strategies

Are you starting an eCommerce business? Then, you should know that your shipping strategy is one of the crucial aspects of success. No matter how great your eCommerce website looks or how amazing your products are, a bad delivery can ruin the whole buying process.

A study conducted by Pitney Bowes found that more than 90% of online shoppers in the States will leave an eCommerce website if services like “fast and free shipping” aren’t available. At the same time, only 45% of them consider two-day free shipping to be fast.

Another report released by ReadyCloud says that more than 50% of shoppers leave a transaction when faced with extra shipping costs.

So, what can small eCommerce businesses do improve their shipping strategies?

In this article, we’ll delve into some of the most effective eCommerce shipping strategies, including the automation of administrative tasks, providing tracking options and improving the overall shopping experience.

#1 Don’t Make Customers Login to See the Shipping Costs

As mentioned earlier, online shoppers are interested in two things: fast shipping and free shipping. Making them login just to see the shipping rates will reflect negatively on your sales. The shipping cost should be visible on your shopping cart page, as well as on the product pages. If your shipping rate depends on the customer’s location, provide an option for people to enter the zip code in order to get a quote.

#2 Automate Administrative Tasks

Repetitive (and boring) administrative tasks like contacting suppliers, sending notifications to customers, processing orders, etc. can easily exhaust your team but are necessary for proper processing of orders and shipping. The solution is to automate them.

There’s a good reason why more than 90% of businesses agree that automation is essential for their success. According to Shopify, automation has saved them 1.6 million hours of work and 200 million decisions. In addition, eCommerce automation has generated $2 billion in pre-scheduled sales.

Automating these tasks doesn’t mean you’ll have to fire a large portion of your employees. Besides saving you money, automation also saves your team’s energy, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks. Administrative tasks can be easily organized with the use of special software.

#3 Provide a Tracking Option

Once an order is made, you’re starting to build a relationship with your customer. And customers want to have confirmation that their order has been received and they want an option to track their parcel.

Make sure to email your customer right after you receive the tracking numbers and shipping info. If possible, provide a link to the carrier’s site (or your site) which shows a delivery schedule. This is a small gesture that will be much appreciated by your customers.

#4 Don’t Try to Profit off Shipping

Always keep in mind that your customers can easily go to your competition and find better shipping rates. They’re ‘allergic’ to high shipping rates so don’t try to make money by raising the handling and shipping rates. It will cost you sales and profit.

#5 Make Sure to Solve Lost Shipment Issues

Every eCommerce shipping company has to face it at some point. A shipment gets lost and even though it may not be your fault, you need to try and remedy the situation. By no means should you blame the customer or anyone else involved in the process.  If you have no idea what to do, just re-ship the order.

#6 Provide Customer Support

A study conducted by The Guardian found that customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator by 2020. In other words, your customers may forget the products they bought from you, but they’ll never forget the service you provided.

Here are some more numbers that illustrate the importance of customer service:

  • Almost 75% of customers leave the company because they weren’t satisfied with the customer service!
  • 95% of consumers talk about poor customer service experiences with other people
  • More than 50% of customers said that good customer service influenced them to buy more from the company and nearly 60% of them recommended these companies to others.

The communication with your customers needs to be constant throughout the whole shopping process, but it is the most important at the time of shipment. The best eCommerce websites provide multiple contact options during shipping, in order to facilitate the resolution of possible incidents. This is the best way to make sure that your customers remain confident and calm.

#7 Customize Orders for a Better UX

Another way to improve the shopping experience is by offering customization options, like the option to use gift wrap, send thank-you cards and notes with the customer’s name, etc.

For instance, if the customer is placing an order for the first time, thank him with a special detail. Use customers’ track record to predict his purchasing habits and send loyal customers exclusives, coupons, or gifts. Whatever it takes to make them feel special!

#8 Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Instead of overestimating yourself and giving unrealistic delivery times, add an extra day or two to your delivery time estimates. Big players like Amazon and Dell do this; for instance, they offer three to five-day shipping and you get your package in two days.

If the package gets earlier, the customer is going to be very happy, but if you said two-day shipping and the package arrives in three days, they’ll be angry. The takeaway? Give a window and try to deliver as fast as possible.

Final Thoughts

Online shoppers have pointed to negative post-purchase experiences, including expensive shipping, delayed shipping, confusing return policies, tracking inaccuracies, as well as incorrect or lost items as reasons for their dissatisfaction. The importance of good customer experience is undeniable. By improving these aspects of your eCommerce business you’ll boost the overall shopping experience and build a great relationship with your customers.