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How To Offer A Free Shipping Incentive For Wholesale Customers

How To Offer A Free Shipping Incentive For Wholesale Customers

Offering a free shipping incentive or other discounts to encourage wholesalers to purchase from you is a win-win situation. You get to keep more revenue while they can save money on shipping without being penalized.

A free shipping incentive is simply an offer from a wholesaler to his or her retail customers to cut down on shipping costs. It doesn’t have to be complicated – make sure there will be no extra costs for the customer and a way for them to redeem their benefits.

In this article, we’ll show you 4 easy steps to offer a free shipping incentive for wholesale customers. We’ll also discuss the advantages of free shipping and why you should consider implementing this in your WooCommerce store. Let’s get into it!

Why Offer A Free Shipping Incentive?

Instilling a sense of urgency in your customers is essential to drive conversions. Let’s face it – not all of us have the luxury of being able to wait for a new shipment before buying again. That’s why you need to look for ways to increase customer order satisfaction and decrease lead times.

Offering a discount on every purchase is usually enough, but what happens if you want to be more creative and implement other strategies? You might consider giving your wholesale customers incentives such as free shipping. It sounds like an odd idea, but how can it work? Let’s see…

Example: Disney Store’s Free Shipping Offer (click to zoom)

Recently we ran a very enlightening survey across our users and found that around 75% of store owners that responded enforced a minimum amount of some sort on wholesale orders.

This is a huge trend toward restricting wholesale ordering, and an interesting discussion ensued in the comments of the survey post about it. It quickly became apparent that many store owners were encouraging customers past this minimum order threshold by offering a free shipping incentive!

Free Shipping Incentive For Wholesale Customers

Method #1: If you’re a customer of the WooCommerce Wholesale Prices Premium plugin and want ALL customers free shipping, then your configuration is extremely simple.

Simply visit the plugin settings (WooCommerce->Settings, click the Wholesale Prices tab, click Shipping in the submenu) and check the box which enables free shipping for ALL wholesale customers.

This will then give all wholesale customers access to free shipping as defined under the built-in WooCommerce Free Shipping module.

All Wholesale Users Get Free Shipping
Free Shipping Options in Wholesale Prices Premium (click to zoom)

Method #2: If your requirements are a bit more complex and you want a bit more fine-grained control over who, when, and how your wholesale customers should get the free shipping, then you need to go a step further, and that is what the rest of this guide is about.

In another recent guide, we gave you all the details you need to employ complex free shipping throughout your WooCommerce site in a variety of different ways with lots of different restriction types.

Today we’ll be using the same Advanced Free Shipping plugin again to create our free shipping incentive for wholesale customers:

Step #1: Install the Advanced Free Shipping plugin

Download and install the excellent Advanced Free Shipping plugin by Jeroen Sormani.

You can do this via the Dashboard by logging into your website and visiting Plugins->Add New, then searching by the plugin “WooCommerce Advanced Free Shipping.”

Once installed, you’re ready to configure your free shipping rules.

Step #2: Configure your wholesale free shipping rule

The Advanced Free Shipping plugin lets you define multiple rules for free shipping. We need to define one for wholesale customers only.

The subtotal amount shown below differs from the minimum order amounts in WooCommerce Wholesale Prices Premium. This subtotal amount (or any other restriction you add) controls when your customer should receive free shipping.

Here’s how I suggest configuring the advanced free shipping rule:

Advanced Free Shipping Wholesale Customers
Advanced Free Shipping Conditions (click to zoom)

Step #3: Map the Advanced Free Shipping method to your Wholesale Roles

If you are using the wholesale role to shipping methods mapping (see WooCommerce->Settings, click the Wholesale Prices tab, and click Shipping in the submenu), you will also need to map the Advanced Free Shipping method to your wholesale roles.

Map Advanced Free Shipping To Wholesale Roles
Wholesale Role and Shipping Method (click to zoom)

This will ensure the Advanced Free Shipping shipping method is allowed to show for wholesale customers. See this knowledge base article for more details on how this WooCommerce Wholesale Prices Premium feature works.

If you aren’t using our plugin’s shipping method mapping feature, then you can stop here. This is because of the way we have configured the advanced free shipping rule above; it will automatically restrict this rule to wholesale customers only.

If you are using the mapping to restrict other wholesale roles to certain shipping methods, then you must map the Advanced Free Shipping method. Otherwise, they won’t see it at all.

Step #4: Adjust any other free shipping incentive rules

If you followed Step #3 and had to add the Advanced Free Shipping method into your wholesale role shipping method mappings, then you’ll also need to adjust any other rules you have defined in Advanced Free Shipping.

Adjusting the other rules (specifically, free shipping rules intended for retail customers only) by adding an extra “AND” condition as follows will ensure that these rules will never be visible to wholesale customers.

Advanced Free Shipping Not Wholesale
Set the user role (click to zoom)

If you don’t do this, the wholesale customers will also be able to see these free shipping rules intended for retail customers.

Again, you only need to do this if you use the feature to restrict wholesale roles to specific shipping methods. If not, then don’t worry!


Many retail outlets offer free or discounted shipping on orders over a certain amount to remain competitive in the marketplace. Other times, free shipping is offered as a reward for signing up for a mailing list or online shopping trial accounts.

Regardless of how much your customers appreciate receiving discounts on their purchases, they might not necessarily take action unless you give it to them. This article covers some of the best ways to offer a free shipping incentive to your wholesale customers.

Do you have any questions about offering free shipping incentives to your wholesale customers? Let us know in the comment box down below, or send us a message!

author avatar
Josh Kohlbach CEO
Josh is the founder of Rymera Web Co, the makers of Wholesale Suite and many other plugins. He's a business marketing geek and chronic reader; you'll often find his nose buried in some obscure book.

2 thoughts on “How To Offer A Free Shipping Incentive For Wholesale Customers

  1. Hi thanks for the instructions
    I have configured advanced free shipping for an additional wholesale client as per your instructions above and it seems to have worked as in this particular client isnt charged shipping and no other shipping methods are available to be picked, all this is good.
    However it still says in the cart and at checkout “Shipping: Enter your address to view shipping options.” Surely this should say “Free shipping” or Free Shipping for insert Customer Name
    I am a wholesale Suite Premium plugin customer

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