Shipping is an incredibly underappreciated aspect of the customer experience. If done well, it’s considered par for the course. But if there’s a hiccup, where the shipping process is slow or inconvenient for any number of customers, it can lead to churn and weakened customer loyalty.
In other words, there’s little celebration when you get it right. But you absolutely cannot afford to get it wrong.
Given that, let’s look at 3 common shipping mistakes to avoid as you build a shipping strategy for your retail or eCommerce business.
Only Offering One Shipping Option
Your customers don’t all need or want the same thing. Some are willing to pay extra for two-day shipping, while others prefer to wait a week or two to avoid the added expense of expedited delivery. You likely even have customers who prefer to pick up their order from a store or storage locker, themselves.
As a result, if you only offer one shipping option, you naturally alienate all the other customers who shop in your online store. Occasionally, they may work through their irritation and select a less-than-ideal shipping option on your checkout page to purchase the product. But more often than not, they’ll simply leave for a competitor (like Amazon) who can give them more choices.
From timing and pricing to shipping carriers (like USPS and FedEx), it’s important to offer your shoppers a variety of options (paid and free) to get the desired product to them. Here are a few options for retailers to consider:
- Two-day shipping (or the shortest available time)
- 3-5 day shipping
- 1-2 week shipping
No Free Shipping
The desire for free shipping isn’t going away. If anything it’s growing in popularity. In fact, in a 2019 survey, NRF found that 75% of consumers expect delivery to be free.
But for many small businesses in the retail and eCommerce space, the issue is how to offer free shipping without taking a massive financial hit. After all, shipping costs don’t just go away. Shipping services need money to move orders from your fulfillment center to your customers’ doors. And that cost is your responsibility.
There are quite a few ways you can add “free shipping” to your list of options, though. One of the easiest ways is by factoring it into your business expenses, and instead of creating a “separate charge” for customers to pay, simply increasing your product prices to balance out the expense.
You can also offer free shipping exclusively for purchases over a certain dollar amount. Not only does doing so incentivize customers to spend more money in your online store, but it also ensures you never pay $15 to ship a $10 purchase.
Regardless of how you choose to protect your bottom line, finding a financially smart way to offer free shipping can bring a needed boost to your business by increasing the volume of online purchases and strengthening your customer loyalty.
Not Offering Live Shipping Rates
Surprises are only welcome if they’re good ones. No one wants to be surprised with an expensive shipping fee when they’re reviewing the items in their shopping cart or on the checkout page. In fact, Baymard found that 23% of customers who abandon carts, do so because they couldn’t calculate the final cost up front.
By offering live parcel shipping rates, you not only provide greater transparency, but you also allow customers to take advantage of cheaper shipping costs (compared to flat rates) when their package is light or they’re located close to a fulfillment center.
Getting your shipping strategy right is critical to your customer experience and bottom line. Thankfully, by offering live shipping rates, free shipping, and multiple order fulfillment options, you can successfully avoid common shipping mistakes that will drive customers to your competitors.