I’ve mentioned on a few different occasions that offering free shipping all of the time, say for orders over $100 or $200 doesn’t work well for a business like ours. We’re in a unique industry where weight doesn’t correlate at all to money spent – you can spend $60 on three heavy gallons that cost us maybe $20 to ship to CA, or you can spend $200 on a wax that costs us $8 to ship to CA. We’ve found that as a policy it’s much more fair to everyone if we charge you based on weight, not on amount spent. In the end this allows us to be really accurate with our shipping estimates and not undercharge or overcharge any of our customers.
That said, we still use free shipping as a promotional offer from time to time, and in particular during the Holiday season we do exactly what I just said we don’t normally do – offer free shipping to customers who spend over $150 in hopes of upselling all customers over the $150 during a season where people spend more freely. For us, the Holiday season starts on 11/1, and like last year we have the free shipping banner across the top of every page:
This year we also programmed in a new feature. On the Cart page – the page where you can delete items, change quantities, and get a shipping quote, just before you proceed to the Checkout page that requires a log in – users are now shown just how much more they need to spend to qualify for the free shipping. As they add/remove products on the page, the shipping estimate updates accordingly using AJAX:
I’ll plan on following up with a post on the results after the Holidays. To gauge success, I’ll look at average order value to see if that increased, and I’ll also look to see what percentage of our orders crossed the free shipping barrier.
The interesting thing about this is that this same system could be applied to other promotions that we run. Say, for example, when we give away free products. You could say “Spend $x more and get two free towels”. Really any promo that requires a min-spend could be potentially enhanced with the system. Will be interesting to see how well it works.