Strategies to Help You Win the E-Tailers’ Free-Shipping War
You can attract and retain online customers with creative shipping solutions.

As a small or midsize retail business owner, competing against larger companies can be challenging. When a major retailer makes an aggressive shipping-cost-related move like offering free shipping, you might wonder how your smaller company can compete against their economies of scale. The answer: You can compete and win the web’s free-shipping war by being creative and knowledgeable about options available to you.

Below is a brief summary of the white paper “Strategies to Help Retailers Win the Web’s Free-Shipping War,” which compiles the results of various consumer and retailer surveys about free or discounted shipping.

Offer more to get more
Both online consumers and e-tailers can benefit from free or discounted shipping. Free shipping can increase everything from order completion rates to order size, and decrease checkout abandonment. But is offering free shipping worth the cost? While you’ll have to answer that question based on your own small or midsize business, understanding these alternative shipping strategies will help you evaluate your options.

6 strategies to consider today
Here are some tactics you can try instead of offering free shipping on all orders all the time.

  • Flat rate. Consumers pay a one-price shipping fee for any size order.
  • Shipping club. Customers pay a one-time fee in order to receive free shipping or faster service.
  • Optional upgrades. Consumers can choose free basic shipping or upgrade to faster delivery service for a fee.
  • Free shipping for minimum purchase. Many e-tailers don’t charge for shipping once a consumer’s purchase reaches a specified dollar amount.
  • Free shipping on eligible products. No shipping fees are assessed on products that have higher profit margins, or on product lines that a retailer wants to promote.
  • Free shipping for a limited time. Most online retailers offer free shipping during the holiday season.

Be creative — 5 bonus tactics to try
If you can’t get the upper hand on your competition with shipping cost, beat them on speed. Or flexibility. The more options you give your customers, the better.

  • Make Saturday delivery a point of differentiation by offering FedEx Home Delivery®, FedEx SmartPost® and FedEx Express® services.
  • Wow customers with time-definite, day-definite or appointment delivery through FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Express services. Both are backed by a money-back guarantee.1
  • Promise faster order delivery. Because FedEx Home Delivery offers standard Saturday service, it can deliver two days faster than UPS Ground, which would deliver the same shipment on Monday.
  • Give your customers the option to hold at another location. Customers can request to reroute their delivery to their nearest FedEx Office location at no extra cost with Hold at FedEx Location service.
  • Make it clear that returns will be easy. For customers needing to return an unwanted item, FedEx offers several options and products.

Step up from e-commerce to we-commerce
Ready to learn more about your shipping options? Our Online Retail Solutions site gives you access to a wealth of online retail industry knowledge and best practices. Compare delivery and return solutions, create your optimized service bundle, and more.

Learn more
To read the full white paper, go to Online Retail Solutions on to download the PDF.

More from FedEx Updates
Find additional tips and tricks to improve your FedEx experience on FedEx Updates.

1For details on the FedEx Money-Back Guarantee see Our Services at

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