When online shopping was introduced a few decades ago, it seemed like the shopping experience came alive right in your home. From the comfort of your living room, you could peruse and window shop hundreds of stores in cyberspace, find niche products offered nowhere else and even sell your own goods to buyers around the world.
But there was one thing missing from e-shopping in the early ‘90s: instant gratification. As consumers made more purchases online, they demanded quicker and cheaper shipping options; and it’s no different today.
Lengthy shipping times and obscured fees can frustrate shoppers enough to abandon their shopping carts. Think about it, if you are looking to buy a present for a friend before Saturday and the shipping time takes 14 business days, well you might lose a customer. Similarly, if the shopper thinks the product costs $20 and the shipping costs are obscured until the end of the order, he or she might be less likely to pay $30 for the product and delivery.
The key here is to be fully transparent. Still, giving customers more options on how they want their products shipped increase shopper satisfaction and revenue. Below are a few ideas to revolutionize your shipping options:
Expedited Delivery: This suggestion should be the most obvious. Allowing shoppers to choose quicker, more timely options will obviously increase buyer satisfaction. Try allowing options for overnight delivery, two-day shipping and five to eight-day shipping. Be sure to inform them of these options on your product page. If you create your own e-commerce items, let your customer know how long it will take to craft the item before you ship it. This will decrease the number of complaints you receive.
Free Shipping Quota: Another option is to offer incentives to shoppers. For example: “Buy $70 worth of goods today and you’ll get free two-day shipping.” Not only is this a good way to alert customers of your shipping options, it can also drive up your impulse sales which is good for business! You can even think about combining similar offers with your email newsletters for even greater reach.
‘No Rush’ Shipping: Not every consumer is in a rush, however. In fact, some shoppers prefer to save some green by eschewing speedy delivery options by buying early. Reward their frugality by offering free ‘no rush’ shipping or cash-back credit rebates. Amazon, for instance, has used this system for their Prime shoppers with great success. Plus, buyers are more likely to become return shoppers if they have unspent credits in your store.
Foreign Shipping: Shipping out of the country can be a little more complicated, clearly as shipping times and costs grow with distance. Also, larger and heavier items might be nearly impossible to sell due to exorbitant shipping costs, so specify which products (likely smaller and lighter goods) can be shipped overseas and which cannot. You may also want to target specific countries rather than the whole world since nation-specific regulations and exchange rates can be a daunting for a small e-commerce site.
We hope this guide has demystified shipping options. If you are just breaking into online selling, you may want to research the enterprise ecommerce platforms available and see if they offer any tools or apps to make the experience easier for you.
Finally, it’s important to remember what shoppers see and their behavior after seeing it. Be sure to provide them with very obvious tracking numbers in their inboxes or leave a box on your website for shoppers to track their purchases. Follow these rules and you’ll be sure to see plenty of happy return shoppers!