Do you have a good shipping strategy? (Pt. 2)

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn


ponyexpress-3

Image Credit: Red Mountain Arts

In the first part of this blog series, we introduced you to the positive side of shipping. In this part though, we will elaborate on the common mistakes regarding shipping that most of the online businesses make. Such faults usually result in the decreased satisfaction of the customers and can easily make them drop the shopping cart and look for better terms elsewhere.

Without further ado, let’s get to the shipping mistakes that are common to most of the US online stores.

Shipping price is too high

55% of online shoppers have dropped a shopping cart in an online store because the overall price of the product plus shipping was too high for them. Therefore if the price of some of your products is quite low, offering to ship it via UPS or Fedex only is not the smartest move. If your customer has to pay more to get the product delivered than the actual price of the product itself, a high amount of such sales shouldn’t be expected. This can be easily solved by offering your customers a handful of different shipping options with varying prices and delivery dates – the USPS can be a great partner in the case described above.

Order value to qualify for free shipping is too high

Another case that makes many customers (51% to be precise) drop their carts and leave online stores is that their total purchase price doesn’t qualify for free shipping. This may be caused by two rather different problems. Firstly, the actual order value that is needed might be unacceptable to some customers – as we’ve mentioned in the previous part of this blog series, the optimum purchase price is around $50 for most online stores. Secondly, there’s the matter of communication – if the total price needed to qualify for free shipping is not clearly demonstrated to the customers before putting products into the cart, you should expect some of them leaving your store just before making the purchase. Therefore our advice in this case would be to offer free shipping to your customers – and whatever required order value you set to qualify for it, you should clearly communicate it to your customers before they actually have to pay.

Shipping costs listed too late

This is self explanatory – if the customer fills up the cart with your products, proceeds to checkout and only then learns that they’ll have to pay the same price for shipping as they’re paying for the products, they’ll probably just leave – this has happened to 40% of online shoppers surveyed by comScore. Honesty is the key here – if you clearly list all the shipping options and prices before the actual shopping process, your customers will be much more satisfied. In some cases, this might even bring you some additional sales – if the customer already knows how much they’re going to pay for shipping (or how much they need to spend to qualify for a free delivery), they might want to make it their money’s worth by adding some additional products to the cart.

Delivery time is too long

A lot of online shoppers decide not to buy after all because the delivery time is too long for them to be acceptable. For 38% of them, waiting 8 days or more for their products is too much, and the percentage of customers that need their merchandise to be delivered in 3 to 7 days varies between 5% and 10%. Fulfilling all of those customers’ expectations is quite simple – you just need to offer a couple of different shipping options with varying delivery times and prices – this way, each and every customer of yours can be satisfied.

Delivery date is not provided

The time that the product spends on the way might cause some problems, but not indicating the expected delivery date at all might not be a good idea, as nearly a quarter of your potential customers will choose to use the competitors instead in such case. The customers just don’t know what to expect – sometimes, the online store surprises and delivers the products very soon, but at other times, it takes ages to receive the merchandise. Some people might risk and still order your products, but some won’t – indicating the expected delivery date before checking out won’t hurt in any case.

As you’ve probably understood, the major mistakes that online stores make regarding shipping all have something to do with either shipping price or delivery time. There’s not much more to it really, so if you honestly provide all the information that the customers expect to receive before checkout and offer two or three shipping options for them to choose from, you should take the amount of the shopping carts that the customers drop because of shipping conditions to the minimum. This will bring both more satisfaction to the customers and, possibly, more sales to you – and that’s pretty easy to achieve.