Should I increase my prices to offer discounted or free shipping? Why or why not?
There are varying opinions regarding free shipping. Some sellers swear by it and say people hate to pay shipping and so it’s a great incentive. Others are sure no one is naïve enough to believe that the cost of the “free shipping” isn’t incorporated into the price.
While I do find free shipping delightful, I’m inclined to agree that with handmade items, buyers are smart enough to know that the expense is being factored in somewhere if a seller offers it as a rule. However, it still has the potential to attract customers who just can’t stand the thought of paying shipping (thank you, Amazon Prime) and will be lured in even if they know deep down that it’s not truly free.
Personally, I prefer to treat free shipping as a special event. When a blogger is doing a giveaway of one of my products, I usually offer her readers a coupon code for free shipping for the duration of the giveaway. When it’s occasional and limited like this, buyers know that it’s truly free shipping and that they really are saving. I have had very positive results from using this approach.
As far raising prices in order to offer discounted shipping, this could be an effective strategy for someone whose products are heavy or oversize and come with a hefty shipping fee. Even if the buyer ends up paying the same either way, there’s just something about a high shipping cost – especially when viewed in proportion to the selling price – that can be a deterrent. Dividing the amount across the product price and the shipping charge might help the customer overcome that mental hurdle.
Whatever you decide, keep this in mind: Google Shopping policies specifically state not to include any promotional text such as free shipping in a product title. Since Etsy pays for Google Product Listing Ads on our behalf, it’s wise to be mindful of their rules when crafting titles. Yes, you will always find exceptions where a product listing does something Google says not to do, but best practice says to adhere to the guidelines to reduce the chances of having a listing disapproved. (This applies only to Google Shopping – not to Google organic search.)
What about you? Do you think offering free or discounted shipping is a good plan?
See you tomorrow for Day 15 of 31 Days of Etsy Seller Q & A.