|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2928 - November 05, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065 5 of 6|
Free shipping offers present both an opportunity and a challenge to online sellers. Manish Chowdhary is founder and CEO of GoECart, an award-winning company that provides online merchants with an ecommerce platform and services to help them grow. Chowdhary presents tips on how to survive free shipping this holiday season in today's EcommerceBytes Newflash guest column.
Free shipping is all about keeping online shoppers happy. The question however is, "How do small and medium online retailers compete with the big and really big retailers"?
Just take Amazon as an example of what large retailers are able to offer to pull in customers. Amazon offers "Super Saver Shipping" that allows customers to place a minimum of $25 of eligible products in their shopping cart and qualify for free shipping. The only caveat is that the items will be delivered in 5 to 8 business days. Amazon's site states that with this shipping option, they are able to fulfill orders in a more cost-efficient way and pass on the savings.
Amazon also promotes the fact that they offer many items priced $10 or less which helps their customers reach the coveted $25 for free shipping. One of their customers commented, "Why spend your money on shipping when you could spend your money on stuff?"
Amazon, through their Amazon Prime service, has also found a way to encourage repeat customers by offering customers the option of paying an annual membership fee of $79 and receive free 2-day shipping on a whole host of items. To sweeten this deal Amazon allows for this membership to be extended to four additional "household" members.
While many large online retailers like Sears, Williams-Sonoma and other have experienced a great ROI from programs similar to the ones offered by Amazon, most small to medium businesses are struggling to compete profitably.
Below are eight innovative ways that can help make merchants combat the free shipping dilemma:
For many shoppers, free shipping has been the single-most-powerful factor in determining if or where they purchase their holiday item. Hence, many smaller retailers have had to offer free shipping at some point during past holidays - but not always to their benefit. Now with these eight creative tips, merchants can still offer free shipping but increase their profits at the same time.
Manish Chowdhary is the founder and CEO of GoECart, an integrated multi-channel ecommerce platform and order management system provider whose clients include Sears, Elsevier and J.D.Irving. He can be reached via www.GoECart.com or follow him on Twitter @goecart.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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