Problem Solved: How to offer and promote free shipping on Shopify

November 8, 2017

Free Shipping iPad.jpg
Free shipping is one of the greatest marketing tools available to an online store.

In a survey by Walker Sands Communications, 90% of people said that having an order ship for free is the biggest incentive to add more to their cart.

Not only are you helping  your customers save money, but it's an awesome way to squeeze a little extra from every sale that goes through your store by encouraging visitors to add an extra product to their cart to reach that free shipping threshold.  

Nearly half of all online orders now include free shipping


How to offer free shipping

Using Shopify's platform and Bold's Sales Motivator app, you can easily set up and promote a free shipping offer on your Shopify store. 

The app works by promoting your offer when the customer loads the home page, updating in real time when they add products to their cart encouraging them to spend more to reach the free shipping goal! 

Check out how easy it is to set up in the video below.

Step 1: Plan

Shipping expenses are a fact of life for any online store, and it's important to plan for them in advance to make sure you're operating sustainably.

Need help? This article from KissMetrics is a great guide to the economics behind waiving shipping fees. You'll need to look at your current shipping and product costs to make a decision on what you should set the free threshold at (the amount that customers will have to spend to receive free shipping).

Here are some tips to plan your promotion:

  • Look at your current shipping costs; not just the prices you're charging, but the amount that is actually being charged to you by carriers. Getting an accurate picture of these costs and averaging them out across your orders gives you an idea of how much the offer is going to cost you. This is usually referred to as the "average shipping cost."
  • To get an idea of the average profit from orders on your store, look at your most commonly purchased products and figure out their individual margins (subtract the cost of that item from its selling price). Average order profit is an educated guessing game  at times (some orders may be lower profit, while others may be higher), but it allows you to look at how much of a "hit" you can take when absorbing shipping costs.
  • Find a price-point higher than your current average order value. Ultimately, the promotion should encourage customers to choose 1-2 more items to make it to the goal. You can find your average order value easily with our free Bold Brain app!
  • Look at the price of your most-purchased product. If this is often bought on its own (with no other add-on products), try setting the threshold just over that price.
  • Determine what countries can participate in the promotion. Evaluate the shipping costs to other countries and decide whether you'll be extend this offer worldwide, or if the threshold will need to be higher for other regions.

Step 2: Set up shipping zones

Shipping zones are set up through the Shopify admin, and determine where your store will ship to. Each zone can have a variety of price and weight rules assigned to it that will apply when a customer enters their shipping address.

Shipping zones can be configured for your store through the Shopify admin, under the "Settings" section.

Here's how it works:

  1. Make sure that a "base" rate is set up. This will be the rate that customers are charged if they haven't reached the free shipping threshold. For example, you might want customers with a shopping cart valued between $0.00 and $74.99 to be charged $5 for standard shipping.
  2. Once this has been added, create a new price-based rate for orders above and beyond your shipping threshold. Set the minimum for the threshold amount ($75.00 in our case) and leave the maximum blank. You'll want to give this rate a name that promotes the offer in the checkout, such as "Standard Shipping (FREE over $75.00)".
  3. Check off Free shipping rate to prevent customers from being charged any shipping fees on the order if it meets the criteria.

For more information on setting up shipping zones, check out this article from Shopify.

Step 3: Promote your offer using Bold's Sales Motivator app

Now that the shipping rates have been set up for your store, you'll want to make sure you're promoting your offer so your customers know about it. This can be set up easily with our Sales Motivator app for Shopify (you can even try it free for 30 days to see how much it can boost your sales!).

A short animation showing the Sales Motivator app in action

  1. Once you've downloaded the app, from the home screen choose 'Create New Goal'. If you're offering the shipping discount to multiple regions (at different price points), you'll need to set up a separate goal for each one.
  2. Enter in the goal amount that customers need to spend to have their shipping charges waived.
  3. Type in a pitch and marketing message to go along with your offer. Here are a few recommendations:
    • Spend $100 and receive FREE standard shipping on your order!
    • Shipping special: Add over $50 of items to your cart and your order ships for free (US only).
    • Weekend special: Orders over $100 get FREE standard shipping!

That's it! Save the offer and start it on your store. 

Problem solved!

Way to go! You just created an awesome offer on your store that will be promoted to every one of your customers, hopefully earning you a little more money on every sale that goes through your Shopify store.

Have a few extra minutes? You can go even further by customizing the Sales Motivator banner to match your online store's style!

Download our Sales Motivator app FREE for 30 days to try out a free shipping offer on your own store. Be sure to test different price thresholds to see what works best for your products and brand.

Check out Sales Motivator for FREE

Topics: App "How-to's"

Aubrey Kotelko

Written by Aubrey Kotelko

Aubrey is a marketing strategist at Bold Commerce. He drinks a gallon of milk every single day, which isn't really something to be proud of.

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