Visiting brick-and-mortars gives customers an immediate sense of your business’s scale and size. Customers engage with your products, walk down your aisles, talk to the staff, buy their items and leave. You get the idea. The same tactile experience is unavailable when online shopping. Showcasing the scale and size of your business is more difficult to convey on a website. Online, you have to utilize better web design, U/X, thorough and engaging product descriptions, provide support. However, one area of planning that really yields good results for online businesses is a top-notch shipping strategy. To better understand what consumers look for in ecommerce shipping, ShipStation conducted a survey of close to 1,300 North American consumers. The study didn’t focus on any one particular group. We surveyed people from all walks of life and backgrounds to find shipping preferences and dislikes.
What we found was surprising. There are many think pieces out there outlining the importance of express shipping, but we found this to not be as true as you might think. Sure, torchbearer services like Amazon have reshaped how the average consumer thinks about shipping, but there are some nuances to it. And capitalizing on these expectations can help better protect your profit margins and attract new customers that will continue to buy from you.
How Services Like Amazon Changed Shipping
Customer anticipations around shipping are changing. As fulfillment time decreases and delivery efficiency increases, customers have heightened expectations. In fact, 70% of consumers now factor shipping cost and fulfillment speed into their final purchasing decision more than they did a year ago. 88% percent of consumers also agree that Amazon has changed how they anticipate the shipping process. However, Amazon doesn’t only impact the delivery speed. In fact, the majority of consumers anticipate waiting 3-4 days for their items to be delivered.
The major way Amazon has changed the way consumers think about shipping is how quickly an ecommerce business gets orders out the door. Shipping out items within 24 hours of the customer placing an order remains one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and elevate your brand’s image to customers. After all, customers don’t know what goes into fulfilling a package. If it is done effectively, it results in a positive experience. One major way to ship orders out quickly is to use a shipping software like ShipStation. Regardless of your business’s size, ShipStation offers ways to alleviate the headaches shipping can cause by making the process efficient and affordable. Managing and shipping orders from any platform you sell on greatly reduces fulfillment time and lets you get on to more important things.
How Gifts Impact Shipping
When it comes to buying for themselves, 85% of customers opt for the least expensive shipping option. However, 75% of consumers are willing to pay for a more express shipping option when buying gifts. Perhaps express shipping is a value-added service that consumers consider to be part of giving a gift. It could also be that consumers look at free shipping as a lower priority. As we near the holiday season, be sure that you offer a greater amount of express shipping options. Furthermore, as the holiday season starts c ming to an end, showcase which shipping options will shipping deadlines are for the services you offer.
Returns Are Important
While returns are not fun for you or your customers, a solid return strategy is a great way to attract customers. Unfortunately, ShipStation’s study found that 1 out of 3 shoppers plans on returning at least some of the items they order online—with customers treating This is probably why 72% of customers say that companies’ return policies influence their online purchasing decisions. With cart abandonment being so high already, a solid returns strategy could be the difference between someone buying from you or your competition.
Who’s to Blame for a Poor Shipping Experience?
Good or bad, shipping plays a big part in your brand’s image. While a lot of this goodwill is the result of the carriers doing their work and you shipping parcels out in a timely fashion, there is a flipside to this. Errors happen to everyone and when they do, customers usually trace these errors back to the seller. In fact, 75% of consumers feel that a poor shipping experience is the merchant’s responsibility. Whether a shipment is lost, damaged, or delivered late by the carrier, your customers are most likely going to reach out to you. Because of this, you should have a good plan in place for these customer disputes. Even if you are just rerouting them to the carrier to dispute the claim, you need to have empathetic positioning. Offering to help the customer through this can lead to more sales.
How Shipping Errors Can Increase Sales
If someone submits a support case to you about a poor shipping experience, acknowledge the issue. Something as simple as offering a promo code can be enough to lead to a positive review. 91% of consumers agree that this incentivizes them to shop with you again. Furthermore, 73% of consumers are likely then recommend the brand to family or friends if the shipping error is handled well.