• How to Effectively Offer Free Shipping

    10/17/2013 — Leah Palnik

    Hand on keyboardIf you've ever done any online shopping, you're probably familiar with those two little magical words — —free shipping!' As a consumer, it's great — who doesn't love free? But as a small business trying to find your place in the wide world of e-commerce, it can be a little intimidating. As free shipping becomes more common, many customers are now coming to expect it; creating a wide range of costs and benefits for retailers. However, many retailers have experienced benefits, including increases in sales and customer retention, that outweigh the costs.

    There are several ways you can offer free shipping to your customers without sacrificing profits. Here are some options to consider:

    • Provide free shipping at a minimum order price. Try providing free shipping at a minimum price point that's above your average order size. If you offer free shipping on orders over $50 for example, a customer who has $49.99 or less in their shopping cart is likely to purchase an additional item to reach that benchmark for the deal.
    • Offer free shipping on orders for a limited time. With the holidays fast approaching, customers are looking for the best deals. Providing a short window of time for free shipping could be just the right trigger for a sale.
    • Target your best customers. Instead of presenting the masses with free shipping, target a select group of customers you can email to increase lifetime value.
    • Create a flat shipping rate. Customers like knowing what costs to expect when shopping online. There's nothing worse than filling up your shopping cart, expecting to pay a certain price, and getting slammed with higher-than-expected shipping costs at checkout.
    • Use a one-time fee. Shipping clubs with an annual fee can be a great way to entice customers and drive customer loyalty. A good example of this is Amazon Prime. Customers pay an annual fee to shop on Amazon.com and receive unlimited free two-day shipping.
    • Offer free shipping on special products. You can offer free shipping on products with higher profit margins, on products where you have excess inventory, or any special item you're looking to promote.
    • Reduce your overall shipping costs. Work with your freight carriers or a 3PL (like PartnerShip) to ensure you are saving as much as possible on your shipping. Any additional savings you can garner will ensure you're overall profit margin is not negatively impacted by any free shipping promotions or offers.

    Once you've decided how you want to offer free shipping to your customers, it's important to promote it. Use email marketing to announce it to your customers and advertise it on your website so when your customers are shopping, they can't miss it. Also, be sure to be very transparent about how to receive free shipping if you're not offering it on everything outright. If the customer has to complete an action (i.e. order at least $50, sign up for a shipping club, etc.), make it clear in the beginning what that action is.

    Once you've implemented your free shipping strategy, make sure to measure it. Take a look at the costs including increased IT expenses, customer service issues, and your shipping expenses. If these costs outweigh the benefits (increased revenue and an increased customer lifetime value) you should re-evaluate. You may need to experiment with your tactics to find the one the works best for you.  

    Through a PartnerShip association shipping program, you can save on select FedEx® services for small package shipping and with LTL freight carriers for large shipments — savings that can be used to fund a free shipping offer to your customers. Want to learn how another business used free shipping to improve their bottom line? Click here to read a case study featuring a PartnerShip customer that used its PartnerShip savings to implement a free shipping strategy. To find out how PartnerShip can help you save on your shipping costs, click on button below for a free, no-obligation shipping analysis.


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  • The Power of Free Shipping (with PartnerShip Savings)

    10/15/2013 — Leah Palnik

    iStock 000023878409XSmallA current PartnerShip customer found a great way to use the savings they garner from one of our association shipping programs. In this case study, we explore how these savings helped them to implement an effective marketing tool.

    Business Overview

    With three locations and a large inventory available online, this business is one of the oldest and largest independent bookstores in Southern California. 

    Business Challenges

    This bookstore needs to continue to grow its customer base while keeping costs low. Continuing to grow the business involves keeping up with changes in the industry and creating a strong e-commerce presence — a challenge for many independent bookstores today.

    Not only do they need to grow their business, but in the online marketplace they need to be able to provide a competitive advantage over bookstore giants like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. With so many options at consumers' fingertips, these larger competitors are able to offer special deals along with the advantage of brand name recognition.

    PartnerShip Solutions

    Through an association shipping program managed by PartnerShip, association members including this Southern California bookstore, save on inbound and outbound shipments with select FedEx® services; savings that they can use to reinvest in their business or pass on to customers.

    In the past 12 months this business has saved over $42,000 through the program. With these savings, they're able to offer an enticing incentive to their customers — free shipping on orders of $50 or more. This incentive not only provides the customer with a positive buying experience, but it can also increase overall average order size. Customers whose initial orders are $49.99 or less are likely to add another item in return for free shipping, increasing margins on each order.

    Free shipping can be a successful marketing tool in today's online marketplace. Many consumers may use another retailer if shipping isn't free, and high shipping costs are a common reason for shopping cart abandonment. This business is now able to combat those potential issues with their free shipping incentive.

      Get a Free Shipping Analysis


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  • PartnerShip Supports National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    10/09/2013 — Scott Frederick

    Pink RibbonOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the employees of PartnerShip are once again supporting the cause by making voluntary donations in exchange for the now universally recognizable pink ribbon.

    The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.

    Although October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM is dedicated to raising awareness and educating individuals about breast cancer throughout the year. It encourages you to learn more about breast cancer, breast health, and the latest research developments. The few websites shown below are great sources for additional information on breast cancer.

    www.nbcam.org/

    www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month

    www.pinkribbon.org/

    www.cancer.org



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  • Happy Manufacturing Day from PartnerShip!

    10/04/2013 — Scott Frederick

    Manufacturing DayTo all of our manufacturing customers, including those that are members of groups we support such as NTMA, NATM, ICMAD, MAPP, PMPA, Wire-Net, and many others ... we'd like to wish you all a Happy Manufacturing Day! Without the products you manufacture, we'd have nothing to ship!

    Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, Manufacturing Day is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, Manufacturing Day empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

    To learn more, please visit www.mfgday.com where you'll find cool resources and videos like the one shown below from the folks at Manpower.

     


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  • 13 Shipping Tips for Small Businesses

    10/02/2013 — Scott Frederick

    Shipping ChecklistOver the past year, we've written and shared a number of articles that contain tips and suggestions for those of you that are new to shipping. Since many of our current and future customers are owners or managers for small businesses, we know that shipping is just one of many responsibilities that you juggle each and every day. If you're new to PartnerShip, here is a "baker's dozen" collection of articles that may help you get started:


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