Setting up your shipping rates on Shopify is an important part of running your eCommerce store, and boy oh boy do we challenge you to find an online shopper who doesn't love free shipping!
With online shopping growing at a great rate, how you handle the cost of shipping may be what sets you apart from the rest.
It's the perfect path to increase conversion rates, attract customers and retain them, boost cart values, and reduce abandoned shopping carts.
In fact, shipping rates are one of the biggest factors customers consider when buying online.
So, how does one offer free shipping you might ask? Well, we're here to give you a quick, no-fuss guide on how to set this up. We'll even throw in a little about the benefits of reducing your shipping fees and how to use it as an effective strategy to increase sales.
If you’re ready to dive in, let's go!
You may be asking, “Why should I offer free shipping? Doesn’t my business have to absorb that cost and lose out on profits?”
The answer is that yes, your business will have to absorb the cost but, if done correctly, free shipping could actually increase your profit.
Research shows that customers are more likely to buy from an online store that offers free shipping, whether that be promotional, seasonal, on specific products, or all year round on all products (what happy customers they’d be!).
High shipping fees are the number one reason customers abandon their carts, so implementing a strategy that works for both you and your customer will go a long way in helping your eCommerce store succeed.
- Free Shipping As The Default Shipping Rate
- Free Shipping For Specific Products
- Free Shipping Over A Certain Value Or Weight
Organizing your shipping settings on Shopify is fairly easy. Click on "Settings" in the bottom left-hand corner of your home page and then click on “Shipping and Delivery”.
From this menu, you can set up various shipping profiles which allow you to offer free shipping for all products, specific products, or products within certain weight and value ranges.
Shopify stores come with a general shipping profile by default. The default offers flat shipping rates for all your products and is great if you want to offer free shipping for all stock.
All your existing and new products will be added to the general shipping profile, and if a product or variant isn’t in a custom profile, then it will automatically use the flat shipping rates from your general shipping profile.
To set your default shipping to free, click “Manage” next to the general shipping profile. Then click “Create shipping zone” under “Shipping to”.
First, name the zone. We decided to name this one “International” and chose to offer free shipping worldwide. Click “Done” and then “Add rate”.
“Set up your own rates” will automatically be checked and, as we don't want to choose a shipping service and introduce costs, leave it checked.
Next, set your transit time to “Custom flat rate”, make the rate name “Free shipping”, and leave the price block blank.
Click "Done". You now have your default shipping set to free for all products to the location/s you chose.
If you'd like to offer free shipping to a specific region instead of worldwide, then just click your chosen regions instead of "Rest of the world".
To create custom shipping rates for specific products, you'll need to click on "Create new profile".
Give the profile a name and add the specific products you want to offer free shipping on.
Under “Shipping to” click on “Create shipping zone” and choose the countries where you'd like to offer free shipping to.
If you want to offer global free shipping then choose “Rest of the world” or choose specific regions if you're only offering this option to select countries. Click "Done".
Now you’ll need to click on “Add rate”.
“Choose your own rates” should automatically be checked when the window opens. You will need to enter a name (which the customer will be able to see upon checking out) and a price.
Name it “Free shipping” and leave the price block blank.
Click “Done” and you will see your free shipping show up as below.
Once you’ve done the above, setting up a profile that offers free shipping for weight-based or price-based conditions is super simple.
You will need to create a shipping profile as outlined above and then click on “Add rate” → “Add conditions”. Here you can set up free shipping for minimum price/minimum weight and then click “Done” to add.
We added these to our default profile to showcase what this will look like once done.
When and how you offer free shipping will be entirely up to you and will depend on the size of your business and budget.
Larger companies can run free or reduced shipping across the store, and perhaps all year round.
However, if you’re just starting out, this might not be something you can afford. You’ll need to consider your profit margin and how you’ll work around absorbing the shipping costs so you don’t end up losing out in the long run.
So, when do you offer free shipping to reap the greatest rewards? Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Introduce free shipping offers on select products.
- Set a minimum order value that customers must meet in order to qualify.
- Sell off end-of-season or surplus stock by offering free shipping for a specific quantity or combination of products.
- Make the most of peak sales periods such as Black Friday, Christmas, Mother’s day, etc., and offer shipping instead of product discounts
- Create a shipping discount code for new customers or email sign-ups.
You can Implement cross-selling or recommended products to encourage customers to meet minimum order values.
Certain tactics, such as introducing a minimum value or offering free shipping codes to new customers, will help you absorb the shipping costs without taking too much of a knock.
If you offer free shipping, you need to remember that the carrier rates don’t just go away, they will need to be absorbed by your business.
So, how do you pay for shipping while still ensuring that you turn a decent profit?
To calculate your free shipping threshold, you’ll need to know your average order value and/or your median order value.
As an example, let’s say your average order value is $65.85 and your median order value is $64. You may want to offer free shipping on all orders over $80.
Nudging your customers to qualify for the promotion means you can cover some of the shipping costs without digging too much into your profits.
Other costs to keep in mind include:
- Shipping methods - where you're shipping to and the third-party shipping service you will be using
- Additional shipping charges with regard to box size and the weight of the products;
- Your product and packaging costs.
- Credit card fees and customs duties
If you do your research and calculations, you should be able to find a profitable way to include free shipping as a part of your marketing strategy.
You're all set up, but now what? How do you let potential customers know that this free shipping discount is available?
By marketing your offer you'll increase your sales and make your money back. Some of the best ways to market your offer are:
- Implement a free shipping bar or banner on your website
- Announce it on your social media pages
- Utilize your email marketing campaign and let your email subscribers know about the promotion
- Install a Shopify app on your site to guide customers through the promotion
Ultimately, we're looking at a proven method of increasing sales for your eCommerce store. However, it's not the only method and if you don't plan on offering free shipping, be sure to clearly let your customers know what the shipping costs will be.
It's a good idea to research your shipping options because even if you don't offer free shipping, lower shipping rates will have a similar effect.
If you are looking for the best rates or simply want a more hassle-free way of shipping to customers, keep in mind that you can find tons of shipping apps on the Shopify app store.
Whatever you decide, remember to always track your conversion rates and check back on your shipping policies to adjust as needed.
If you found this helpful, feel free to check out our other how-to guides on setting up the perfect Shopify store!