9 Places That Are Killing It with Free Shipping & Why Yours Can Too

 In Ecommerce, Shipping

Who says that you can’t afford to offer free shipping and still rake in the dough from steady sales? Now if you are wondering if you should offer free shipping, we’ve got you covered and will show you why and how in this guide. Today’s focus is on spotlighting stores that are just killing it while still offering free shipping, with many also offering free returns, and why your store can, too.

According to Business Insider, shipping costs are the largest contributing factor to shopping cart abandonment rates period. With consumers abandoning nearly $4 trillion in goods annually, shipping costs are in the running for the most prominent reasons why the sale is not closed. Take a look at this chart below to get a better idea of the full picture.


The following nine stores, even though many are well-respected retailers, offer free shipping, speedy delivery and easy returns. Easily the three pillars of ecommerce growth. Use these examples to determine whether or not it makes sense to offer such amenities yourself.



This high-end, designer apparel retailer has dominated with online sales and their no-hassle, no-questions-asked free returns with free shipping. Nordstrom’s also offers personal shoppers, and honors a similar returns policy at their brick and mortar locations. They’ve assured that shopping, and the experience, is seamless between both their entities.



A unique selection of designer furnishings, seating, lighting and more that you really won’t find anywhere else is offered by Inmod. They also do not charge any sales tax and they usually can get your order delivered in about a week with no shipping cost to boot.



The only other high-end contender to Nordstrom’s, Barney’s also features free shipping and easy returns. They assure that their goods are delivered in about three business days to your front door. Like Nordstrom’s, they also offer personal shoppers and feature a long list of amenities designed to cater to the ultra-affluent.




Upscale men’s clothing is offered at this store, which prides itself on its free shipping and easy returns policy. Basically, try it before you buy it because it you don’t want it, all that you have to do is simply send it back.




Easily one of the most popular destinations for shoes online, Zappos set the bar high a long time ago with their easy returns policy and free shipping both ways. The retailer even has said they have a return rate of nearly 50%, but they are not losing any sleep over it because their most loyal shoppers make the most returns but keep giving them revenue.




An online apparel retailer, they promise that you will have your purchase in about three days. They also have excellent selection and offer free shipping both ways.


LL Bean

Proudly serving America for over 100 years, this clothing company has something for the whole family. And you won’t have to worry about paying shipping or return fees because they never will charge you to ship the clothing that they sell online.



Whether you need luggage, a tote, handbags, men’s accessories or more, Shoebuy has you covered. What’s more, don’t worry about shipping and handling fees because there are not and never will be any.


Should You Offer Free Shipping?

If you have ever wondered what relationship shipping prices and your customers share, it’s one lengthy algorithm that can ultimately determine how well your sales department fares with your ecommerce store. We’ll offer some candid small business shipping tips to help you create a winning game plan.

In the most recent study, which was conducted by comScore and UPS (UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper), the numbers that were revealed by this study tell the convincing story.

What Shoppers Think

By and far, one of the most important small business shipping tips that can be offered centers upon the aspect of securing a customer at the time of checkout. According to the report, this is the offered shipping price. These will dictate how your shoppers feel and how they behave on your website.

Queried customers in the report were asked what the top factors were in them making a purchase or not, and unsurprisingly the answer was shipping.

  • 68% stated that free shipping would cause them to recommend the store to another person.
  • 59% stated that if the shipping costs were high, in comparison to the perceived value of the product being sold, they would give a negative recommendation.

The study also noted that shipping costs did not only influence positive or negative emotions, but that they also were the leading factor in shopping cart abandonment rates, too.

Cart Abandonment & Shipping Cost

Interestingly enough, the same report also found that, as of the past year, over 87% of all shoppers claimed to have abandoned a shopping cart, an increase of over 6% from the previous year’s report. Of the top reasons why, 54% of respondents stated that shipping prices were the primary factor. Among the most integral of processes during the checkout sequence, 76% said that free shipping being offered was the most important part of them deciding whether or not to abandon the shopping cart.

Statistics About Shipping Prices

There are some other important metrics that you should also consider when determining what the best shipping prices and policies are to put into place at your online store. The very same study offers a wealth of insight that all ecommerce shopkeeper ought to pay heed to. While your customers crave free shipping, there are some other factors that may surprise you about their behavior as well, according to the study.

  • While fast shipping is desirable, 60% of the customers polled said they were OK with waiting as many as six business days to receive their items, and the average time was about seven days overall.
  • Over 43% of the shoppers polled said that delivery time was an important factor and that the average delivery times they’ve experienced were about eight business days (53%).
  • Your most common shopper, about 78%, will select the standard economy shipping option, usually a 10 days by ground delivery option (so if you offer flat rate shipping prices that are tied to your discount electronic postage provider, you can appease a large demographic of your shoppers).
  • Interestingly, about 67% of your shoppers also want to be offered an expedited shipping option, such as three days by ground, for an added but reasonable price; but only about 16% of them will exercise their option to use this.
  • Lastly, of all the shoppers polled in the study, 65% expected Zappos-styled returns management, with no questions or hassles, and free return shipping.

The Bottom Line

The ecommerce industry will set another sales benchmark this year, topping $2 trillion. The three days that spanned Black Friday through Cyber Monday last year (2014) set a record, too, with online sales exceeding $2.1 billion. This year, they could very well exceed $4 billion in a single day.

A popular method of attracting sales at your online store is by offering free shipping. Recent studies have shown that over 70% of online shoppers want free shipping, and the vast majority want cheap shipping. But does it really make sense for your bottom line to offer free shipping?

Certainly, your prospective and existing customers will be thrilled at an offer of free shipping. But how does this compare to your profit ratio, and is offering free shipping even a feasible prospect?

Take a look at this infographic. It offers an inside look at the actual numbers, and is based upon recent studies, surveys and white papers that were generated by respected think tanks and industry experts.