How to Offer Free Shipping and Still Make Money

Welcome, fellow furniture flippers! Let’s dive into one of the hottest questions in the furniture flipping for profit business – how to offer free shipping and still make money. Shipping furniture can be expensive and tricky in itself, but then throw the task of offering free shipping and it gets even more daunting.

But with the right strategies, you can turn this daunting task into a selling point that boosts your business. Read on to explore how free shipping can be a game-changer for your furniture sales on platforms like Etsy!

loading a piece of furniture into a box truck

In this post, we’re gonna break down Etsy’s push for free shipping, explore the challenges and benefits of offering this perk, and share some practical tips for integrating free shipping into your business model.

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We get it, the idea of offering free shipping on big items like furniture might seem counter-intuitive, especially when you’re just starting out.

But no worries — by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap on how to navigate this seemingly complex territory and use it to your advantage. Let’s dive in!

The Challenge of Offering Free Shipping

Hey, offering free shipping to our customers sounds awesome, right? But let’s talk about the challenges it brings. Especially when it comes to shipping bulky items and the risks it poses for newcomers.

When you think about offering free shipping on furniture items, it can sometimes feel like solving a Rubik’s Cube. You’re dealing with heavy stuff, long distances, and a whole bunch of shipping logistics.

Shipping costs for bulky items can quickly go through the roof and, if you’re not careful, eat into your profits big time.

Just imagine, your antique oak dresser might have to travel all the way from Maine to California. That’s definitely not a quick trip around the corner, right?

And it’s not just the distance; you also have to consider the size and weight of the furniture.

furniture getting weighed for shipment

For new sellers, this logistics puzzle can be overwhelming. You’re still figuring out how to source, refinish, and market your pieces. Adding shipping into the mix can feel like one too many plates to spin.

Sure, free shipping can attract customers, but it’s important to understand that it’s not really “free” – someone’s gotta pay for it. And if you’re not careful, that someone might end up being you.

Free Shipping on Etsy

In 2019, Etsy shook up the world of e-commerce with a bold announcement about free shipping. The platform decided to give priority to sellers offering free shipping on orders over $35 in the US.

This meant that listings with free shipping at this price point would get prime placement in Etsy’s search results.

Want to list your furniture for sale on Etsy, but aren’t sure how? Read our how to ship furniture on Etsy post to find out the step by step details!

If you’re still wondering, can you make money selling furniture on Etsy, read through this post to learn more.

The aim of the move was to stay competitive with other major online marketplaces and make shopping on Etsy a more appealing experience for customers.

Sellers were left with a big decision: to adapt to the new policy and potentially enjoy greater visibility, or maintain their current shipping practices and risk being overshadowed by free shipping listings.

This announcement sparked a lot of debates among sellers, some praising the change for its potential to boost sales, others fearing it would squeeze their profit margins.

So, what do these changes mean for you? Let’s explore the concept of free shipping and discuss how to use it in your favor.

Understanding the Concept of Free Shipping

Here’s the thing about free shipping – it’s not just about shipping costs, but also the product cost. Let’s break it down and compare it to Amazon Prime.

When you offer free shipping on your furniture piece, you’re essentially covering the costs for customers buying from you. So if a customer buys an item that costs $200 with a $50 shipping fee, they’ll be paying a total of $250.

Now, let’s say you decide to offer free shipping on that item. This means the customer will still be paying $250 “for the product”, but there won’t be any additional shipping fee added.

The concept seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? But there are a couple more things to think about when it comes to offering free shipping:

First off, you gotta make sure that your product costs include both production and shipping. If your furniture is priced at $200 but it actually costs $250 to produce and ship, then you’ll be losing money with every order.

Another key thing to consider is the cost of shipping materials. You’ll have to factor in the cost for packing materials like bubble wrap, tape, boxes, and labels.

To save money on this part you can buy your supplies in bulk or shop around for cheaper alternatives.

photo of shipping materials

Finally, there’s insurance costs. Make sure you understand what kind of coverage your shipping carrier offers and factor this cost in when you set your product prices.

The Benefits of Offering Free Shipping

Now that we’ve got a grasp of the concept of free shipping, let’s take a look at why it can be beneficial for sellers.

First off, offering free shipping can help you compete with big online marketplaces like Amazon. Customers absolutely love free shipping, so offering it on your Etsy store can give you an edge over other sellers and boost your visibility.

On top of that, people are generally more inclined to buy from stores that offer this perk.

Another awesome benefit of offering free shipping is that it simplifies the purchasing decision for customers.

No one wants any surprises when shopping online, so the whole free shipping thing helps create a more consistent customer experience across stores.

Plus, as we mentioned earlier, offering free shipping on bulky items can help you stand out among major marketplaces that provide it for similar products.

Customers often compare prices across different platforms, and knowing that your store offers free shipping can give them that extra push to shop from you.

Advice for New Sellers

If you’re new to the selling game and wondering how to navigate this new territory, no worries, let’s dive right in. First, don’t rush into offering free shipping right away.

Take the time to understand your cost structure thoroughly: the cost of your items, shipping fees, packing materials, and insurance. Once you’ve got these details figured out, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to offer free shipping.

If you’re wondering how to price flipped furniture, check out this post to learn more. We also have a furniture painting price list as a handy guide for you.

Also, think about starting with a lower-cost item to test the waters. This way, you can get a feel for managing shipping logistics without putting too much at stake.

Lastly, make sure to effectively communicate with your customers. If you’re not offering free shipping right away, explain why.

Customers appreciate transparency and may be willing to pay shipping costs if they understand the reason behind your decision.

On the flip side, if you do decide to offer free shipping, make sure it’s clearly advertised on your store page so that potential customers know they can take advantage of this perk.

How to Ship Furniture – The Ultimate Guide

Curious to learn more about shipping furniture? We’ve only scratched the surface!

Learn more about exactly how we ship furniture for free without it eating into our costs, how to package furniture to prevent damage, explore the best companies for shipping furniture, and dive deeper into shipping furniture on Etsy.

Our comprehensive how to ship furniture guide (shown below) covers all your burning questions, making it a breeze for you to ship furniture across the country in no time!

photo of How to ship furniture guide by Natalie Dayton of Ray of Sunlight

Now that you’re familiar with offering free shipping, let’s dive into how to ship furniture across the country, including weighing furniture, and different shipping companies for nationwide shipping.

Here are tips and tricks on how to package furniture for shipping.

But if free shipping is not an option and you’re still left with the question, how much does it cost to ship furniture to another state, read through this post to learn more.

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One Comment

  1. That would be great if they implemented a local option.

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