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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: Mark W. Vigoroso 2002-03-01 06:56:43
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In the world of e-tail, the free shipping experiment continues -- Buy.com recently said
it will waive shipping charges on orders over US$99 that weigh less than 20 pounds -- but
the formula for shipping success is still an enigma. For one thing, many e-tailers cannot
afford to offer free shipping on a grand scale. What is more, free shipping probably will
not convince enough shoppers to pump up their order total.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: Philw 2013-03-05 04:00:10 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
it seems to really become a hype giving out free shipping nowadays. I do understand the concept behind it, since it makes the customer feel like a conventional everyday shopper where -almost- never any shipping costs have to be paid. A site I regularly use is fws24.com It lets you see all free shipping products immediately without having to go first to the retail shop and look for them.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: kinoli 2008-01-17 21:34:45 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
I'm really into www.freeshipping.org these days. They seem to have a free shipping coupon for most stores.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: mpmwa 2002-03-05 03:02:05 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
Of *course* retailers will still profit from customers' efforts to maximize their savings! That's why they offer the savings in the first place. But this does not preclude the possibility of *consumers* profiting from their efforts, too!

Vigoroso seems to have forgotten that the beauty of a free-market exchange is that *both* parties profit, and this condition provides our very definition of "productivity." Trade *creates* wealth; it doesn't merely redistribute it from one party (the consumer, or the victim) to another (the business, or the evil corporate empire). Not every appealing offer is a sleight of hand, and consumers are smart enough to figure this out, too.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: littlehands 2002-03-04 23:09:52 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
As a retailer who is thinking about e-tailing, free shipping scares me. Shipping can amount to 10% or more of the cost of an item. Because of that, free shipping in many cases will probably be a thing of the past. The name of the game for us is making money (as it is for any other business). We simply can't do it by giving away shipping on every sale. We might be able to do it for "best" customers, over a certain $ sale, or in some other special situation. For the everday sale, though, shipping should be added.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: kerri_thomas 2002-03-04 03:20:56 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
Just as an aside ...

I think the days of free shipping are coming to an end, but perhaps for a slightly different reason.

As an Australian who shops frequently from US and other overseas websites, I get cheesed off with the overseas companies, who send me endless emails saying "FREE SHIPPING" in big print and then "in US and Canada only" in the very small print. (Some companies don't even bother to say that, as I found with a big Canadian online bookstore that emailed me with free shipping offers, but, as it turned out from trial and error at the point of sale, only to Canadian addresses. My Australian address brought up an error message, but when I entered a fabricated Canadian address it happily accepted! Very, very bad customer service!)

I wait for the day that online stores realise the true extent of customer service on the net - if they are selling something on the net, then they are selling globally, not just to "US and Canadian address only."

If you are offering a special deal of some sort on the net, then you had better be offering it to ALL your customers, else your customers are going to go elsewhere. You tend to get pretty annoyed when you see everyone else enjoying a continual stream of special deals, while you get ignored for no good reason except that you don't live in the "right" area!

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: All Thumbs 2002-03-05 14:04:35 In reply to: kerri_thomas
Kerri - I can see why you would be frustrated by seeing a steady stream of deals that don't apply to you because of where you live.

On the other hand, realistically, there are so many added costs for a shipper to ship from country to country and continent to continent. Aside from the added postage, the paperwork often needed for customs can be a real burden. It's no wonder that etailers have to charge more to ship to a different country, if they're willing to do it at all.

You're right though... When selling on the web, companies have to remember that their offers can and *will* be seen by people all around the world.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: kerri_thomas 2002-03-06 04:28:10 In reply to: All Thumbs
Thanks, and a good point made about the additional costs involved in shipping to other countries.

Sadly, my credit card is all too aware of the additional costs of shipping to Australia, but it is certainly true for me - if I want the product badly enough, I'm prepared to pay more for it.

However, with the great variations in shipping costs, and the inability of companies to offer shipping specials to ALL their customers, free shipping will die off. Companies will eventually wake up to their true customer base and replace shipping deals with specials that are attractive to ALL their customers.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: jeff_6 2002-03-01 14:34:02 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
I do not wish to show disrespect or have this email seen as a personal attack on the writer, but the prior feedback is one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: davidport 2002-03-02 11:00:35 In reply to: jeff_6
You're absolutely right, jeff_6. I shouldn't have said what I did without offering proof. Therefore, I invite you to see the survey results at www.fastlaundry.com/ipsos-reid.htm

David Porter

Re: The High Cost of Free Shipping
Posted by: davidport 2002-03-01 07:42:38 In reply to: Mark W. Vigoroso
Regardless of the cost, if e-tailers want to attract more shoppers who spend more money at more frequent intervals, they must understand that shipping's counterpart -- *receiving* -- is equally as important. Specifically: If nobody can be home to receive delivered goods, then there's a 78.6% probability that they won't even order in the first place!
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