Online retail spend is expected to reach $300 billion in the U.S. alone by 2015, but how can you make sure your e-commerce store reaps the benefits of this fast growth? Offer a good product, market it well, optimize your store, and then follow up with free shipping. “A free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10,” says Wharton School of Business Professor David Bell. In other words, free shipping creates a perceived value that far outweighs the cost to the shop owner. Free shipping also increases average order size and reduces shopping cart abandonment. Today nearly half of all retailers are offering free shipping, but these kinds of numbers prove that free shipping is moving away from a “point of difference” benefit to become part of the built in cost of running an e-commerce shop that hosts tangible goods.