Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 20 2021 16:37:40

Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon sent an email to merchants this week with the subject line, "Facts and Myths about Free Shipping" to urge sellers to offer free shipping.

"Ever considered how your business could grow with Free Shipping?" the email asked recipients. "We all know that customer solve Free Shipping, and your business could love it too! Here are some myths and facts around Free Shipping to help you decide if it is right for your business:"

Myth: Free Shipping won't lead to more sales
Fact: Free shipping typically increases sales by 9.2% on average (1)

Myth: Customers only care about lower product prices, once they select an offer they won't care about shipping fees
Fact: Additional fees is #1 reason for abandoning cart (2)

Myth: Free Shipping doesn't make sense with low priced products
Fact: 50% of Products on Amazon priced between $0 and $5 have Free Shipping

Myth: Money is better spent offering discounts and promotions
Fact: 93% of customers prefer Free Shipping over discounts (3)

The email then proceeded to advise sellers on how they could change their settings to offer free shipping for Standard Shipping.

1) Based on an internal 2020 study of 2019 seller-fulfilled featured offers and their sales to non-Prime customers.

2) Food Marketing Now - Link here to source

3) Comscore & UPS - Link here to Source

The third so-called myth, "Free Shipping doesn't make sense with low priced products," doesn't address *how* sellers are able to offer free shipping on items $5 and under. 

What are your thoughts on offering free shipping on seller-fulfilled orders? And does it make a difference if it's on your own site versus an online marketplace like Amazon?



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 20 19:27:49 2021

Myth: Free Shipping.

Fact: It isn’t free.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 20 22:42:43 2021

Etsy has forced free shipping on us, otherwise they won't surface our listings in search, but it's inflated the price of the product to the point where nobody really shows any interest in the listings with 'free shipping' because those listings are perceived as being too expensive. I've put up a token number of free shipping listings so that I get a reasonable amount of visibility.

I have a subset of complainers who will purchase a $.99 item and then complain because "the shipping costs more than the product", but won't even look at a 'free shipping' listing listing where the shipping price is added to the product because 'it's ridiculous to spend that much for the item" when the two total price + shipping totals are EXACTLY THE SAME.

Etsy now flags some of my listings when I'm writing them and says "You're charging too much for shipping!" In that particular case the shipping is UNDER  POSTAGE COST!

The whole 'free shipping' scam is a slippery slope that's bad for everyone.

Amazon may play up how 'free shipping' confers an advantage to sellers who offer it, which I haven't found to be true, but the real truth if they succeed and EVERYBODY offers free shipping, NOBODY has an advantage any more. The playing field is by definition level.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 20 23:09:07 2021

When Amazon "ships for free" - the loss for that service comes out of someone elses pocket and not theirs directly - so they dont feel it.

If you dont feel it, then its not real - if its not real, then get others to do it too.

Some poor shlub who is paying for data services or Prime movies etc is paying for it, not Amazon - thats whats NOT being said.

Shipping is VERY expensive - more so today then ever. Just try shipping a 10 pound box from NYC to CA and see for yourself.

We sellers dont own planes and trucks, we cant absorb the super high costs.

With Amazons very high take rates, the costs for FBA, for warehouse relocation of items and all the other costs - who can afford those kinds of margins? (or lack there of).

Its all a marketing trick - dont fall for it - if you cant make money on your items and go out of business or do poorly - who cares if the buyer got the item shipped "free" ???? Certainly Amazon wont be there to help YOU.

Amazon looks out for itself - and as a seller "you should too".

As an aside - I stopped doing "free shipping" on almost everything I sell. I may make less sales - but Cest La Vie - Im not anyones punching bag.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 21 08:29:18 2021

"Free Shipping" is especially FRAUGHT for sellers now that there is at least the VISIBLE experience that More and More Parcel Carriers are making up NEW RULES as to when, where, and how packages get RATED.
Huh?   Yep, look no further than USPS altering the rules such that FCP is now DISTANCE PRICED when it was NOT just a few MONTHS ago.  Thinking one would KNOW the $$ to ship a 13 ounce Widget from NJ to CA is now merely a FOND MEMORY.
Can DISTANCE pricing for "flat rate Priority Mail packages" be far behind?

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri May 21 09:59:06 2021

Call it what it is.  "Free Shipping" is "Seller Paid Shipping".

Free for Amazon, costly for sellers.  Amazon's net sales in 2020 were $108.518 billion....yes, that's billion.  Yes, Amazon's business will grow with free shipping but sellers will pay more.

Amazon is getting a free ride on the backs of many.  This is what corporate welfare looks like.  And the C-suite officers are laughing all the way to the bank.

The slap in the face is when you get those alerts from Amazon informing you that "the bots" have determined that your price on an item is too high, even though you've priced it well below retail.  One has no choice but to price items higher when Amazon won't even give you enough shipping to cover the cost of shipping the item.

Get your own website.  Greed drives all of these venues.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri May 21 11:47:10 2021

Sellers urge Amazon to update its shipping vouchers to 21th century pricing.  They're still only providing a flat $4 voucher.  The last time I could mail anything for that paltry sum, the NYC skyline had two extra skyscrapers...

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 21 20:37:52 2021

Myth: Amazon Sucks.

Truth: It Does.

But what Big Bro does, Lil' Bro eBay must follow.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Carl

Sat May 22 20:29:15 2021

The term 'Free Shipping' should be illegal.
It should change to 'Postage Included'

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 24 01:10:00 2021

I have never ever gotten complaints from buyers on Merc, Grailed, Posh about shipping cost.  On Posh we have options, Free Shipping, 5.95 or 7.95 Priority Mail.  I love those 3 sites, and am expanding to others like Kidizen.  No hassle about the shipping cost.
Etsy sellers (and AMZ sellers) need to open their own ecommerce sites, like Shopify.  Less hassle.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 24 04:11:31 2021

Those five dollar and under products on Amazon are from Asia and under one dollar shipping costs. Right now you cannot ship anything with the Post Office for under $3.00 which leave $2.00 out of the $5 item. Then you have to pay Amazon $2.00 in fees or more depending on what you sell. You are now left with zero money to pay for the item you sold, let alone your time. Amazon has become the proverbial company store that Johnny Cash sang about. " You load sixteen tons, and what do you get. Another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store."

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 24 06:46:16 2021

$0-$5, The only one that can make a profit with Free shipping at that price is the Chinese who get subsidized shipping costs from our government. They can ship from Hong Kong to my next door neighbor cheaper than I can mail it to my next door neighbor.

Perminate Link for Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping   Amazon Urges Sellers to Offer Free Shipping

by: TDAKS This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 24 09:23:30 2021

Free shipping on items priced from $0-$5.00 PREDOMINANTLY FROM CHINA.
Just watch the tide turn in tsunami proportions when western nations stop regarding China as a 'developing' nation.  



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