Most store owners give their best effort in making sure customers have a great experience. After the customer has placed their order, that great experience doesn’t need to stop. Everything from shipping speed to how the package looks can enhance customer experience.
On the flip side packing and delivery can also spoil the customer experience depending on the level of execution in your store.
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Here are some key
Shipping Considerations for E-Commerce Stores
to take into account when offering your products. Nailing these can take your business from ordinary to extraordinary.
Free Shipping or Higher Margins
In the age of Amazon, many customers expect free shipping. But, for many businesses with slim margins, this may not be a realistic goal. One of the ways to beat the call of free shipping is to make sure your delivery is fast.
Customers are willing to pay for shipping if you tell them upfront that their products will be coming quickly. When considering to offer free shipping also bear in mind that free shipping has been shown to lead to higher order values. This is the perfect situation for testing.
You can strike a balance between these options by creating a “free shipping threshold” or setting a cart value where your ROI is high enough to offset your costs. Using this method to optimize your shipping for conversions can really help your bottom line.
It can be some trial and error to finding the right balance for your business but it can make a huge difference when you find the right solution for your store.
Be Clear About Shipping Options
Aside from how to balance shipping options there’s also the need to be very clear about your delivery options. Making sure customers are fully aware of when their item will arrive and how much it’ll cost will improve the customer experience. This is especially true if your shipping practices are quick and efficient. If you ship faster than your competitor, this can be a real value to your customers.
If you offer free shipping you can let people know that the free shipping option may take longer. This could entice them into a paid option and add to your bottom line. Many people may still choose the free option but it can add to your ROI if you find the top of the bell curve for what price and time frame people will pay extra for faster shipping.
Know Where You Ship Products
If you’ve been running your store for a while, you’re probably able to analyze your orders to get a sense of where your delivering to. This can help you optimize your shipping costs and time estimations. If your store tends to ship just to one geographical area, then that can help you choose or negotiate with carriers for the best rates.
Make sure you have a system in place that lets you know where your shipping to so you can keep track this data. For businesses fulfilling products for themselves this may mean making sure you have an up-to-date warehouse management software.
For e-commerce stores using 3rd party fulfilment services, this will be one of the questions you’ll need to ask your provider.
Another way to ensure you’re getting the best rates for shipping is to know what your products weigh and their dimensions. If 70% of your shipments are under 1lb, you should be able to get a much better rate than someone who ships 10lb machines. Knowing this data will allow you to price your shipping effectively and keep customer expectations in-line.
It’s also key to know the spread in product weight, from your lightest products to the heaviest. If your products are mostly uniform in size and weight, this can allow you to use zone-based shipping as opposed to weight based shipping. What that means is you can adjust your costs based on where the buyer is located, instead of the products they buy. For example, if your store sells small dog toys, a zone-based approach may be perfect.
An easy way to stand out from the crowd and delight your customers is upgraded shipping boxes. When your product arrives in a cool box the customer experience is improved. This can increase retention and lead to word of mouth recommendations. Differentiating yourself from your competitors with enhanced branding is a sure way to increase customer loyalty.
Some great examples of these can be found when analyzing subscription box fulfilment. So many subscription box companies have found creative ways to make their packages pop in your mailbox.
When the purchaser sees the big pink package in their mailbox, they get hyped because they know their new Ipsy bag has arrived.
eCommerce store owners are facing increased competition in the market and being able to stand out from the crowd is key to success. If you take note of all these considerations when setting up your shipping options then you can be sure that your business is making the right decisions to increase ROI and build your customer base even larger!