More and more online businesses are responding to the pressure to offer free shipping. In 2011, more than half of online purchases made during the holiday season shipped for free. If you’ve decided to offer this for your customers, there are five things you should avoid doing:

1) Assume free shipping is your best promotion. While customers value free shipping, many people would prefer to receive discounts.

2) Offering free shipping on every product all year. Start by offering free shipping on orders above a certain price, and/or during a limited time frame, which might incentivize customers to make purchases quickly.

3) Make the minimum price too high. Figure out your average order size, then make the threshold for free shipping eligibility about 10-15% higher than that.

4) Rely on “free shipping” as your primary sales tool. Don’t let messaging about free shipping take precedence over important information about your brand and products.

5) Fail to remind customers that they’re saving money. Let customers see how much money they would have been charged for shipping, which makes them feel like they’re making a smart, money-saving decision by buying from you.

Article adapted from CNBC. 

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