If you have been running an eCommerce site for a while you probably know that shipping can make or break a business. It will dictate your online sales growth rate. Between your local competition, vertical competition, or the eCommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart you are probably scrambling to understand how to increase online sales. Shipping is one area I find most eCommerce stores should focus on in order to add value and even win over new customers.
The three typical eCommerce shipping mistakes I find are:
1. Not offering free shipping
At this day and age, customers expect free shipping. How can you make up for los revenue, you’re asking? the quick answer is that the shipping cost should be included in the product profit margin. It is as simple as that. Why do you think that Zappos grew so big in such little time? one of their strengths was to offer FREE shipping both ways, no questions asked.
Offer free shipping: you may decide on a minimum, or limit the free shipping offer to specific products. Typically light-weight & high margins type products work best for free shipping however it may not work for your particular business. Alternatively, you may want to limit it by ZipCodes Whatever you decide make a free shipping option.
2. Using branded shipping options
If your store shows ‘USPS’ or ‘FedEx’ etc. as your shipping options then you are missing out on serious savings to you and eventually to your customers. What do I mean by that? when you get an order that the shipping address is about 100 miles away from your physical store, it is very likely that sending a small envelope or package via USPS will get there the next day or two days max. So, if the customer requested expedited or fast 1-2 day shipping you may be able to ship with USPS instead of FedEx 2-day or 1-day and pay a fraction of the price. This logic can apply across all of your shipping offerings.
You can take this further and draw a map, typically with certain circles around your location of which services cover 1-2 day shipping, 2-4 days shipping, 4-7 days shipping. These should be your options for shipping and they can be white labeled as FREE or economy shipping, expedited shipping, and overnight shipping.
3. Not using your local advantage
You may not realize it but you can always beat the big retailers with your local advantage. Beginning with your own zipcode, who else can offer free in-store pickup? Plus, once you get a customer in your store there is an extra element of customer service or socializing that if done right can help you keep this customer for a long time and possibly serve as a network affect.
To conclude, there is a lot that can be improved when it comes to shipping options and improving that aspect of the customer experience can add tremendous value to your eCommerce store.