Etsy SEO counts free shipping as an “important” element which commits customers to purchase.
So suggests their survey in which the marketplace’s shoppers said they were 50% less likely to buy an item if the price was a bit more expensive then they used to. As a result, listings with free shipping badge are more likely to be attractive and visible to consumers. Anything less would mean losing the shoppers to the competition.
However, free shipping can often put a strain on merchants’ businesses, especially for overseas sellers who might not have access to a pool of reliable and affordable suppliers.
Etsy’s recent news post, which encouraged sellers to “delight shoppers with special offers like free shipping”- created a row of angry comments from sellers in which they have questioned the marketplace on “who was going to pay for free shipping“-especially now that Etsy takes a commission on shipping charges.
Merchants should consider adjusting the price of an item as shoppers tend to see more value in paying for their desired product rather for its shipping. It might feel incorrect to add shipping costs to an item price. However, this small change would have a significant impact on sales’ volumes. Sellers also should consider running a free delivery promotional test to find out whether this is a right move for their business.
If the free shipping option benefits a sellers’ business, they can move on to building a strategy that fits within their needs and resonates the most with their clientele. There’re a few options they can try. Sellers should consider setting up order minimum and quantity amount which would incentivise buyers to purchase more to obtain a free delivery as a gift. If merchant ships internationally, they can limit their free delivery to domestic orders. This way, they will be able to test free shipping in their shops without having to account for potentially higher international shipping costs.
Sellers also need to remember that there isn’t such thing as free shipping. In fact, it has become a powerful marketing tool for leading marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Amazon Prime, a paid subscription model, offers shoppers free two-day delivery for the price of £7.99 a month. eBay’s ‘fast and free shipping’ delivers items within three working days for which sellers add the cost of the shipping to an item. Evidently, both marketplaces either charge sellers or buyers for the free shipping.
The way both marketplaces promote free shipping also indicates the change in customers’ behaviour, brought on as a result of new services and disruptors in the field. While businesses’ understanding of the term is quite different to shoppers’ perception, leveraging free delivery in the right way for your business can add product value and, make you appear more visible in search results. But, in your opinion should marketplaces cover the cost of free delivery for merchants as they’re strongly encouraged to offer this expensive option?