When it comes to eCommerce, figuring out what customers really want is imperative. Obviously, customers want quality products and cooperative customer service.
That’s what they’d expect from eCommerce sites as well as brick-and-mortar retailers. eCommerce vendors have one other dimension to consider – shipping and delivery.
Putting an effective eCommerce shipping strategy in place is one of the most impactful steps you can take to grow your business online.
Let’s take a look at eCommerce delivery, and how to give customers what they really want.
Free Delivery: If It’s, It’s For Me
While many brands start out in eCommerce by taking a simplistic approach to shipping – like offering free shipping across the board or showing unmodified UPS or USPS rates – the most successful merchants use strategic shipping options to differentiate themselves from their competition and increase margins.
Of course, there is no such thing as “Free”, because those costs have to be absorbed somewhere along the line. As an eCommerce vendor, you know “Free shipping” means you’re paying for shipping.
This requires coordination between multiple teams within your organization, all the way from your marketing team to your fulfillment team – and several others in between. Establishing a shipping strategy for your online store lets you ensure that everyone involved in this pipeline knows what’s going on and their part in the process.
If you’re large enough, absorb the cost and pass the savings along to your customer base.
While you may not be able to offer free shipping on all products, you can experiment with price marks and loyalty programs. Still, it appears as if you are trying your best to appease thrifty customers.
Speedy Delivery: The Need for Speed
Beyond free shipping, the next most common customer desire is fast shipping. What’s interesting is customers are willing to spend more for speedy delivery.
If you sell gourmet chocolates, a last-minute shopper might fork over twice the original price to ensure overnight delivery. If you don’t offer overnight delivery, that customer will find an eCommerce service that does.
Same day delivery is the latest trend which is expected to grow epidemically, primarily because of its unique modus operandi of time management. It is a trend which is supposed to elevate the bar of service along with the conversion rates which eCommerce dreams of.
The main question which pops up is “Are you willing to pay extra for assured delivery on the same day of order?”.
Psychologically, we all like novelty and new purchases in one way or another. Our brains are wired in such a way that our new purchase makes us excited. The sooner we get to touch our product, the faster we are satisfied with the purchasing experience.
This psychological fact stands true for the eCommerce-means too. The buyer absorbs the cost, and the shipping company makes it happen.
More Delivery Options: Going Beyond Free or Fast
So, we’ve discussed “Free” and we’ve discussed “Fast.” But that’s not where things end. In truth, the more delivery options you provide, the better.
Your checkout page might feature free ground shipping*, $5 three-day shipping, $15 two-day shipping, and $40 overnight shipping. These price points will undoubtedly fluctuate depending on the weight of the products you are selling and the distance of the delivery address.
It provides the buyer with a plethora of options for balancing their preferences of price and speed.
Go Green with Environmentally-Friendly Packaging
Today’s shoppers are more environmentally conscious than ever before. They understand how too much packaging can be harmful to the planet.
First of all, by using sustainable packaging for your products you make your contribution to the environment protection and become a great example to follow. Wise usage of green packaging allows you to significantly reduce shipping costs.
Did you know that the average package contains about 40% of empty space? Larger-than-required boxes occupy more space in the carrier, eventually increasing carbon emissions and fuel usage. By using more compact packaging you cut down shipping expenses and make your products more attractive to customers.
It increases brand awareness, builds positive eco-friendly image and offers fantastic PR opportunities associated with minimal environmental impact.
While you might not be able to offer all these options right away, you certainly should plan for more shipping options.