March 15, 2023
Reading time: 18 minutes

How to Offer Free Shipping On Shopify and Sell Like Crazy

Seeing “Free Shipping” on an online store feels like getting an unexpected gift. For business owners, it’s a powerful tool. Offering free shipping can attract more customers and boost sales. But how do you do it without breaking the bank? Especially on a platform like Shopify?

This article will guide you. We’ll explore the ins and outs of free shipping on Shopify. You’ll learn how to set it up, make it work for you, and drive those sales. Plus, we’ll touch on the balance between offering this perk and keeping profits healthy.

Ready to supercharge your Shopify sales? Let’s dive in!

Why Offer Free Shipping on Shopify?

Below are the ways free shipping will help your Shopify store grow!

Benefits of free shipping shopify

Reduce Cart Abandonment

Online shopping has its perks: ease, variety, and convenience. But there’s also a hitch that sellers often grapple with – cart abandonment. Imagine a customer loving a product, adding it to the cart, and then vanishing just before purchase. The reason? Unexpected shipping costs.

For many online shoppers, high shipping fees are a deal-breaker. Shoppers might think, “Why pay for shipping when another store might offer it for free?” This mindset leads to cart abandonment.

A recent Moonsend infographic cited high shipping fees as the reason for 60% of cart abandonment. That’s 27% more than the next biggest reason, forced registration, and 32% more than a long checkout process.

Reasons for cart abandonment

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, offers an array of tools for sellers. Among these, the ability to offer free shipping is pivotal. By including shipping in the product’s initial cost or absorbing it as a business cost, sellers can present a more transparent price. Customers appreciate this clarity. When they add an item to their cart, they know there won’t be hidden fees lurking at checkout.

In essence, free shipping eliminates one of the primary hurdles in the online buying process. No added calculations, no second thoughts. It streamlines the journey from liking a product to buying it. When customers are assured of no added shipping charges, they’re more likely to hit ‘Buy Now’ rather than abandon the cart.

Build Customer Trust and Loyalty 

Trust is the cornerstone of any lasting relationship, including the one between sellers and buyers. In the competitive realm of e-commerce, where interactions lack the personal touch of brick-and-mortar stores, building this trust becomes even more crucial. Free shipping emerges as a potent tool in this endeavor.

According to Oberlo, free shipping is considered the number one reason people buy online. When you realize that the number two reason is discounts, you start to see a pattern. Online shoppers want you to give them free stuff!

When a Shopify store offers free shipping, it’s making a statement. It says, “We prioritize your shopping experience.” It tells customers that the store values their business enough to shoulder some of the costs. 

Moreover, no one likes hidden costs. When shoppers see a price tag, they mentally commit to it. Adding unexpected fees at checkout, like shipping charges, can feel like a bait-and-switch tactic. By eliminating this uncertainty, businesses show transparency and honesty, key ingredients in building trust.

Over time, this trust translates into loyalty. Customers are more likely to return to a store that offers a straightforward, positive experience. And as any seasoned businessperson knows, retaining customers is both more economical and beneficial than constantly seeking new ones.

Undercut Competition

In the bustling marketplace of e-commerce, where countless stores vie for a customer’s attention, differentiation is key. Every store offers products; what sets one apart? Enter free shipping—a strategic move to stand out and undercut competitors.

E-commerce shoppers are savvy. They don’t just compare product prices, but total costs. This includes any shipping fees. Two products might be priced the same across different Shopify stores, but if one store charges for shipping and the other doesn’t, the choice for the consumer becomes clear.

Free shipping can be the edge that nudges a potential customer to choose one store over another. It’s a tangible value addition, a direct saving that customers can quantify. It gives a store a competitive advantage, making it more attractive than rivals that tack on additional fees at checkout.

By absorbing shipping costs, you can attract a larger slice of the customer pie, effectively undercutting the competition and enhancing your market position.

