Your shipping policy, consumer preferences and communications


A recent survey revealed consumers’ views on shipping policies and what they look for when shopping, and be ready to gasp. As it turns out, shipping matters.

When we talk about an ecommerce shipping policy, free shipping might be the first thing that comes to mind, and for good reason – the majority of consumers expect it. Almost two out of three of them won’t buy from an ecommerce store that doesn’t offer free shipping as an option. But free shipping isn’t the only thing they care about.

While almost half of all consumers are willing to spend enough to meet the free shipping threshold, shipping speed is becoming an increasingly important factor in the purchasing decision. Including the average delivery time in shipping policies is one of the top two things consumers want to see on a checkout page. However, as it turned out, traders reported that fewer than half of them provided this information.

Both the cost and speed of shipping are important to buyers. This is an opportunity for brands.

How brands can benefit from shipping speed

Offering free shipping, even at a spending threshold, is the first step. Step two, showing estimated shipping times, is a hidden weapon in an ecommerce brand’s marketing arsenal. Actively and visibly promoting not only free but also fast shipping across your channels gives them what they want, helps build consumer trust and leads to purchases.

E-commerce retailers should promote this customer-desired added value in each of their marketing channels. For email and SMS, this is especially true for messages with a high purchase intent, e.g. B. Cart abandonment, browser abandonment and welcome messages. All of these target consumers at points where they are likely to have high purchase intent but need a little more convincing. Knowing when to expect their order may be all they need to secure a sale.

This active advertising applies regardless of the industry. A recent marketing report showed that industries with some aspect of personal enjoyment, such as hobbies and free time and food and drink, performed better in email marketing than those without. In contrast, verticals more prone to price comparisons, such as fashion/apparel and consumer electronics, underperformed.

Those in high-converting industries can use this strategy to keep increasing their performance even if they enjoy a performance edge. For those in industries where competition and price comparisons are high, actively advertising estimated delivery times can be a deciding factor for shoppers deciding who to buy from in a crowded, mostly uniform sea.

No Promotion of Shipping Speed: A Cautionary Tale

The failure to communicate time slots in your shipping policies, which is unfortunately still widespread in the industry, harbors risks. It can cost you first sales, weigh on repeat customers, and increase negative reviews.

I recently bought for the first time from what appears to be a newer company. After looking at the domestic location on their “Contact Us” page and social media pages, I was fully expecting a “standard” shipping time.

From then on it went downhill. I received the shipping confirmation email three days after processing my order. To my surprise, the order was shipped from China and would take two weeks to arrive. That might as well be an eternity for today’s consumer. As a consumer, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

I was upset with this perceived “place deception”. I have given the store a negative review which can be especially detrimental for a new brand. I will not be a repeat customer. Worst of all, knowing in advance it would be two weeks might not have been a deal-breaker for me, but that wasn’t what I was supposed to believe. As they say, perception is reality.

Understand how important your shipping policy is to consumers

While most brands know that free shipping is important to consumers, shipping speed has also become a key value factor (thanks Amazon!). Working to highlight and promote both to consumers gives them one less reason to abandon their cart and complete their purchases with confidence.

Greg Zakowicz is a Senior Ecommerce Expert for Omni Shipping

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