Save Money with Smart Shipping Tips

  •    Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships at ShipStation, the leading web-based shipping solution for e-commerce retailers.

If you could fix the number one reason that shoppers abandon their shopping carts, you’d probably want to know about that, right? It might surprise you to hear that the top reason online shoppers are abandoning their shopping carts is unexpected shipping cost, according to Smart Insights:

Data chart

While shipping costs are always an issue with consumers, the unexpected part is troubling. The e-commerce world already asks customers to take a risk and buy something they can’t see, feel or touch. Blindsiding those shoppers with unexpected shipping costs is a bad idea. Educating potential buyers about the shipping process and costs early in the process will decrease or eliminate shopping cart abandonment related to this issue.

The ShipStation team has some ways that you can prevent the surprise of shipping costs, as well as elevating your shipping process and policies to increase sales and gain loyal customers:

  1. State your shipping policy clearly. This is the first and most important way to be transparent to customers. The two key points are to have a shipping policy, and also to make it obvious. A strong shipping policy will answer all your customers’ questions. Here is a list of what should be included in a shipping policy, which is also offered as a free Shipping Policy template from TermsFeed:
  • What shipping options are available (overnight, standard, air mail, international, domestic only, etc.)
  • How much each shipping method will cost the customer
  • How long each shipping method will typically take
  • How long your handling time will be between when an order is placed and when it gets shipped
  • If orders must be placed before a specific time to be counted as placed during that business day
  • Any restrictions to where you can deliver (no P.O. boxes, not to specific states, etc.)
  • Anything else that would be material to a customer when placing an order

Once you’ve created your shipping policy, make it easy to find. Offering it as a menu button on your homepage is a great way to do that.

ShipStation customer Savannah Bee offers a Shipping FAQ option on its website, where you’ll find this information:

FAQ page example

  1. Provide real-time shipping information. In today’s world, shoppers demand real-time information about where their orders are, and when they will arrive. In fact, in the Dotcom Distribution’s 2017 E-commerce study, 26.5% of respondents said they would prefer more transparency while their package is in transit, an increase from the previous year’s 21%.

How do you provide customers with the shipping information they want? Start with the basics.

Basic Order Tracking

Many online merchants send out an email with a link to a carrier’s tracking site. This is the bare minimum of what you should be offering customers. It allows customers to check the status of their shipment.

Elevated Order Tracking

Our ShipStation customers were so interested in the power of tracking e-mails that we decided to give them the ability to create branded tracking e-mails. Then we decided to see if we could find ways for them to make sales and increase retention through shipment tracking. We now offer a Branded Shipping Tracking Page, one that is also mobile-responsive.

Users can design their customer-facing order tracking page to include a logo, company name, phone number, e-mail address, social media links and tracking links. The page can also contain the order date, packaged date and expected delivery date. A list of products ordered is included, as well as an image, quantity and price. The progress of the order is shown visually on a map.

For marketing purposes, the tracking page can include information on new products, sales, coupons or discount codes and more. To decrease customer confusion, instructions for assembly or a care guide can be added, as well as the return policy.
Checkout page

  1. Offer shipping delivery options.

While many online shoppers want free shipping, 75% are willing to pay a premium for expedited shipping. Here are some reasons, according to the 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper:

Shipping infographic

If you’re only offering free and/or standard shipping options, you’re probably losing out on customers. Consider adding expedited delivery options.

Onward

All three of these tips can be implemented quickly. Take care of this today, and see a direct impact on your bottom line.