Increase Average Order Value

Every retailer seeks ways to increase sales without necessarily increasing the number of transactions. One effective strategy? Elevating the average order value (AOV). And believe it or not, offering free shipping on Shopify can play a critical role in achieving this.

How does it work? Well, free shipping isn’t always unconditional. Many sellers employ a tactic of setting a minimum purchase threshold to qualify.

For instance, “Enjoy free shipping on orders over $50.” Suddenly, a customer planning to spend $40 might consider adding an extra item to their cart to reach that threshold. The allure of saving on shipping nudges customers to spend just a little more.

This strategy cleverly capitalizes on the perceived value of free shipping. Customers often see it as a chance to get more for their money. Instead of paying for shipping, they’d rather put that money towards another product. It’s a win-win: they get more items, and the store sees an increased AOV.

It’s not about pressuring the customer but about offering them added value. And as customers seek to maximize that value, businesses benefit from larger, more profitable orders. The result? Enhanced revenues with the added benefit of customer satisfaction.

Ways to Do Free Shipping On Shopify

Shopify offers you the flexibility to implement various strategies. If you’re contemplating offering free shipping, this section will reveal how you can integrate it into your store, catering to different needs and preferences.

We’ve included several case studies to assist in your journey to learn how to add free shipping on Shopify in a way that suits your business.

1. Based On Minimum Order Value

Set a purchase threshold, and if customers meet or exceed this amount, they receive Shopify automatic free shipping.

Why it Works: This method is brilliant in its simplicity. If you set a free shipping threshold at $50, and a customer has a cart value of $40, they’re more likely to add another product to avoid shipping costs. It encourages customers to buy more, organically increasing your average order value.

Implementation Tips: Ensure the threshold is realistic. It should be slightly above your current average order value to motivate extra purchases without deterring sales.

Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s ecommerce store, offers free shipping for US orders because it’s economical for the company. However, they also undercut international competitors and third-party retailers by offering free international shipping on orders of $75 and over. Such a high price makes this strategy worth it for the company.

free shipping example based on minimum order value

2. Coupons or Promo Codes

Offer free shipping through special codes customers can apply at checkout.

Why it Works: People love feeling like they’ve unlocked a special deal. Sharing exclusive codes can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Implementation Tips: Promote these codes via email campaigns, social media, or even by partnering with influencers. Track the usage to see which promotion methods are most effective.

In the screenshot below, we see Shutterfly offer a special free shipping discount code. They also include an expiration date to add a touch of urgency and boost sales.

Free shipping example coupons and promo code

3. During Store Events and Sales

Offer free shipping as part of special sales, like Black Friday, holiday sales, or even your store’s anniversary.

Why it Works: Combining discounted products with free shipping can make your deals irresistible. It adds an extra layer of incentive for customers sitting on the fence about a purchase.

Implementation Tips: Advertise the free shipping deal well in advance to build anticipation. Use eye-catching banners on your site and employ email marketing to spread the word.

The Free People fashion store offers various domestic free shipping deals for a limited time only. It works fine as part of a sale event with no minimum threshold.

Free shipping example sale and event

4. Customer Loyalty Program

Integrate free shipping rewards into a customer loyalty or points system.

Why it Works: It’s a double win. Customers feel valued and appreciated, leading to repeat purchases, while your store enjoys increased patronage and loyalty.

Implementation Tips: Ensure the loyalty program is easy to understand. Offer free shipping as a reward after a certain number of purchases, points, or referrals. Highlight this benefit prominently to entice customers to join.

Columbia Sportswear has a program called Greater Rewards that allows valid members to enjoy free shipping on all their orders.

Free shipping example loyalty program

5. Special Products

Offer free shipping on specific items in your store, be they new arrivals, slow-moving stock, or premium products.

Why it Works: It can draw attention to particular products, serving as a marketing strategy. Customers might come for the promoted product but end up buying more.

Implementation Tips: Rotate the products that come with free shipping offers. This way, different products get spotlighted, and customers are encouraged to check in frequently for new deals.

