Posts Tagged ‘offering free shipping’

5 Key Shipping Insights for eCommerce Merchants

Friday, August 28th, 2015

shipping insights for ecommerce

Shipping for eCommerce merchants can be a lengthy and grueling process. Whether you are pondering the idea of offering free shipping, inquiring about multiple shipping providers or figuring out how to build a drop shipping business, the details can get demanding.

Finding a way to save is one challenge, but we have some eCommerce shipping strategies to guide you through.

Since shipping costs are most likely among the top 3 expenses in a merchants P&L, along with cost of goods sold and salaries, learning some shipping insights for eCommerce can only help.

What if there were a way to monitor your shipping accounts, identify late deliveries and file the claims on your behalf? 71lbs. offers all that and more.

Did you know FedEx and UPS shipments come with a money-back guarantee if delivered late by 60 seconds or more? All overnight, ground and international shipments fall under the MBG policy.

With 7lbs, 100% of refunds get credited back to your online shipping accounts. Find out 5 best practices, ways to save and eCommerce shipping insights in the infographic below.

shipping infographicFor more, check out Freestyle’s recent partnership with 71lbs., the unique shipping service for M.O.M and Freestyle customers alike.

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4 ‘Free’ Marketing Incentives Every SMB Should be Using

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

free marketing incentives
Why ‘Free’ In Marketing Works

The motivating four-letter word ‘Free’ gets attention from consumers no matter what it’s referring to. Whether they are ecstatic about free Wi-Fi, free product returns or even a free donut with a beverage. That free fried dough on National Donut Day drives people mad, so much so you’d think one would cost more than $1.25. There is just something about the term that gets the people going, but what is it?

Sure it’s enticing to get free stuff, but why is it the main driving factor in online purchases, and just overall shopping experiences? In Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Duke Professor Dan Ariely delves into how rational our buying decisions really are.

“Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! We forget the downside. FREE! Gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is.” –Predictably Irrational

So what can a small business owner do to comply with this term consumers love so much without breaking the bank? Consider using these four ‘free’ marketing incentives to stay ahead of the competition.

Free Wi-Fi

If you have a brick and mortar store, not offering free customer Wi-Fi might be holding you back. Sure, you’re probably thinking it’s only effective for restaurants or doctors’ offices, but it can also benefit the SMB retailer.

When a customer lo4 Free Marketing Incentives Every SMB Should be Using -free wifigs onto your Wi-Fi, you can drive in coupons that may be close to expiring. Wi-Fi can also be tracked throughout your store
to monitor traffic flow and identify bottlenecks. Providing customer Wi-Fi also gives your business a competitive edge in eCommerce branding. Signing onto the network can help you directly engage with consumers through advertising, special offers and more. Getting your Wi-Fi network started is unfortunately not ‘free,’ and will require some costs and time, but it may be worth the effort. These aspects will vary depending on your business location.

Free Shipping

Offering free product returns goes hand-in-hand with shipping, but there are a few more things to pay attention to. Since free shipping is the most incentivized buying pattern out there, you want to make sure all of your back-end operations are in order first. There are some beneficial rules and instructions every retailer would profit from before offering free shipping, like paying attention to your margins, customers and more.

Free Product Returns

When you are managing purchasing throughout the inventory process, offering free product returns can sometimes have a negative connotation. You might think you’ll lose sales this way, but if you understand some essential retail strategies before offering free product returns, you will be on your way to gaining more customers, increasing sales and honing in on customer satisfaction.

Managing product returns for your eCommerce business can be a cinch if you know what to look for and how to best streamline your inventory in the process.

Free Product Samples

Giving your customers the chance to try your products can be a great business tactic for quite a few reasons. Not only does it give your customer the chance to feel more confident in your products, but it gives you the opportunity to benefit from immediate sales thanks to the law of reciprocity.

It can give your customers a warm-fuzzy feeling knowing you would go out of your way to make sure they’re satisfied. You can even surprise customers by adding a free item to their purchase just as a simple thank you, not to mention the eCommerce product reviews you are likely to get from your efforts. Just be sure not to get to pushy in your marketing, as that will only create frustration among your customers. If you have a product of value, there should be nothing to worry about.

Whether you are starting up your small business website for the first time, or just getting into retail, utilizing these ‘free’ marketing approaches are worth looking into to benefit your business in the long run.

But, offering free products and shipping is not always so simple when starting out. Find out the must-haves before offering free shipping in the ‘free’ eBook below.

5 Must Haves Before Offering Free Shipping

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7 Essential Strategies Before Offering Free Product Returns

Monday, August 17th, 2015

managing complex inventory
Consumers love the four-letter word, Free,’ whether that means scooping up some needless key chains or reveling in a free shipping purchase they just made.

The reasons to offer free shipping have risen over the years with increased conversions and more, but, free returns might be on its way to matching free shipping in years to come.

“Free returns and exchanges surpassed one-day shipping this year as the No. 2 incentive – 65 percent compared to 62 percent.”
Walker Sands Communications

Free shipping is not going anywhere, as it remains the top reason 83% of consumers do more of their shopping online. But, will retailers need to take advantage of more free incentives to keep up? With ‘free’ advertising becoming more and more popular, offering free product returns might soon be a necessity for retailers, especially in apparel.

What Should Retailers Be Aware of?

Shopping online more frequently is not the only thing growing in popularity, as more consumers are expected to buy expensive items online this year.

“Nearly three times as many consumers (27 percent compared to 10 percent) would purchase a product costing more than $1,000 without seeing it first if free returns were offered.”
Walker Sands Future of Retail Study

Before Offering Free Product Returns, knowing the stats is important.

As the numbers show, ignoring these incentives can lead to a decrease in sales and customers, so implementing free returns is key. However, before you continue, you want to be sure all of your business goals are set up properly.

Check out some retail strategies and tips before offering free product returns for your customers.

Some of the best website designs trump their competitors because of their product placements and optimized page copy. One more way to stand out is to make your free offers accessible on your site and product pages. Making them stand out will give your customers the peace of mind to continue shopping on your website.

  • Look Out for High-Frequency Returners

Although it seems obvious to keep up with eCommerce giants like Amazon who thrive on their free incentives, small businesses must be wary when going forward with free returns. Since a third of all internet sales get returned, it is vital to keep an eye too many happy returns. Be sure to monitor your free returns and keep an eye on consumers who might be taking advantage of things like wearing items once then returning them.

  • Offer Secure and Flexible Payments

With consumers shifting towards mobile online payment systems, especially for the upcoming holiday retail season, be sure to keep up with the changes and offer a wide variety of options for shoppers. Implementing free product returns can be beneficial to your brand, but you could lose sales, if you neglect to give your customers a plethora of payment options.

What to Be Aware of Before Offering Free Product Returns

  • Know Your Advantage

As a small business, you have an advantage over larger eCommerce stores like Amazon when it comes to free returns. Amazon has made their empire on offering free initiatives, but when it comes to apparel, small is bountiful. Understand your lead and take advantage of implementing these incentives to compete.

You can also continue to offer discount pricing and increase sales by implementing eCommerce kits and bundles. When it comes to giving your customers the best possible service, free shipping and free returns can significantly help increase your sales, but make sure you know the basics before jumping in head first.

The reasons for offering free shipping and returns are endless, but paying attention to some key aspects will only help your business flourish in the long-run.

The user experience is critical to the ongoing relationship between eCommerce companies and their customers. Find out how to avoid falling behind after checkout.

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