As more and more small businesses introduce online commerce with their brick and mortar operations, shipping is playing an important role.

And the question becomes, can your small business keep up with faster shipping demands?

When you are competing with the likes of Amazon, it’s hard to deliver on customer expectations around shipping.

Deliveries must move fast in today’s age of online shopping. 

No matter what percentage of your business is made up of online commerce, you have to prioritize faster delivery. Because if your customers can count on you and you meet their demands, you will retain them longer.

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Here are some suggestions on how your small businesses can improve your shipping methods.

#1: Set Minimum Thresholds

Many retail experts feel this is a much more realistic goal than offering free shipping on everything. Having a minimum order value for free shipping is an excellent way for small businesses to encourage larger orders. 

#2: Establish Loyalty Programs

Small businesses can charge customers a small annual fee to become members. Offering free shipping can be one of the perks for joining. Having the benefit of a loyalty program can offset the costs of free shipping.

Small business packages being delivered#3: Pick Certain Times of the Year

Offering free shipping periodically at specific times of the year is another option. For example, consumer demand for free shipping is at a peak during the holidays.

Depending on your product line, specific holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day can be advantageous times to offer free shipping. 

#4: Limit Free Shipping to Ship-to-store

The new innovation in free shipping is called ship to store. Entrepreneurs ship the products to a brick-and-mortar location in the hopes consumers will make additional purchases when they arrive to pick up their online orders.

#5: Add “Free” Shipping To The Product Cost

This isn’t really free shipping but lots of small businesses embed the cost of delivering orders into the product price. While this can generate more sales, you need to tread carefully.

There are many price comparison engines out there now that you can plug the same product in and get all the different price points. So if yours is much higher, customers may not select you.

Regardless of the method you choose for your small business, there doesn’t seem to be any way around offering some kind of free shipping. It’s an important aspect of competing online and a trend that’s accelerating by popular demand.


Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, the fun, smart services for businesses looking to level up. How is your small business keeping up with 2-day shipping demands? Let Emily know by emailing her at

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