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How do you handle "Free Shipping"?

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  • How do you handle "Free Shipping"?

    So I do understand that customers are more likely to purchase from sites that offer free shipping, I know I do as a consumer, however I'm trying to figure out how we can do that and still stay in business--UPS doesn't offer anything for free! :)

    We currently do not offer free shipping, however, we also DO NOT charge a "restocking" fee for returned items--that allows a customer to order 2 items to compare and return either (or both) with no consequences. We are in the bridal industry, and most "special occasion" products offered by our competitors are not returnable at all, or are returned with restocking fees. We have been the exception for many years and it really helped to build our business, but I'm wondering if the tide has turned. If we were to offer free shipping, I can foresee us sending out dozens of items to the same customer to "try on"--with all but 1 being returned (if not all). Since we cannot absorb the shipping fees (not to mention the excess inventory), we have never offered free shipping except on clearance items (which cannot be returned).

    Question: Do customers prefer free shipping with the caveat of a "restocking fee" for returned items that would cover our shipping costs, or do you think our current policy is best? Would love to hear opinions :)

  • #2
    I offer free shipping on all orders. I don't charge a restocking fee for items that have just been tried on and are sellable as new, but I do deduct the original shipping cost from returns. I.e., if you don't keep the item, the original shipping from me to you is not free.

    I have never had anyone kick up a fuss about it -- I think it seems fair to customers, more so than a restocking fee, which I think customers see as "greedy" -- even though most have no clue about how much work it is to process returns and sell them again whether as new or used.


    • #3
      That's what I was considering doing also--basically a restocking fee specific to the shipping charge. Thanks! :)