Ecommerce Shipping Options That Improve Sales

For a customer shopping online, finding an item they like and having it show up on their doorstep is as easy as a click and a few keystrokes. In an ideal world, every store would offer same-day shipping that was absolutely free—without hurting their bottom line. Or maybe the packages would be delivered on magical flying pigs. Alas, in reality, order fulfillment takes both time and money. So how can you can hit the sweet spot and provide a positive customer experience while allowing your e-store to stick to its budget.

Let’s take a closer look at a few ecommerce shipping options that can help improve sales.

Free Shipping

The holy grail of fulfillment, some web-based retailers avoid offering free shipping because they assume they’ll have to eat the costs themselves. Still, it’s worth weighing the benefits versus the costs of free shipping precisely because it’s proven to be so important to customers.

In a survey studying why customers abandon their online shopping carts, high shipping and handling costs accounted for 44 percent of conversion failures. This means even if your shoppers find an item they like, add it to their cart and fully intend to purchase it, seeing the delivery fees at the end may scare them away. By the way, 22 percent of cart abandonment also stems from shipping fees being listed too late in the process.

So, while offering free shipping may look daunting from a business perspective, it likely wouldn’t cost your company more than the missed conversions shopping cart abandonment brings.

One way to mitigate cost is to offer free shipping over a certain price threshold. It’s a win-win: the customer gets the merchandise they want without delivery fees and your store experiences higher Average Order Values (AOV) when shoppers add more items to their cart to hit the threshold.

Packaging Matters Too

There are a number of creative (and cost-reducing) options available when it comes to packaging. Most delivery services like UPS and FedEx calculate the cost of packages by weight and size. Obviously, some items require large, sturdy boxing to make the journey safely. But other items could ship more cheaply in smaller boxes or bags. It’s worthwhile to examine all your options and choose the most secure, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option.

You’ll find through an enterprise ecommerce solutions comparison platforms like Shopify simplify the shipping process by helping with steps like creating labels. A user-friendly online sales platform should also make the checkout process easy for customers, including laying out their shipping options clearly with prices, expected delivery dates and possible restrictions.

Free vs. Fast: Who Wins?

Getting back to free shipping for a moment, the cost of shipping is only one of the delivery-related factors to consider. There is also speed. Your customer likely doesn’t want to wait two weeks for their package to arrive; the reason they came online was so they could get an item quickly, just in time for an upcoming event.

So, is it more important to prioritize fast or free shipping?

Drum roll please…

Deloitte found 87 percent of shoppers consider free shipping to be a more important promise than fast shipping (which is what the other 13 percent preferred). For reference, most shoppers consider delivery within two days “fast.”

The Takeaway?

Do whatever you can to offer free shipping. You’ll reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates and impress your customers with your shopper-friendly policies. Plus, with a price threshold in place, you’ll ensure each package generates enough revenue to justify the extra shipping costs.

Shipping should be treated as more than an afterthought. It can be the make or break factor between getting to the finish line and watching a transaction slip through your fingers. With that in mind, employing these proven ecommerce shipping options will improve your sales.