Shipping is one of the most important aspects of your eCommerce store. If you follow today’s ecommerce shipping best practices, you’ll be able to attract more customers, increase customer satisfaction, and convert more visitors into paying customers.
If you do not provide shipping that meets your customers’ expectations, you may experience high cart abandonment rates, lower conversions, and fewer orders.
Using shipping best practices is an important part of providing a great, seamless shopping experience. The buyer’s journey does not end when they check out and make a purchase from your online store; it ends when the package arrives on time and in good condition at their address.
Do you want to make certain that you’re setting yourself up for success? Let’s go over a few of the best eCommerce shipping best practices – and why they’re so important.
Top 5 Shipping Best Practices
1. Offer Free Shipping
It’s hard to over-emphasize the importance of this one. Yes, we understand that free shipping is not truly “free.” Someone has to pay, which may result in lower margins for you or higher prices for your customers. However, thanks to large corporations such as Amazon, most customers who shop online today expect free shipping. And they have statistics to back it up.
According to Kissmetrics, if free shipping is not available, 28% of customers will abandon their cart. Furthermore, 90% of customers say that free shipping is one of the “most important factors” when shopping online, and found that high shipping costs were the leading cause of cart abandonment – 61% of customers would abandon their shopping carts if extra taxes, shipping, and fees were too high.
You need to offer free shipping as it’s one of the shipping best practices. If you don’t, you’re losing sales – it’s as simple as that.
2. Make Shipping Costs Clearly Visible at Checkout
Even if you don’t offer free shipping, or if you only offer it on orders over a certain dollar value, you should make shipping costs clear at checkout.
You can do this by adding functionality to your shopping cart so that when a customer enters their ZIP code, shipping fees are automatically added to the subtotal when they view the order summary screen.
Why does this matter? Customers don’t mind paying for shipping in some cases, but they don’t like surprises. Customers are more likely to abandon their cart if shipping costs are not displayed until the end of the checkout process, or if they are surprised by an unexpectedly high shipping cost. According to some surveys, shipping costs account for up to 55% of all abandoned carts.
As a result, you must make shipping costs clear at checkout. If the items you sell are all relatively similar in size, shape, and weight, you may want to consider implementing a flat-rate shipping system – this can help customers know what to expect when shopping and prevent them from abandoning their carts due to unexpected shipping costs.
3. Display the expected delivery date to your customers
We recommend providing customers with a delivery estimate for their item during checkout, based on their order date and shipping method selection – the Amazon screenshot above is a good example of this. It informs customers as to when they can expect to receive their item, based on the shipping method they have chosen.
87% of customers consider shipping time to be an important factor in their purchasing decision. If you don’t give your customer an estimate of when their item will arrive, they may be less likely to buy because they don’t know how long it will take to ship.
We strongly advise using a tool to provide a delivery estimate for your store. You are not required to guarantee delivery by this date; simply provide an estimate of how long it will take for the order to ship and arrive. This will give your customers more information and make them less likely to abandon their cart.
4. Keep your customers informed during the shipping process
So, your customers took advantage of free or flat-rate shipping and placed an order with your store, and you’ve already shipped their item.
When it comes to shipping best practices, it’s a good idea to put in place a communication system that keeps your customers informed. Take into account that 93% of customers report that receiving email confirmations about their orders contributes to a positive experience.
When a customer places an order, you should send them an order confirmation and a shipment confirmation once the order has been sent to the delivery service. This will help to build trust and ensure that your customer is kept informed throughout the process.
5. As soon as a shipping problem is reported, take action
While packages lost or damaged by a carrier are not always your fault, your customers will not see it that way. Although you may not have lost the shipment yourself, you did chose the carrier that did. That means you’re responsible for making things right.
As a result, you should act as soon as a shipping issue is reported:
- Check the shipment’s tracking information online.
- Check if the address and contact information were entered correctly.
- Check with the carrier to see if it was delivered and to inquire about its current status.
- Contact the carrier and keep in touch until the problem is resolved.
- Send your customer a replacement item as soon as possible.
Shipping Best Practices & Tips For Ecommerce Beginners
Get your shipping right and you can master eCommerce. For new online retailers selling products, managing shipping can be the difference between failure and success. Shipping and order fulfillment is one of the most important operations that new business owners need to monitor and manage.
1.Know How Much Your Products Weight
This might seem like stating the obvious, but know how much your products weigh. When it comes to calculating your shipping costs, it’s not obvious. A product’s shipping weight might not be its actual weight.
Imagine that you sell wine glasses. The product itself doesn’t weigh much by itself, perhaps only a few pounds. However, in order to safely ship the glass from one end of the country to the other, you will need to layer your vases in a lot of packing materials like air pillows, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and foam. These extra packing materials, a strong cardboard box, and even the tape you use to seal the box can all up to make the shipment much heavier. You need to know what your products weigh when they are fully packed up and ready to ship.
Imagine you sell cushions. Your products are very light, but they are quite bulky. Your pillows could be subject to what shipping carriers call dimensional weight. Dimensional weight pricing charges shippers for either the actual weight of the package or the average weight of a package of the same size, whichever is greater.
If your freight class shipping quotes are not based on the actual weight of your cushions, you could be paying a lot more when you ship, as dimensional weight pricing would cost more. Know your product’s shipping weight, and use it to estimate your shipping costs.
2.Use Flat Rate, Regional Shipping
Flat rate and regional rate shipping services are often the best option for new eCommerce businesses. Flat rate and regional rate services are not always the cheapest way to ship, but they are often very competitively priced. They are also usually among the easiest to understand methods of shipping.
These services will also provide you with boxes, which can help to save you a bit of money. As your business grows, you might want to grow into other shipping services, but in most cases, starting with flat rate and regional rate shipping is your best option.
3.Use Shipping Software
The customer service counter at your local post office is not the best place for you to buy your shipping or to print your shipping labels. In fact, this is probably the worst place to do this.
Even the very smallest, brand new eCommerce business will benefit from making use of shipping software, even if this is only buying your postage online.
When you use shipping software, you should typically be able to buy shipping or postage online at a discounted price. You will be able to take advantage of many other features, including integration with online marketplaces, better tracking information, and some level of shipping automation.
Implementing proper shipping best practices is critical for meeting – and exceeding – customer expectations. So, if you’re seeing high cart abandonment rates, low conversion rates, or negative customer reviews, it might be worth your time to consider how you can incorporate these tips into your eCommerce store.