Stores that have retail fronts have a lot of costs associated like high cost prime locations such as inside a mall, employes to pay, a level of presentation to maintain, loss thru theft. All of these costs are eliminated or lowered by running a business online and shipping from a warehouse. A cheap non central location can hold the stock and ship it out. It doesn't need to be beautiful store just functional. There for I think shipping should be free or subsidized as the profit is greatly increased due to lower expenses.
If many different stores would offer free shipping to their customers they probably would be more than likely to increase the amount of money that they spend online to these retailers. The cost of shipping can be quite expensive for people and it is possible this stops people from buying online.
Yes, I think shipping should be free online at all stores. I think this would be a definite plus - it would increase the store's business and also make the shopper feel like they were getting a deal. Shipping rates have been increasing steadily for some time. I'm sure stores have a high enough mark up that they can absorb the cost on most items.
With the shipping prices free, companies will lose money and will have to increase the amount of the item depending on distance, size, weight, and other factors not originally accounted for. This will make already expensive appliances more expensive and cheaper appliances not so cheap. Therefore, people will not be able to get the stuff they want.
Aside from the goods itself, remember that we are also paying for the services taken from human labor. In economic perspective, there is no such thing as free. Instead, they make up incentives to generate more income and revenues. In a general scale, online shipping should not be freed at all stores. It could be in others but still depending on the actual price of the product regardless of its tax.
Don't get me wrong, I love free shipping, we all do. But it would be impossible to mandate free shipping for all online stores. The cost of shipping wouldn't magically disappear. I think that the online stores who have low or free shipping, will naturally be more popular than those who do not. But it is up to the stores and the markets to decide how to tackle the costs of shipping.
Shipping costs vary according to weight of the item and the distance.it would need to be shipped. Therefore, stores would have to charge more for their products in order to cover the difference between a delivery of only a few miles to one of thousands of miles. The increase would be considerable.