Helping Your Small Biz Grow

Free Shipping or Delivery? So what…

Free Shipping or Delivery? So what…


Brad: Good morning. Today’s topic is going to be about free shipping. I want to ¬†ask you a question. What’s your new free shipping? The reason why I say that is, anybody who buys anything online right now, these days, always looks for something that has free shipping.

Even though it’s not really free, because the business will figure out a way to work the free shipping to the price, the perception by the consumer is, “I don’t want to pay for shipping. They’re offering free shipping.” Why that’s important is, back when it started, free shipping was a way for a company to stand out.

Amazon has done a great job at standing out on the whole shipping angle. Now, almost every company online has a way to induce you to do free shipping, and frequently it’s, “Spend $50 or $75 and you’ll get free shipping.”

If you’re an online retailer these days, if you don’t offer free shipping or something, in some fashion, you’re probably going to lose business just because people can go somewhere else and get the free shipping. That’s an important thing to look at.

Now, as you go on in your business, are you offering at a minimum, the new free shipping? By that, I mean if your competitors in a local business, for example, are offering something, then you need to offer that as well, if your product is not unique in any particular fashion.

If you’re a retail outlet, for example, and you’re selling shoes that you can buy in any store, the brand that you can buy in any store, then you really have to look at that and go, “All right, I’ve got to offer at least what these other people are offering, because I’m not offering anything special.”

What you have to do, then, is figure out, what is your niche going to be? How are you going to stand out? If you’re selling a commodity, or something that’s perceived as a commodity, what are you going to give away to get people to come to you?

You really have to look at your business and go, “Do people think of my business as a commodity?” Let’s say, for example, a bookstore. A bookstore is a bookstore, is a bookstore. They all have books. You can buy the book any way, or any place, or any way you wanted to, but they’re all basically bookstores.

If you’re in one of those businesses, and you haven’t found a way to stand out, then you need to, obviously, develop a way to stand out, and think of, “What’s the new version of free shipping?” What can you do to get people to come to you, to use your business and buy the product but they can buy anywhere else at your particular business?

Of course, what I would probably say, maybe you want to look at a business where you’re not going to become a commodity, and focus on that. That’s something that we want to take a look at. How do you do that? How do you go about finding a way to stand out and offer something that is free, or perceived to be free, that’s going to get people in there?

One way is, look at your own behavior. Look at what causes you to buy something, or try something. Many of us, when we go to restaurants, for example, the first time, we only try it because there’s some coupon or offer out there, with the exception of a recommendation.

A coupon helps reduce the risk. If we go to a restaurant we’ve never gone too, and we get one meal for free, then our risk is less. We’re more likely going to try that restaurant out for the first time. By doing that, you can get people in. Is there a way for your business to give people a chance to kick the tires, so to speak, and try it out, so that the risk can be shared in a way?

The more you can do that, the more you can put the risk on you, as a business, for example, the more likely a consumer is going to try something out. If they like what you do, and if you offer above and beyond quality service and such, then they’re more likely to come back to you.

It’s just something you want to take a look at, and think about that as you go along, as your goal is to stand out in some particular way that’s going to offer a benefit that may be copied eventually, but initially is going to give you a little bit of a competitive advantage to do it.

If you look at your industry, you’ve got to do what other people are doing, but then step back and go, “Well, what are people in my industry not doing? Let me try something different. Let me test it, and see if it works.” If you do that consistently, your competition is always going to be figuring out how to play catch-up with you, and that’s the goal. Make them catch up to you.

Banks, if you want any more marketing ideas, or actually put some pen to paper and implement them, give me a call at 321-613-8476, or send me an email at

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