Consumers are not patient when it comes to online shopping. In fact, e-commerce exists because of our impatience — rather than drive out to a store and wait in line, we can now shop anytime, anywhere.
Quick, cheap shipping matters. In fact, according to BigCommerce’s survey of 3,000 consumers, 36 percent said they would give up alcohol for free shipping; 25 percent would stop drinking coffee, and 22 percent would get rid of Netflix. In addition, 77 percent said they have chosen not to make a purchase due to a lack of convenient shipping options.
Amazon has revolutionized the shipping industry with same-day shipping, drone usage and Sunday deliveries. In fact, Amazon even has a patent for “anticipatory shipping,” which means they can ship products out to consumers before they even order them, based on algorithms that determine what someone is most likely to buy.
However, you don’t have be Amazon to encourage consumers to make a purchase. Here’s how you can use shipping to help your company succeed, both during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year:
Offer free shipping whenever possible.
Think about ways that you can incorporate shipping costs into your pricing. Consumers are more likely to buy if you offer favorable shipping options. Most are used to seeing options for free shipping. Even free 3–5 day shipping can help encourage shoppers to make a purchase because they will feel like they are getting a deal.
Display shipping options front and center.
Be open about your shipping policies and how long it will take to ship a product. A consumer will be understandably upset if shipping takes longer than the amount of time they were initially promised. Most people would rather know that shipping is going to take a few days than be told their purchase will ship quickly and then be disappointed.
Surprise and delight.
However, a consumer will never be angry if their purchase arrives sooner than expected. If you can, take the opportunity to ship faster than you report. Customers appreciate unexpectedly fast shipping — and they will be more likely to buy from you in the future if they know their package might ship quicker than the shipping option they actually selected.
Encourage customers to track their packages.
Package tracking gives customers a sense of control over their purchases. Encourage your consumers to stay up to date by providing them with a tracking number through your shipping provider. That way, they can rest assured that their purchase is on its way, and they can plan for someone to be available if it has to be signed for.
Encourage customers to leave reviews.
Reviews will not only help you get more business, but they will give potential customers proof of your quick and reliable shipping. A brand can say all they want about their amazing shipping options, but consumers know that customer reviews will give them an honest perspective. The more positive reviews you have, the more reputable your brand will be in the eyes of shoppers who have never purchased from you before.
Of course, convenient shipping options aren’t enough to attract and retain customers. You must also offer quality products and exceptional customer service. However, quick and affordable shipping is probably near the top of your consumers’ wish lists this holiday season. Providing it can help you surpass your competitors, while helping you build up a loyal customer base that stays with you all year long.