Guide to Shipping

Anthony Spallone -

The Importance of Shipping

There are many important aspects to running an online business: creating and implementing a marketing strategy, managing social media, writing emails, balancing the books, managing and ordering inventory — the list goes on and on.

And while shipping may be low on your list of priorities, it can make or break your business.

Unfortunately, many ecommerce store owners either dismiss shipping as unimportant, don’t spend enough time thinking through their strategy, or willfully avoid it altogether due to its complexity.

Without a shipping strategy, you could end up with an unprofitable business. Even once you have a good strategy, choosing the wrong shipping partner means your customers could have a poor experience and never return — or even worse, share negative feedback. Remember, once your shipment has left your fulfillment center, your brand is now subject to the service level of your shipping provider.

Here are just a few ways a sound shipping strategy and dependable partners can improve your business.

Decrease abandoned carts

Abandoned shopping carts are the bane of ecommerce. It’s obvious the shopper is interested in the product — after all, she made it all the way to the checkout page before leaving your store. Although there are many things you can do to encourage shoppers to complete a purchase after they leave, it’s best to get them to buy the first time.

It’s widely reported that high shipping cost is the most frequent reason for cart abandonment. Other shipping-related reasons cited for abandonment include:

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% Among U.S. Online Shoppers (June 2014)

Chart showing the top reasons for onlie shoppers abandoning their carts.

The number 1.

Shipping costs made the total purchase more than expected

The number 2.

I was not ready to purchase but wanted to get an idea of the total cost with shipping for comparison against other sites

The number 3.

I was not ready to purchase, wanted to save the cart for later

The number 4.

My order value wasn't large enough to qualify for free shipping

The number 5.

Shipping and handling costs were listed too late during the checkout process

The number 6.

The estimated shipping time was too long for the amount I wanted to pay

The number 7.

I didn't want to register/create account just to make a purchase

The number 8.

My preferred payment options (i.e. bank transfer, debit card, PayPal, Google Checkout) was not offered

Source: UPS/comScore

Decrease operational costs

By taking the time to vet your shipping options, crunch the numbers and develop a shipping strategy you can greatly impact your business's bottom line. Not only will you ensure your shoppers convert at checkout which equates to more revenue, but you will save yourself a great deal of time and hassle. Even a little planning and research can make a big impact.

Encourage repeat business

Not only will you better convert shoppers into buyers, but you’ll be more likely to turn those buyers into repeat business. On average, it costs 6 to 7 times more to to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer coming back for more which means you’ll want to do all you can to nurture your clientbase.

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