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How Shipping Shapes the Shopper Experience

Ecommerce shipping is no longer a logistical afterthought when selling online – it shapes the entire shopper experience.

Ecommerce shipping is no longer a logistical afterthought when selling online – it helps shape the entire shopper experience. Slow or expensive shipping has a significant impact on purchasing decisions, and springing unexpected policies on shoppers at checkout is a leading cause of cart abandonment. At a time when consumers expect instant gratification in every aspect of their lives, the speed and convenience of product delivery makes all the difference. 

If you are one of the many retailers investing in fast, reliable order fulfillment, you are already taking steps to meet shoppers’ heightened expectations. But, are you broadcasting your shipping perks effectively? Read on to learn more about how your shipping policy can provide a better shopper experience.

Why Your Shipping Policy Matters

When it comes to placing an order, consumers expect two things from your shipping:

  1. It should be fast.
  2. It should be free.

Unexpected delivery costs are the leading cause of cart abandonment. 61% of shoppers say they are likely to abandon their purchase if they have to pay for delivery. On a positive note, 93% are encouraged to buy more items if free shipping options are available. 

Speed is another deciding factor. 36% of online shoppers cite delivery times as a reason for abandoning a purchase. The standard for fast shipping times? 1-2 days is the time to beat by a long shot.  

Of course, “fast and free” doesn’t work for every business and there are other ways to meet and exceed delivery expectations to provide still provide a top-notch shopper experience.

Minimum Spend

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A great substitute for unconditional free shipping is to implement a minimum spend to qualify. Run a promotion such as free delivery on orders over $50. If completely removing all delivery fees is impractical for your business, crunch the numbers to see if a certain level of customer spend would make it possible. As an added bonus, this approach acts as an upsell incentive that can boost your average order value

Free Delivery for Members

man reaching through a screen to deliver a package

Another qualifier for free delivery is to provide it as part of a VIP or membership package. For new visitors to your site, try offering free delivery on their first order if they subscribe to your newsletter. If targeting repeat customers, include free delivery in your loyalty or subscription program. In exchange for covering customers’ delivery fees, you’ll access valuable data and incentivize repeat purchases. 

Be Flexible

Plan A and B crossed out with Plan C underlined

It comes down to good old customer service with this one. If your store has brick-and-mortar locations, offer in-store or curbside pickup. For large goods that require customers to be home to accept the shipment, allow them to choose a delivery slot that suits their schedule. Providing a variety of flexible or customizable shipping preferences can be just as beneficial to the shopper as free delivery, if not more so.

Three Ways to Incorporate Shipping in the Shopper Experience

Once your delivery policy is perfected, follow these three tips to integrate it into the shopper experience. 

1. Make Shipping Policy Searchable

Your site search functionality isn’t just for products. Shoppers turn to your search bar to find information like shipping timelines, return policies, contact information, and more. Make sure all of these critical pages are set up to appear instantly with relevant keywords. 

2. Provide Shipping Filters

If your brand offers express shipping on some items but not others, make it easy for customers to narrow these products down. The same goes for if you offer curbside pickup or “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) options – include this in your category filters. 

3. Highlight Shipping in Merchandising

Whatever your shipping perks may be, highlight them in your merchandising. Place badges on products that qualify for express shipping or in-store pick up. Banners can be used to draw shoppers’ attention to shipping-related membership perks, as well as any minimum spend requirements for free delivery.

Bonus tip: make it even easier for customers to reach a spending threshold by featuring cross and upsell recommendations on product pages. 

Turn Ecommerce Shipping Into a Competitive Differentiator

When it comes to ecommerce shipping, don’t hide your policy away in the footer. Integrate your shipping options throughout the shopping journey to improve the customer experience and incentivize shoppers to take action. By using search, merchandising, and filters to your advantage, your shipping becomes a competitive advantage.