Holiday Series: The Lure of Free Shipping

free-shipping-blogHoliday shoppers love free shipping. In fact, in 2012, 20% of them said it was the most important factor they considered as they browsed online that year, according to And search agency CPC Strategy reports that 44% of shoppers will abandon their online shopping carts—potentially abandoning your products—if shipping costs are too high. Ouch!

So you may want to offer free shipping when the holidays hit. Shoppers will seek it out. But don’t worry. Catering to these bargain hunters doesn’t have to make you go broke.

The Keys to Success

One option is to build your shipping costs into the price of your products. Part of your holiday season prep should be knowing exactly how much it will cost to ship each of your items. Use that data to slightly increase your product prices.

And don’t forget to include the cost of your packaging materials! Bubble mailers, packing tape, and Styrofoam peanuts generally aren’t free and should be factored into your costs.

Reward Your Followers

Another option for offering free shipping on OpenSky—without changing the settings or pricing on all of your products—is to create a Coupon Code specifically for your store. Check out this tutorial for instruction on creating a special Code to share with your followers on OpenSky, social media and your email list.

Going this route allows you to test how shoppers respond to free shipping offers compared to percentage-off discounts. By measuring your results, you can weigh the costs against the benefits, and decide which types of promotions are right for your business.

Finding a Happy Medium

If you sell products in a variety of sizes and weights, it may be beneficial to offer free shipping only on certain goods, for instance, light weight items.

You can safely ship them using USPS First Class Mail in small padded envelopes. Costs are minimal for both postage and supplies, and First Class Mail is a quick and easy way to ship smaller products.

Try Tiered Shipping

OpenSky also offers an option called “Tiered Shipping” that allows you to offer discounted shipping rates to shoppers who purchase multiple items from you. In the shipping section of a “Product Info” page, you can set the shipping price in the first column (the price for shipping the product if ordered alone) and the “With another item” price (the price for shipping if the item is ordered along with something else).

In the example below, you can see that this particular product ships for $5.95 when ordered by itself, but ships for free when another item is ordered:


Click here to find out more about how to adjust your tiered shipping settings.

As you can see, free shipping doesn’t need to be a big hassle during the holidays, and there are ways to effectively cut the costs of offering it (while still keeping customers happy).

Happy shipping!

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