If there's one thing that all Shopify merchants can agree on, it's the importance of using free shipping to attract and retain customers. Why? Because it encourages users to buy on the spot and it can motivate them to return again and again.

Free shipping is a win-win for you and your customers. They get to spend without the worry of paying for shipping, and it gives you a boost above your competitors. 

We discuss how free shipping manages to make sense and some of the ways you can incorporate it into your e-commerce marketing strategy


Does free shipping increase sales on Shopify?

According to consumer trend reports, 80% of customers expect free shipping over a certain amount - a majority of these consumers argue that free shipping should be offered regardless of the amount spent. Given that 78% of consumers only shop online, it’s more than enough reason to consider adding the bonus of free shipping to your products. 

And what happens if free shipping isn’t an option? They’ll happily search for a product elsewhere, and your competitors will most likely score their support.

Additionally, free shipping can help you reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts in your Shopify store, as it removes one of the main barriers to purchase. 


What to consider before offering free shipping Shopify

As a business owner, you may be considering whether or not to offer free shipping on your Shopify store. This is a common question, and there are many factors to consider when making a decision that requires thorough research.

  • Is free shipping worth the hassle and admin? That comes down to A/B testing conversion rates - have you seen an improvement in conversion once you’ve tested out free shipping?
  • Consider how much carriers are charging for shipments and not just the amount you are charging. Even if you offer free shipping, your carriers still need to be paid, so you’ll need to include this cost in "average shipping cost."
  • What fees do you pay on transactions? These fees include credit card and duty fees.
  • How much are you willing to lose on profit? Free shipping incurs the cost of products, packaging and profit margin. 

When to offer free shipping on Shopify

In an ideal world, free shipping year-round would be splendid. But as we all know, nothing is really ever free. Larger companies may reap the rewards of free shipping year-round in the long term, yet it’s not a reality for all e-commerce stores. 

Depending on your profit margin, you can work your way around shipping fees and when to offer your promotions. After analysing the costs involved in the shipments and transaction fees, you can delve into the option of offering free shipping conditionally or promotionally.

  1. Using a minimum order value: Create a minimum spend amount that allows your customers to qualify for free shipping; this acts as a threshold for still retaining a profit over free shipping.

  2. Peak sale periods: For many businesses, Black Friday, Christmas Day, or Mother’s Day are prime money-making times. Offer free shipping as an alternative to a discount or promotion as a means of staying ahead of competitors.

  3. One-time promotion codes: To encourage new customers or email signs up, offer a one-time free-shipping promotion.

  4. Select products: If you’ve encountered a surplus of items, consider offering free shipping on certain items in order to reduce your stock load.

How to set up free shipping on Shopify

With Shopify, you can alter shipping rates on your store, and you have the freedom to create a criterion of what products include free shipping. Your e-commerce stores shipping rates will be categorised as free, flat, or calculated shipping rates. 

Flat shipping rates

Creating flat shipping rates for your online store can help to streamline the checkout process for your customers and make your site more user-friendly. In order to simplify your shipping rates, you can establish flat rates for regions of delivery. For example, a 10-mile radius equates to a £5 flat rate delivery fee, whereas regions that fall over the 10-mile radius can have a higher rate. 

Calculated shipping rates

Shopify Shipping allows e-commerce stores to integrate with Shopify's shipping carrier accounts. The benefit of this is that the shipping rates are calculated at checkout by a third-party shipping service; essentially, this helps charge your customers the exact amount for shipping. 


Free shipping rates

Creating free shipping rates on items means that customers won’t be paying for shipping at checkout. 

Top tip: If you’re wondering, “How do I set up free shipping?” you simply visit the Shopify support page for a step-by-step guide.


Offering local pick up or delivery

If you are in business, there is a good chance you are looking for ways to expand your customer base, but it can be challenging when you can’t afford to offer free shipping. One way to combat this is to offer local delivery or pickup. This can be a great option for customers who do not want to wait for their order to arrive, or who live far away from your business. Offering local delivery or pickup can also help you attract new customers in your area. 

Here are some tips on how to set up local delivery or pickup: 

  1. Decide which service you want to offer – delivery or pickup.
  2. Choose a courier service or pick-up location.
  3. Advertise your new service! Let customers know that they can now receive their orders faster and more conveniently.

Is free shipping a good idea?

Now that online shopping has become so popular, many people are wondering if they should add free shipping to their orders. As we’ve discussed, free shipping is a huge benefit for both your business and your customers. Research has revealed there is a higher conversion rate amongst companies that offer free shipping.

After accessing profit margins, companies can decide to opt for shipping promotions, discounts on certain products, calculate shipping rates or once-off specials. By understanding the options available to you, you can make an informed decision about how to best provide free shipping for your customers. 


Contact us to find out how you can optimise your e-commerce store and take advantage of the perks of free shipping.