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How Shipping Can Strengthen Online Conversions & Your Overall Business Sales

February 21, 2018

Conversions – which are defined by BigCommerce as “the percentage of visitors that land on your website who complete a desired action” – are necessary to understand in order to reach your business objectives. Among online conversions to consider include customers making a purchase, items being added to their shopping carts, email signups, social media shares and more. Looking at your own website, what other actions do customers make that you can learn from? Among them should be the variables that are offered when it comes to shipping. To help clarify these details more specifically, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you offer free shipping as an option for your customers?
  • Is overnight shipping available for your consumers to choose from?
  • Are different carriers provided for your buyers to select from?
  • What else impacts the shipping choices you offer on your website?

Among the most discussed strategies of online merchants is the value – and challenges – that free shipping presents. To consumers, however, free shipping is black and white. When choosing to make a purchase that includes free shipping, customers feel as if their shipping costs are being saved entirely – yet really it’s savvy merchants having wrapped the cost of shipping into the price of the products being sold. The perception of this to consumers is what truly matters, however, and thus should matter to online sellers, as well. Whether it’s offering free shipping, providing overnight shipping services or more, there are a variety of variables to consider when it comes to strengthening your shipping online conversions – all of which also influence how consumers engage both immediately and long-term with your website.

To enhance your shipping strategies and strengthen these conversions along the way, consider the below three tips.

Tip #1: Establish a Baseline
Curious how well your customers will respond to free shipping? Or multiple shipping carrier choices? How about overnight shipping with flat-rate vs. package-rate pricing options? To help understand your target audience of consumers, introduce a baseline study on your website that measures the conversion rate of shoppers with various shipping strategies. Over the course of a suggested 7-day period each, compare your overall strategies – narrowing in on click-thru details that are directly influenced by efforts that promote your shipping options and of course, sales. The final details of this study can help you gauge the importance of free shipping, multiple carriers and other shipping factors that are valuable to your unique audience. Additionally, this one-of-a-kind-to-you study will set a baseline for you to move forward in your shipping conversion goals.

Tip #2: Introduce Minimums & Restrictions in Your Shipping Efforts
Whether it’s identifying a minimum price for free shipping to be effective or excluding certain products from overnight or free shipping options entirely, it’s important to identify upfront what is – and is not – included in your shipping efforts. Consumers don’t like surprises when it’s time for them to make purchase decisions, so make sure any minimums, restrictions or other highlighted details are easily understood on your website. Offering these details at the conclusion of product descriptions (when applicable) as well as within the online check-out space is a reasonable way to effectively communicate these details.

Tip #3: Adjust Your Shipping Strategy as Needed
Too often, e-commerce businesses settle into routines that are not beneficial to their operations. Whether it’s failing to have shipping insurance, not incorporating customer-friendly shipping options or neglecting to analyze conversion rates, overlooking core details in your shipping strategy can impact customer retention and sales.

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