Shoppers love a deal, the cheaper the better. The two words, “Free shipping” has become on the internet one of the most powerful marketing hooks of all time, but how does it work?

The anatomy of a sales promotion is generally straightforward---discounts mean that the merchant is taking a loss to sell product. That logic should follow with “free shipping” deals too, right?

Not necessarily. Free shipping promotions don’’t serve the same purpose as clearing inventory for the new year, encouraging sales during a slump, etc.. The marketing psychology around the big flashing “free shipping” promo signs is simple--keep the customer focused on the buying products, and don’t let shipping costs deter a purchase. The “behind-the-scenes” reality on most free shipping deals is much different, simply because it must be.

No one can sustain perpetual free shipping deals without laying out a well calculated promotional, complete with limitations (domestic only, order minimums, etc.). Short-term, it might be fine to run a free shipping deal to gain new market share, and spark sales, but long-term free shipping deals can’t be sustained without adjusting product prices. That’s right! If you don’t believe us, the next time you order from a merchant offering perpetual free shipping, check those product prices, and often you will notice that in order to “afford” free shipping offers, merchants must adjust product prices accordingly. The price increases are subtle, and cleverly distributed across select products, but it is necessary for any merchant offering ongoing free shipping deals.

While does offer free shipping deals, we haven’t offered them across the board, on an ongoing basis simply because we keep our prices as low as possible. Offering free shipping all the time would necessitate price changes throughout our matrix.

Free shipping isn’t good for the industry either. If all dealers are eventually forced to offer free shipping, and the lowest prices, the already thin margins will continue putting dealers out of business. So, while shoppers love a deal, pushing for free shipping and the lowest prices simply isn’t sustainable to the dealers, and no customer wants to lose their favorite motorcycle parts store over a few dollars right? looks forward to continuing to serve its customers well, so the next time you are comparing prices, make sure to compare total prices at checkout, not just the free shipping discount. And, if we’re still not the best deal, call us and we’ll make good on our Best Price Guarantee!

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