There is No Such Thing as Free Shipping

The expectation that free shipping is always available for online orders is real, consumers don’t care if you’re an established business or a start-up, not offering free shipping will cost your company orders.  Free shipping, a trend that’s forever changed consumer expectations, is here to stay. The big question is are you ready? How much does “free” shipping cost your company and how deeply is it eating into your annual profit margin?


Online buyers continue to grow at an incredible rate with a recent Fortune Magazine survey reporting 51% of shoppers now make their purchases online compared to only 47% in 2014. Consider for a moment holiday shopping now versus just five years ago, Black Friday online deals and Cyber Monday have virtually obliterated in-store sales for brick and mortar retailers. By 2019 digital shoppers are forecasted to reach 224 million and every single one of them wants free shipping.


While there are tons of shipping services out there, the truth is, unless you ship at a large box store level you’ll never find rates as low as an experienced parcel mail firm can offer. Shipping is not an equal opportunity business, those with the greatest volume get the best pricing, no exceptions, ever. Working with an experienced mailer grants access to volume discounts through their private shipper contracts and consolidation of multi-customer shipments into big company-like quantities. Besides saving money remember, that your job is to deliver WOW with every delivery. That means the order is accurate, well-packaged, and arrives by the date promised. Keep reading to learn the secrets of cost-effective and headache-free shipping.


Tips to Reduce the Cost of Free Shipping for Your E-Commerce Business


  1. Select an experienced parcel mail firm that offers the lowest cost, warehousing, and real-time delivery tracking. Specifically, the firm must have experience with all private carriers and USPS to guarantee optimum deliverability. The more sophisticated the firm the better for your financials. For example,  Three Dog developed a proprietary processing tool that compares rates for the specific delivery zip and box dimensions ensuring the most cost-effective shipper is selected for each order. In addition, they use a drop-ship model utilizing private carriers to get the package as close to the destination as possible, then using USPS local service to drop in to the final destination. Deep USPS discounts using the drop-ship model can reduce shipping rates by 50% or more, making “free” shipping easier on your wallet.
  2. Consult in advance with your mail firm to keep shipping cost low. Ask for packaging recommendations like size, weight, thickness, materials, and coating to reduce cost and guarantee your package won’t be rejected by USPS automation. A good mail firm should offer consulting expertise like this included with every project so call them in the design stage.
  3. Verify shipping lists have optimum deliverability. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked how often organizations assume their parcel was delivered all while scratching their head reviewing horrible customer reviews. Verify your mailing includes gratis NCOA/CASS certification of every list, virtually guaranteeing clean lists with 100% deliverability.
  4. Avoid management of warehousing components and processes if at all possible. Warehousing logistics can play a huge factor in the cost, delivery, and success of parcel mailings, not to mention a colossal waste of time for your company’s internal resources. Select a mailer with capacity for warehousing, package fulfillment, and finishing services. I promise you’ll save yourself an incredible amount of pain and hardship. When negotiating be sure to include fulfillment services in your contract so free shipping becomes a predictable fixed expense.
  5. Secure real-time tracking for every shipment. Parcel tracking is like a crystal ball, allowing verification that parcels have shipped and reached their destination on deadline, thereby fulfilling your promise to the buyer. In addition, tracking allows real-time staff planning for customer service/order-taking call centers. Again here the tighter you can project the actual dates support is needed, the less waste for the organization. Three Dog developed ObbaTrack to give their clients real-time visibility into every mailing. Available via the web, ObbaTrack allows clients to view every step of a parcels journey to its final destination.


Why not do some comparison shopping and see how much you can save in shipping expenses? Who knows, the next order that ships out from your company may feel just a little bit closer to “free.”


Ready to try Free Shipping that doesn’t take a chunk out of your bottom line? At Three Dog Logistics, our consultants will help develop a plan that delivers client solutions at the lowest cost and fastest delivery speed possible. Remember, we take the bite out of postage and freight. Visit or call 410-284-5494 extension 220 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.