Not all of Wayfair’s products will get you free shipping. But as you can see from the screenshot below. Certain specific products (2 of the 3 in view) have that perk.

Free shipping example special products

6. Product Combos

Bundle related products together and offer free shipping when customers buy them as a combo.

Why it Works: Customers often perceive bundles as offering better value. Adding free shipping amplifies this perception. It also simplifies decision-making – instead of choosing one product, they get a set that serves a particular need or interest.

Implementation Tips: Ensure the bundled products make sense together. For instance, a camera could be paired with a case and a memory card. Highlight the savings a customer would get from buying the combo instead of each product separately.

The Next store only gives free shipping if you place a second order within a specific period after the first. Their strategy not only creates good urgency, but it also helps with sales.

Free shipping example product combos

7. Based On Minimum Order Weight

Rather than basing free shipping on the monetary value of a cart, offer it based on the total weight of the products being purchased.

Why it Works: For certain businesses, particularly those selling bulk items or lightweight products, this method is more economical. It can encourage customers to buy in bulk or add additional lightweight items to their cart.

Implementation Tips:

  • Set a weight threshold that aligns with shipping cost tiers. If shipping prices jump significantly after a certain weight, set your free shipping threshold just below this.
  • Clearly communicate the weight criteria to customers. Display the weight of items on product pages and offer a cart weight total to avoid confusion.
  • Pair this with promotions on bulk or combo purchases, emphasizing the weight-saving benefits.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Offering Free Shipping On Shopify

Promising free shipping to customers on your Shopify store is not a decision to be taken lightly. Before you dive in, it’s crucial to ask the following questions:

1. Is Shopify Free Shipping Worth It?

This is the fundamental question. While free shipping can indeed attract more customers, it’s essential to determine if the increased sales volume will offset the shipping costs. Analyze your competitors. Are they offering free shipping? If so, is it giving them a noticeable edge? Survey your customers or study market research. Is free shipping a major deciding factor for your target audience? By understanding the potential benefits, you can make a more informed decision.

2. Does Shopify Have Features to Support Your Strategy?

Shopify is a versatile platform, but it’s vital to ensure it has the right tools to implement your desired free shipping strategy. Whether you want to offer free shipping based on order value, weight, location, or other criteria, check if Shopify supports these configurations natively or if you’ll need third-party apps. Familiarize yourself with the platform’s capabilities to ensure a seamless integration.

3. How Much Do the Shipment Carriers Charge?

Before offering free shipping, get a clear picture of what your shipment carriers charge. Rates can vary based on package size, weight, destination, and delivery speed. Engage in discussions with various carriers, negotiate if possible, and compare their rates. Understanding these costs is essential to determining if free shipping is viable or if adjustments, like minimum order values or weight-based thresholds, are needed.

4. Are there Any Additional or Hidden Fees?

On the surface, shipping costs might seem straightforward, but there could be hidden fees. These might include fuel surcharges, residential delivery fees, or rural area charges. It’s crucial to be aware of all potential fees to avoid unexpected hits to your profit margins. Always read the fine print and clarify any uncertainties with your chosen carriers.

5. How Will Free Shipping Affect Your Profits?

This is perhaps the most crucial question to ask before you learn how to make shipping free on Shopify. While free shipping can boost sales, it’s vital to ensure it doesn’t severely impact your profits. Calculate the potential increase in sales volume against the added shipping costs. Consider adjusting product prices slightly to offset the shipping fees or using a hybrid model like free shipping for orders above a certain threshold. Always monitor and evaluate the strategy’s impact, being ready to adapt as necessary.

How to Set Up Free Shipping on Shopify

Below are step-by-step guides to set up free shipping for the different methods available to you in Shopify (as discussed earlier in this post). 

1. Based On Minimum Order Value

1. Log In to Your Shopify Account

Start by logging into your Shopify admin page. This is where all the magic happens!

