Free items pay for shipping thoughts

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New Member
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Good afternoon, 

After a few rather unsuccessfull shopify ventures I thought of breaking into the free item and shipping, at least to try it out. I know what you want to say, that ship has sailed. However, the market I want to penetrate is yet to see this type of model from my market research and thus I am willing to spend a few thusand dollars to see if it will work (you gotta try to know right?)

So I'd like some insight in a few questions that I've been pondering about from others doing similiar models.

1. Do you restrict customers to only buy 1-2 Products. I know that you essentially could jack up the shipping costs depending on items placed, however I think that might alienate some if not the majority of the customers by doing this. (?)

2. The problem is to actually have people dare testing it and not simply label it a scam. Is it better to be transparent saying that "we get some profits from postage and handling" or explaining the model in an FAQ?

3. Pricing, should shipping essentially be the same all over the board or are custoemrs alright with paying a higher shipping costs for higher valued items? Say total shipping and handling  for $10 for items valued $1-5 and  total shipping and handling  for $13 for items valued $6-9.

 

Any insights, thoughts and such are greatly appriciated. Thank you

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Explorer
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Hi Jakob! This is a really great question. To be completely honest, I had my first exposure to "shipping only" pricing just a few months ago with a client. Spoiler alert: it wasn't highly effective. 

The first thing I did was I went through your site. I wanted to take in the styling, layout, pictures, and products. I have to tell you. You built a great site. You check nearly every box. You've got a generous refund policy. You've got realistic expectations. You offer consistent products focused to a very specific niche. The only thing I took issue with was the email contact address not matching the stated company name. I also would love to see a return address, so I can better understand where you are geographically (surprisingly important to many buyers). Y'all should be doing gangbusters, or at least generating sales. 

 

With that out of the way, I don't like the "only pay shipping" model, and since I saw it the first time, I've seen it struggle several times afterwards. Here are my thoughts as to why: 

  1. Perceived Value: I hate to say this. I really do. But when I know something is free, it instantly diminshes my perception of its value. If you're offering something good... why is it free? 
  2. Shipping Rate Resistance: Did you know that the number one reason for cart abandonment is shipping rates? True story. Not product price. Shipping rates. So, if you're going to offer something free... why not make it shipping? In fact, For every story I have of "only pay shipping" not working out, I have five stories about "free shipping" actually working out!
  3. Duplicity: There's nothing wrong with making a buck. Customers come to your site hoping to buy knowing full well that their purchases are going to help your business grow. That's fine. But customers do have a problem with feeling misdirected. If you say you get profits from postage and handling (but only for that product), what's going to make them think that you aren't jacking up shipping rates on other items? And your earlier statement about alienating your customers absolutely rings true. 

 

In short, I think you've got a great looking site here. And far be it from me to say "absolutely never do this!" But I will say I think you'd be hard pressed to justify rolling out an "only pay shipping" stance, and I think you'd do much better by conservatively pricing your product and offering free-shipping instead. I hope this helps!

 

Good luck out there!

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New Member
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Thank you Augie for your input and also kind words for the website. However, undefeated is just one of the sites I manage and the one I have in mind is completly new and not listed here. That will indeed be a pure free product site pay for shipping and is mearly to test the demand in Sweden where this type of business model is yet to enter. 

I am not to sure what i think about the free product model either, as I value long term steady growth where you build up your brand slowly. However it feels like a model I need to explore! 


I value your email adress tip and adress and will make neccessary changes across the board. 

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I know I'm a little late here, but I wanted to see if you every launched this and how it turned out?. 

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