What is free shipping?
Free shipping is a marketing and sales tactic that is primarily geared toward consumers who shop online. By eliminating shipping costs on eligible items, online retailers incentivize customers to purchase those products. Similar tactics include offering free returns, coupons, and discount codes. Sometimes, customers who place an order online will qualify for free shipping if they meet a certain order minimum at checkout—this can help increase average order value. Other times, an online store may always offer free shipping, regardless of how much money a customer spends on their purchases—this can help improve the customer experience and increase brand loyalty.
Reduced shipping costs & the membership model
Free or reduced shipping is frequently offered as a benefit of access or membership subscriptions, where customers will pay for exclusive access to gated content, deals, and other benefits. For example, an Amazon Prime member will consistently receive free two-day shipping for select items on the site as one of their membership benefits. When these value-adding shipping and return policies are limited to members, brands can incentivize customers to sign up for a subscription, increasing customer lifetime value for their business.