2. Navigate to the Shipping Settings

In your Shopify dashboard, go to the Settings option, usually located at the bottom left.

From there, click on Shipping and delivery.

3. Edit Your Shipping Zone

  • Under the “Shipping” section, you’ll find a list of your shipping zones. Choose the zone where you want to offer free shipping based on a minimum order value.
  • Click on the zone’s name to edit.

4. Add or Edit a Shipping Rate

  • If you already have a rate for this zone, click on Edit next to its name.
  • If you’re adding a new rate, click Add rate.

5. Configure Free Shipping

  • In the pop-up window, enter a name for the rate. Something like “Free Shipping” will do.
  • Make sure the “Free shipping rate” option is selected.

6. Set the Minimum Order Value

  • Click on Add conditions.
  • Select the field named “Based on order price“.
  • Set the minimum and maximum order values for this rate. For free shipping above a specific amount, set your minimum to that amount and leave the maximum field blank.
setting free shipping shopify minimum order price

For instance, if you’re offering free shipping for orders over $50, input “50” in the minimum value field.

7. Save and Test

  • Once you’ve set everything up, click Done and then Save.
  • It’s a good idea to test the process. Add products to your cart and check if the free shipping option appears when the set minimum value is reached.

2. Coupons or Promo Codes

1. Log In to Your Dashboard

First things first, sign in to your Shopify admin account to access your dashboard.

2. Dive into the Discounts Section

  • On the left-hand side of your dashboard, locate and click on Discounts.
  • Then, click on the Create discount button.

3. Choose the Discount Type

  • From the options presented, select Discount code.
  • You’ll be prompted to name your code. Pick something memorable and related to the promotion, like “FREESHIP” or “SHIPONUS”.

4. Define the Discount

  • Under Types of discounts, click on Free shipping.
  • This will allow you to set up conditions for the promotion. Do you want the promo to apply to all countries or only specific ones? Make the choice that suits your business.
setting free shipping shopify discount code

5. Set Minimum Requirements (Optional)

  • If you want the free shipping code to apply only when a customer orders above a certain amount, choose Minimum purchase amount and specify the amount.
  • If not, simply skip this step.

6. Determine Code Usage Limits (Optional)

This is an especially useful step if you want to limit the promotion:

  • For a one-time special promotion, select Limit the number of times this discount can be used in total and specify a number.
  • If you want to limit the code to one use per customer, select Limit to one use per customer.

7. Set the Active Dates

Decide when you want the promo code to start and, if you wish, when it should end. This is great for limited-time offers, like a weekend sale.

8. Save and Share!

  • Once you’ve filled out all the details, click Save.
  • Announce your promo code through your marketing channels, like email newsletters, social media, or on your website, so customers can start benefiting.

3. During Store Events and Sales

1. Sign In to Your Account

Begin by logging into your Shopify admin page to get things rolling.

2. Go to the Shipping Settings

  • From your dashboard, head over to the Settings option (usually found at the bottom left).
  • Then, select Shipping and delivery.

3. Choose Your Shipping Zone

Under the “Shipping” header, you’ll see your shipping zones listed. Decide which zone(s) you want this special free shipping offer to apply to and click on its name.

4. Add a New Shipping Rate

  • Inside the zone settings, opt for Add rate.
  • Name the rate something related to the event, like “Summer Sale Free Shipping”.

5. Select Free Shipping

Make sure the “Free shipping rate” option is selected.

6. Set Date Conditions with Shopify Scripts (Advanced)

Shopify Plus members can use Shopify Scripts to run promotions during specific time frames:

  • Navigate to the Apps section in your Shopify dashboard.
  • Launch the Script Editor app. (If you haven’t added it yet, you’ll need to do so.)
  • Create a new shipping script, adding logic that makes shipping free during your store event or sale dates. You can learn more about how to do this in this user guide.

Please Note: Support for Shopify Scripts will be discontinued by August 13, 2024. However, Shopify Functions will be available to replace it. 

