The online customer experience consists of many factors. A company needs to excel at all points to meet expectations and deliver the type of experience that will bring customers back.
Shipping is one of those components that goes into creating an exceptional customer experience. And, shipping may even be a deciding factor for some consumers. They may love a brand’s products but not the shipping options offered, which may result in shopping cart abandonment.
A recent BigCommerce survey found that more than half (58 percent) of those online shoppers surveyed stopping using a specific e-commerce site after they had a bad shipping experience. Also, 77 percent reported abandoning a purchase because of unsatisfactory shipping options.
In Love With Free
These consumers also proclaimed their love – and preference for – free shipping options. It’s what convinced many consumers to sign-up and pay for Amazon Prime, knowing that all their direct Amazon orders would come with free, two-day shipments – sometimes even free one-day options.
These consumers reported that they enjoy the “free shipping” option as part of their online shopping experience because it helps them feel like they are getting a good deal. This shipping option also reinforces that they can enjoy the convenience of shopping online without spending more money to do so.
Revamping Your Shipping Strategy
With the holidays fast-approaching and the ongoing goal to ensure customers love shopping your online store, it’s an ideal time to assess and update your e-commerce shipping strategy.
Offering new shipping options that improve the customer experience may involve additional costs for your business. Although those costs will most likely pay off in terms of more sales and greater revenue per transaction, you’ll have to address the increased expense as part of your overall strategy.
Here are some options to consider for your shipping strategy:
- Revisit your product pricing strategy to potentially raise the price of some products.
- Offer free shipping to your customers if they spend a certain amount, which, according to the previously mentioned survey, often works well with millennial customers, in particular. Many of these consumers readily admitted they would add one or two more items to their online cart if it meant getting the free shipping.
- Create a membership program that reflects the structure of Amazon’s Prime program, but on a scale that fits your business.
- Shop around and compare/use more shipping companies to get the best deal that helps make free shipping possible as an option for your online store.
- Reduce shipping expenses for your online retail operation by rethinking packaging materials and size. In doing so, you may not only save your company money, but you may also create another “win” with your audience. According to the aforementioned survey, most of today’s consumers want recyclable or less overall packaging. For example, changing the type, size, shape, and amount of packaging can lower the weight of the package, thereby reducing the cost to you per shipping box.
Other Online Retail Shipping Tactics
Besides free shipping, there are other tactics you can use to enhance the customer experience:
- Give customers access to real-time shipment tracking, as well as send them updates that they can opt-in to receive through SMS, email, or both. If there happens to be delays, provide them with updates so they can be prepared to be available to receive the package or not worry that somehow their products got lost.
- Look for ways to streamline your order fulfillment process, including your payment processing, inventory, and fulfillment and packaging system. This may mean investing in different technology that automates and integrates many or all of these fulfillment components. You’ll be able to gain speed and lower costs over time.
Test and Assess
If you aren’t sure if your business is ready to take on year-round free shipping offers, then start with promotional free shipping during the holidays and at other points in the year when you know your revenue is typically higher.
In offering special shipping options for a limited time, you can gauge how your customer base and audience react. You’ll then have more time to explore how to make other improvements to your shipping strategy and assess the financial feasibility of offering this enhanced shipping program.