My handmade jewelry and accessories business is by all definitions a small business. It's just me who does everything. When it came time to set up my online store, I had a big decision to make about shipping - should I charge for shipping or would that hurt sales?
Nowadays, everyone is used to getting free shipping by hitting at least a minimum order amount. This started with Amazon a long time ago and has seemed to push through to a majority of online stores - at least the large ones. For my new store, I have been torn. Yes, it will cost me money if I offer free shipping, but it might cost me customers if I don't. After weighing the pros and cons (and the $!), I finally decided that I needed to offer free shipping to encourage new customers (you!) to order from my brand-spanking new business.
It's hard to gain sales in today's overwhelmingly large online marketplace. There are so many options out there that even if you love my jewelry, you need to be willing to pay me that very first time you buy that beautiful pair of earrings. As you no doubt have noticed, I do everything I can with my product descriptions and pictures to virtually bring my products to you on the screen. However, in addition to that, I believe the most important things I can do to encourage you to take a leap of faith once you love one of my pieces are (1) have a fantastic, no hassle, guaranteed return policy (which I do!), and (2) have free shipping which means you can feel comfortable you aren't "risking" more money making that first purchase from me.
All of these thoughts added up to my decision to offer free shipping. I believe that is a fair approach that allows you to buy your first product from me with confidence - and come back to buy even more. Yes, I will pay for shipping, but in the long term, I believe I will more than make up for that by building a base of loyal customers who want what I create.