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The commerce news site PYMNTS.com recently carried the announcement by the e-commerce app Spring that it will be offering free shipping on all orders through its “Instagram-like” interface.

This is the latest illustration of a trend that we have discussed previously on this blog. Free shipping is an amenity of commerce that is expected by an increasingly large portion of the consumer base for e-commerce businesses. This can partly be explained by the fact that e-commerce is increasingly viewed as a natural way of making purchases, no different from going to a brick-and-mortar store. It is understandable if customers are averse to paying a surcharge on a completely mainstream way of buying.

So whether your customers expect it to be free or not, both of these trends indicate that reliable and inexpensive shipping is more important to your business than ever. Whether you run a brick-and-mortar store supplemented with e-commerce or a purely online business, your ability to compete is very likely tied to the comparative speed and efficiency with which you send out customer orders and receive customer returns.

This requires partnering with the best shipping service in your area of operations, whether Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, etc. And that partnership is even more beneficial if the shipper doubles as a vendor of custom shipping crates, moving boxes, and packing supplies to suit all of the in-house elements of crating your goods and sending them off for (hopefully free) delivery.

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