Choosing the right shipping options for your business

Choosing the right shipping options for your business

It may seem like you only have one option when it come to shipping your products to customers, but this is not the case. Payed shipping calculated at checkout is not the only option you are able to offer, in fact it is the one that tends to turn customers away more than any other due to its uncertainty. Many shoppers will abandon their purchase, basket full or not, if they do not see any indication of shipping before they make their purchase or at any point during the early stages of their checkout. This is due to this late delivery of shipping price being commonly linked to a surprise high shipping fee that the retailer was trying to hide until they were fully committed to their purchase. Save yourself from losing customers and try exploring the shipping options listed below, you may just find one that suits your business well and stops your customers from running for the door in fear of your impending charges.

Free shipping

A seemingly horrible idea for a lot of companies, free shipping can actually do a lot for a business considering the money is could end up costing them in paying customers shipping fees. This is because it is a great way to get buyers attention, whether it is to drag them into your store in the first place with some advertising promoting the benefit or to lock in that sale with potential customers already on your website with homepage or category banners. It can serve as great publicity all around and put you in your customers good books when it comes to reasonable pricing. Put simply free shipping makes customers happy and is commonly a benefit that they are looking for from the offset so to not offer it could be doing you some damage. It is fast becoming the norm in many stores and shoppers are getting accustomed to it, shaping their idea of what online shopping should be. A huge benefit is that it makes you look cheaper than your competitors, and gives you a large benefit over them if it is not something they currently offer. However if they offer it and you don’t, it could have the opposite effect on your brand name.

Choice of free or paid

If offering free shipping is not ideal for optimum delivery times due to cheaper rates being a slower service or you shipping items out in bulk try offering two shipping options simultaneously. The first being a free service that offers a slightly longer than desired shipping time that allows you to still ship in the way you normally would for free shipping without the consequences of delays. Shipping free items together in bulk to save yourself some money in exchange for a little understanding from your customers. Whilst having the other option as paid shipping, which offers the luxury of a faster shipping time for a set fee. The charge must be a set fee to make it more reasonable to charge the customer and make it known that this option will get the item to the customer at a faster rate than free shipping as it will be sent earlier or faster as shopping has been payed for by them. Having both of these options mean that shipping is optimised for both the customer and your company and gives them the choice to choose.

Free for set basket total

Where free shipping on smaller orders is completely out of the question, try offering free shipping for orders that add up to a basket total over a certain amount. It saves charging people who are already making large orders extra to ship their goods and makes it worthwhile absorbing their shipping costs. It can also act as an incentive for other customers to spend a little more in order to receive the free shipping. For example, if the minimum amount for free shipping is £50 and a customer has £40 worth of items in their basket, they are likely to add in another item to make up the difference rather than pay for the shipping as they then get an extra item for the money rather than nothing. Which gives you as a company more revenue as the money they spend on the extra item would be going to you, not couriers. It could even offer shoppers who hate shipping fees an excuse to throw in a couple extra items for the sake of it if they are a larger sum away from the required basket total. Whatever motivates a customer to take advantage of the deal, it pays to have the option there as it gives them a sort of goal to work toward in order to receive a benefit.

Flat rates

In circumstances where any kind of free shipping is not a viable option for your business, this does not have to be an issue. It simply means that you will need to put more effort into making your shipping prices clear, this will mean having a flat shipping rate that customers are able to find somewhere on your website without having to go through checkout. The charge should be the same regardless of product or quantity of products purchased. This is because there would be no way otherwise to show them a confident set in stone price for their shipping which would likely put them off waiting until checkout to find out the surprise total of their order. Since your customers are actually paying for this shipping there should be no excuse for slow delivery times, orders should be delivered promptly in order to live up to a reasonable standard of service that is expected with paid shipping. This honest open pricing and good delivery times will eventually build up a level of trust with your customers as you are not hiding information and are providing good service for their money.

Add to price to items

An alternative to showing a set price for all shipments is to work out the cost of shipping each item individually and then to add that price to the items individual price. This method works better if you are selling your own branded products, as if you are competition with other companies this is likely to make you look unnecessarily expensive in comparison as many shoppers will not be interested in coming onto your website to notice your free shipping. This would then give your competitors the advantage as you would effectively be taking yourself out of the running. However if you are selling your own branded products then there should be no problem. It keeps customers happy as it seems as if there is no shipping charge for them to pay, and they can be confident that the prices they see on your category pages are what they are going to be paying. No unexpected costs will appear and it will come as no cost to your company as the customer will still be paying the shipping charge themselves.

About the Author
Laura
Content Manager