7. Manually Enable/Disable for Other Shopify Plans

If you don’t have Shopify Plus, you’ll need to manually activate the free shipping rate at the start of your event or sale, and deactivate it when the event ends. This is crucial to remember, so perhaps set reminders for yourself!

8. Test It Out

Once you’ve set the rate, head over to your store and pretend you’re a customer. Add items to your cart and check out. Ensure that the free shipping option is available.

4. Customer Loyalty Program

1. Sign In to Your Shopify Admin

Start by logging into your Shopify dashboard.

2. Integrate a Loyalty Program App

Shopify doesn’t have a built-in loyalty program, so you’ll need an app. Some popular options include Smile: Rewards & Loyalty, LoyaltyLion, and Yotpo. Install your chosen app from the Shopify App Store.

shopify loyalty program apps

3. Configure Loyalty Rewards

Once the app is added:

  • Dive into its settings or dashboard.
  • Look for options to add rewards or incentives.
  • Add ‘Free Shipping’ as a reward that customers can redeem using the loyalty points they’ve earned.

4. Specify Reward Conditions

Decide how you want to structure the reward:

  • Will it be available for all loyal customers or only those who have reached a certain tier or number of points?
  • Can the free shipping reward be used with other promotions or only on its own?

5. Set Up Free Shipping in Shopify

Back in Shopify:

  • Go to Settings > Shipping and delivery.
  • Add or modify a shipping rate and name it something related to your loyalty program, like “Loyalty Member Free Shipping”.

6. Link Your Loyalty Program to Shopify’s Shipping

Depending on the loyalty app, you may be able to directly link the free shipping reward to Shopify’s shipping settings. Check the app’s documentation or support for guidance.

5. Special Products

1. Sign In to Your Shopify Dashboard

Access your Shopify admin page to start the setup.

2. Navigate to Products

  • On your dashboard sidebar, click on Products.
  • Choose the products you want to offer with free shipping.

3. Create a Custom Shipping Profile for These Products

  • On the Products page, select More actions and then Create shipping profile.
  • Name the profile to reflect its purpose, like “Free Shipping Special Products”.

4. Assign Products to the Profile

  • Under the Products section in the new profile, click Add products.
  • Search for and select the special products you want to include.
setting free shipping shopify special products

5. Set Up Free Shipping for the Profile

  • Under the Shipping section, click Create shipping zone.
  • Define your shipping zones and then click Add rate.
  • Name the rate something clear, like “Free Shipping”, and set its cost to $0.

6. Save Your Changes

Make sure to save the profile and the associated shipping rate to ensure they’re active.

6. Product Combos

1. Log Into Your Shopify Dashboard

Start by accessing your Shopify store’s backend.

2. Create the Product Combos or Bundles

Firstly, you’ll need to create these bundles either as a single product listing or use a third-party app, like “Bundable” or “Bold Bundles”, to group separate products together as a combo.

3. Use Product Tags for Your Combos

Assign a unique tag, such as “FreeShippingCombo,” to each product combo you want to provide with free shipping. This tag will be essential for distinguishing these products.

4. Set Up Custom Shipping Profiles

  • Navigate to Settings > Shipping and delivery.
  • Click Create new profile and name it, for example, “Product Combo Free Shipping.”
  • Under Products, click Add products and select all the product combos you’ve tagged.

5. Define the Shipping Rates for the Profile

  • In your custom shipping profile, go to Shipping and click Add rate.
  • Name this rate “Free Shipping for Combos” and set its price to $0.

6. Utilize Third-Party Apps (If Needed)

If you wish for more refined control, apps like “Advanced Shipping Rules” or “Better Shipping” can give you more flexibility. With them, you can define free shipping rules based on the unique product tags you’ve created.

7. Based On Minimum Order Weight

1. Begin in Your Shopify Admin

Start by navigating to Settings. From there, select Shipping and delivery.

