy didn't show the shipping costs of things in your cart until you went to check-out, so the cost would often surprise people. Now that the costs are shown immediately when an item is put into the cart, that's not so much of a consideration. But I still think it makes things simpler in a "what you see is what you get" way.

I never call it "free shipping". In fact, I don't think I draw attention to it at all, but if I did I'd say "shipping included".

My items make it pretty easy to include shipping in the price. I can see the difficulties for those who sell heavy items, or supplies (which is why I do charge shipping on my destash).

interesting, but free shipping would just make my items more expensive as I'd have to pay for the cost from somewhere?

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