How Shipping Can Give You a Competitive Edge

(This article was written by Devin Johnson for Total Retail).

How many times have you put items in your cart and started the checkout process only to see a $10 shipping charge and close your browser? What about when you look at the options and realize there's no overnight for the item you need right away? More than likely you shut off the computer, get in your car and try to find a feasible replacement at a nearby store.

Shipping cost and delivery options have a major impact on a consumer's decision to click that final "Submit Your Order" button. That's why it's so important to provide the most effective and reliable e-commerce shipping options to your customers.

In the end, satisfying and retaining customers is one of the most vital parts of running a business. Buyers rely on great customer service, and a big part of that is the safety, timing and price of receiving their product(s). Customers that suffer a bad experience when it comes to shipping may choose not to buy from you again. Building an effective and reliable e-commerce shipping strategy will help to set your company apart from the competition.

Give Customers Options They Can’t Refuse

If a customer reaches the payment page and is suddenly faced with a lack of shipping options or high shipping costs, they’ll look elsewhere until they find an acceptable price. It may not exist, but they'll keep looking until they find it. If they can’t, consumers will often decide to abandon that purchase for good. Being able to offer up everything from economy to expedited services both domestic and internationally will stop consumers from having to leave your site for another to find better shipping options.

Fast and Reliable Shipping Will Win Customer Loyalty  

A great goal for any e-commerce business is to continually increase customer retention rates. Meeting and exceeding expectations will win your customers over. The ability to track a package and confirm a delivery is a great way to ensure trust in those buying from you. Furthermore, if you have the ability to get the product to the customer in less time than they expected, they'll likely continue buying from you in the future.  

Finding a Sweet Spot Benefits You and Your Buyers

Shipping is all about price and transit time. The key is finding the point between acceptable transit times and pricing for your customers that still allows you to make money. As companies evolve, they're all trying to find the fastest shipping for the cheapest rate. Right now, everyone wants to compete with “free shipping,” but who can offer free shipping if it eats into their margins? This is why providing things like delivery tracking and transit options will help you to combat this issue.

It's tough for any business to determine the best shipping options for the company and its customers. Set aside time to plan the best e-commerce shipping strategy for your unique business. Research different shipping options, including technologies that can help you determine which carriers will be help you find the shipping sweet spot for you and your customers. Each business is different, and finding the most effective shipping for you will help you to gain a competitive edge in the eyes of consumers.