2. Locate the Desired Shipping Profile

You’ll see a list of your shipping profiles. Find the one where you want to apply the weight-based free shipping rule and click on Manage next to it.

3. Add a New Shipping Rate

  • Within the desired profile, click Add rate.
  • A window will pop up. Here, enter a name for this new rate. This name will be visible to customers, so consider something clear like “Free Shipping Over X kg.”
  • Ensure the Price field is set to 0, making it free for the customer.

4. Define the Conditions

  • Click Add conditions within the same window.
  • Select the option Based on item weight.
  • Now, specify the minimum weight for orders to qualify for this free shipping rate. For instance, if you want to offer free shipping for orders over 3kg, input ‘3’ in the weight field.
setting free shipping shopify minimum item weight
IMG-13 – 1

5. Finalize Your Changes

Once you’re satisfied with the settings, click Done to close the conditions window. Back on the main page, hit Save to activate the newly defined weight-based free shipping rate.

Tips and Best Practices for Free Shipping Shopify

1. Limit Shopify Free Shipping Zones

While the idea of offering free shipping worldwide sounds appealing, it’s not always feasible. Different regions have varying shipping costs. To strike a balance:

Focus on Profitable Areas: Begin with zones where you have the most sales or the lowest shipping costs. This ensures a good return on your shipping investment.

Exclude High-Cost Regions: For areas where shipping fees are exorbitant, consider excluding them from the free shipping offer or set higher qualifying conditions.

2. Provide Additional Express Shipping Options

Not every customer will want to wait for the standard shipping times, even if it’s free. Some are willing to pay extra for faster delivery.

Give customers the option to choose express or overnight shipping for an added fee. This satisfies those in a hurry and can also be an additional revenue source.

Check out Wayfair’s shipping options. They understand the value of giving customers helpful choices.

additional shipping options example

3. Inform Your Customers

Transparency is key. Ensure customers are well-informed about your free shipping offers:

Highlight on Homepage: Use banners or pop-ups to make the free shipping offer prominent.

Clear Product Page Messaging: Mention shipping details on product pages so customers know what to expect before reaching the checkout.

4. Test and Experiment

Your first free shipping offer might not be the most optimized. It’s okay to do A/B testing, where you try different offers, like varying the minimum order value or weight, and see which one resonates more with your audience.

You can also try out seasonal experiments. During holiday seasons or sales, adjust the free shipping criteria and gauge its effectiveness.

5. Monitor Changes and Results

Every tweak or new strategy should be monitored:

  • Check Sales Numbers: A spike in sales after introducing free shipping can indicate success, but it does not always correlate with profits.
  • Survey Customers: Gather feedback to understand if the free shipping offer influenced their purchase decision.
  • Adjust Based on Data: If the costs start outweighing the benefits, don’t hesitate to adjust or rethink your free shipping strategy.

6. Ease Their Minds with Shipment Tracking

Many people who get free shipping are skeptical. They don’t want to lose their orders if they suspect your carrier is too cheap. Couple that with the boost in orders your new strategy might bring and you may get a lot of calls and emails asking the same question: “Where is My Order?”

Integrate TrackMage with your Shopify store to send automatic updates to customers about their order status. You can also create branded tracking pages to help customers monitor their shipments themselves. These pages also come with a product recommendation feature for better upselling.

fully branded tracking pages by Trackmage

Bottom Line

Free shipping on Shopify can be a risky strategy. But if you can get your strategy right, it could skyrocket your store well above the competition. We put a lot of time and dedication into creating the above post. Use it to your advantage by:

1: Figuring out what free shipping can do for your Shopify store.

2: Deciding on the best way to offer free shipping to your target audience.

3: Asking yourself the right questions about how the new strategy will affect your business.

4: Setting up free shipping for your method of choice.

5: Following best practices for such offers.

Even with free shipping, your customers still need to know the status of their orders. Don’t waste time answering WISMO questions. Let TrackMage do all the work for you. Sign up for a free trial now, and watch the magic happen!

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