Are free delivery services really a good find?

Anything with the word ‘free’ catches the eye. Free delivery services are very popular and rightly so, but they are also highly and fiercely competitive offerings. People are often spending lots of money with companies and online merchants and are aware that they could just go down to a local shop or high street and physically pick up these items without incurring an additional charge. There is a fine balance here between what the business offers and can deliver, against what the customer expects and how far they are willing to keep commercial engagement. Surprisingly, that is not often down to the product itself (or even the price of it) but the delivery method and the cost of it. In our latest blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages behind free shipping and whether this is really as good as it seems.


* It’s free! This one doesn’t require any elaboration!

* Research has shown that out of all discounts that online shops offer, free delivery is by far the most popular, with over 9 in 10 people saying they preferred this to any other discount, offer or deal. If you see a company offering free delivery, you will know it has a good idea and understanding of the needs and demands of consumers.

* If you are ordering multiple items where there is a wait on some, a lot of companies usually send out all the items in one go rather than sending out several packages, because free delivery services take a bit longer anyway. This can be cost effective for the business aswell as more convenient for the customer, also saving the environment on extra packaging and transportation costs.

* If you are a business, you may know that one of the leading causes of people failing to check out is delivery costs and extra charges which are added during the checkout process. Free delivery totally removes that hurdle, making it more likely you will get a sale, and more likely your customer will be happy with your business because they receive a stress-free shopping experience without any hidden costs.


* Free shipping is slower and, in some cases, much slower than other services. It is just common and accepted fact that free shipping services are not prioritised in the same way as other guaranteed or paid for equivalents. If you are looking for a same day courier service for example, this would automatically not be suitable.

* Free shipping can be more inconvenient for the receiver. Free shipping options hardly ever specify a precise arrival time (and maybe not even day if you are unlucky.) If you are busy, having to wait around for a parcel when you could have been notified of the arrival time, is not very productive or helpful.

* Along the lines of ‘there is no such thing as something free,’ free shipping services can push up the price of the goods and other items you have just paid for. If the shipping is free for you, there is still a cost associated to the business and this has to be accounted for and absorbed somewhere.

* Free shipping doesn’t necessarily mean free returns. Research from online shopping behaviours has shown that people are more willing to impulse buy when free delivery is offered, because they know they can return the item, so they perceive there to be nothing to lose. A company offers you free delivery because it expects you to keep the items and not return them. In this instance, you can soon find you are paying for the shipping on the return journey back to the merchant, thus cancelling out what was before considered a deal with a free shipping offer.

Do you have a commercial requirement or looking to send a vast amount of items? Have a look at our freight page for further details.

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