03/29/2011: "Online Marketers Listening To Their Customers and Cutting Out Shipping Charges"
I always figure shipping into the total cost of any online purchase. I'm sure you do too. Fact is, the shipping cost can make an online purchase a less-than-attractive offer in many cases.
I've noticed more and more online marketers offering free shipping. Some give you free shipping after you've spent a certain amount. For example, Vitacost offers
free shipping after you've spent $49 --- not hard to do. They claim the offer is for a limited time only.
Another company, GoFit Fitness, is currently offering free shipping. They have great customer service and they ship quickly. That's the kind of company you like to do business with.
And now, according to Direct Marketing News, LL Bean is offering free shipping.
"LL Bean introduced free standard shipping without a minimum purchase amount to all US and Canadian addresses on March 25.
The multichannel retailer will also increase Visa cardmember benefits by doubling rewards on purchases made with LL Bean Visa cards. Program members will earn 1% everywhere Visa is accepted when they use the LL Bean Visa and 3% on LL Bean purchases, in addition to other member benefits such as free
monogramming and free return shipping, the company said in a statement."
The article says, "Larry Larry Joseloff, VP of content at Shop.org, said he expects free shipping to become an industry norm in the next five years."
"Free shipping is the most popular promotion in digital," he said. "It's becoming a customer expectation."
I think this shows that marketers are listening to their customers. And that's a good thing. Of course, I expect they'll make up any loss on shipping by increasing prices. Someone has to pay for the shipping and it always falls on the customer's shoulders.
Certainly we want marketers to make money. We don't want them losing money to satisfy greedy customers.
If you're a marketer, you no doubt want to make a profit. Otherwise, you wouldn't be selling things. But, like these businesses, you need to listen to the customer and make an effort to give your customers what they want. You can make up any loss on the back end or in some other way.
Shipping costs are a major factor in online sales. It reminds me of how Charles Atlas became rich. He sold his famous course printed on paper in a simple envelop. His cost was negligible.
Another marketer sold heavy dumbbells and barbells through the mail. You can guess who made the most money and had an easier go of it. If you said "Atlas", you were right.
Great marketers have to keep thinking of new ways to make a profit and, at the same time, please the customer. What great ideas do you have for your business?