International commerce has gone through a massive boom with the invention of the internet. We no longer have to go to a store to buy something, nor do we have to get in touch with an official distributor of a foreign company whose products we’re interested in buying.
These days, we can do it all with one click. Free shipping on international orders is considered the holy grail of modern online shopping, but how exactly does it work? Here are 4 things you didn’t know about free international shipping!
It’s Rarely Free
The cold hard truth about that awesome free shipping deal you’ve got on an order from an international vendor is that it wasn’t free at all. In most cases, sellers who offer free international shipping have included the costs of shipping in the retail price. The whole ‘free shipping’ idea is a psychological trick of sorts that is giving buyers an often misplaced sense of free value.
That being free shipping can be truly free sometimes. There are instances of flash sales and promotions where the retailer takes on the expense of shipping for the sake of boosting their brand awareness. In such cases, it’s the retailer that pays the price, which still doesn’t mean the shipping is free. It just means that the shipping is free for you, the customer.
Free International Shipping Has Limitations
Free international shipping is rarely profitable for companies who ship worldwide. There is only so much room to raise the price of a product to compensate for the shipping costs. Because of that, most international free shipping is limited to smaller orders, or more specifically, lighter orders.
If you’re looking to find cheap auto detailing brushes online, your chances of finding a free shipping deal are more than decent enough. However, if you’re thinking of finding gun safes that come with free international shipping, you have another thing coming. Shipping and logistics professionals at pssremovals.com argue that heavy parcels rarely ever come with free shipping. However, you can sometimes find great deals on shipping heavy items if you shop in bulk. Bulk orders usually get special treatment.
Postal Networks and Free Shipping
Most vendors who offer free international shipping do so through the international postal networks. As mentioned earlier, free shipping almost exclusively applies to smaller items that are light and fit the international letter format. Sometimes you’ll find free shipping on slightly larger items as well.
The key thing to understand is that most vendors and sellers can’t afford to do free international shipping to your door using courier services such as FedEx or UPS. Instead, they usually have a deal in place with their country’s postal service, which then pushes the package through the international postal network.
There is one major benefit to this system, as well as one significant drawback. The benefit of using the postal network is the low price of postage. Lower shipping prices allow international vendors and retailers to offer more attractive prices while also offering free shipping on their orders.
The drawback to using national postal services is the amount of time they need to move a package across borders. The shipping times alone are often quite high, not to mention a lack of priority custom procedures, meaning that your package can be stuck at customs for days before it’s cleared. That being said, the long wait times are often worth it.
Free Shipping As A Sales Tactic
The last interesting fact we’d like to share with you is that free international shipping is often used as a tool to sell priority paid shipping. International retailers who offer free shipping will sometimes use it as a backdrop to make their paid shipping alternatives more attractive.
This is especially true if shipping times estimates for the free option are listed in weeks rather than days. The significant majority of buyers will gladly pay a bit more for shipping if it means they get their product in 5 days anywhere around the world.
Enjoy Free International Shipping
The point of this article wasn’t to dissuade anyone from using free international shipping. Our goal was to educate the reader on the intricacies of this type of international shipping, how it actually works, and some interesting facts regarding free shipping in general.
If you find a product you’re interested in, and it comes with free shipping, more power to you. Enjoy your order but know that you’ve most likely paid for that postage fair and square through the price of the item you’ve just bought.