First-Time Buyer Free Shipping

For me, generating the first-time sale trumps all metrics.  Therefore I’d expect First-Time Buyer free shipping (or discount) to be a popular strategy.  Unfortunately, I’ve never found a retailer that offers this.  Now, let me qualify, I typically spend 7-10 seconds on a store (this is what most first time visitors do, thus the title of my blog) so if free shipping is buried chances are I wouldn’t find it.  Backroad Hobbies Primitive Decor is an exception.

Backroad Hobbies Primitive Decor

6 thoughts on “First-Time Buyer Free Shipping

  1. The only problem with this is you incentivize customers to game the system. Retailers want to know who the multiple purchasers are so they can focus their efforts on those customers, rather than have an endless stream of one-off buyers.

  2. @Ted: If we break shopper universe into “online shoppers” and “non-online shoppers” you will see the ratio is 1:5 (if not higher). An overwhelming number of people have never purchased online. Converting this group is key. Once the retailer converts them we have many opportunities to recoup free shipping costs.

    If a retailer has irrefutable data that proves the cost associated with this strategy outweighs life time revenue then they should definitely abandon it, but if Zappos can make profit through two way shipping for all customers we should be able to implement “First-Time Buyer Free Shipping” without incurring loss.

    • I also think that this will discourage people to buy repeat items again from the site. They would look elsewhere for another site with this feature then lose interest. Just a thought mind..

  3. Hi Joe,

    You might be right but a retailer could conduct an A/B test to see which version yields higher ‘sustained’ lift. In my opinion generating the first sale is the most important step in building lifetime value. This idea is one way of doing it but I’m sure it could (and should) be tweaked depending on the type of retailer, their product mix and competitiveness of their market.

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