It’s no mystery that e-commerce is a growing part of the revenue generated by businesses. In 2018, worldwide e-commerce sales represented 11.9% of all sales. If it continues that way, it would represent 17.5% by 2021. This makes sense, especially with younger generations for whom using the web as a purchase point is part of their habits.
That said, when thinking about going into e-commerce, there are many factors to take into account. Today, I wish to specifically talk about shipping — how it’s important to the purchasing flow and how it can help with the user experience and create ambassadors for your brand.
Pre-Purchase Shipping Influence
When purchasing a product online, consumers will often compare all of the implicated costs. Adding shipping into your pricing could help users more easily compare products and even give you an edge. However, if you have products that are at a low price tag, I would suggest showing your shipping prices separately.
While shipping prices can have a big impact on your brand value and product perception, they can also have a high impact on your margin. By negotiating a tight deal with your shipping supplier, offering smart routes and working with fulfillment suppliers, you can make a difference in your business and make it a real player in the e-commerce world.
If you have a high volume of shipping, you likely have a contract with your shipping supplier. You can negotiate the prices on this contract to ensure you get the best margin possible on each of your sales for the year.
Another pre-purchase influence to keep in mind is your return policy. When purchasing online, especially for clothing stores, it’s important to have your return policy available for users. Returns for e-commerce items represent up to four times the costs of regular returns in store.
Free returns may help with convincing the consumer to purchase, but don’t forget that it will also cut into your margins. If you are in the clothing industry, returns are a must. If you are in any other industry, returns should also be offered but specific to broken items and such. You could even push your luck and make sure that problems with products because of shipping are costs covered by your shipping supplier.
Post-Purchase Shipping Impact
In a world where subscription boxes have taken a stride in popularity, consumers are starting to expect a more personalized experience around their purchases. In fact, a McKinsey study on subscription boxes found that users bear more importance to the personalization of the box than the subscription and purchase process.
You could do this with a personal note, special packaging or some samples or freebies, for example. All of these have become the norm for consumers using e-commerce today. Including more personalized packaging also implicates extra costs for your shipping. Remember, it’s not necessarily about making the box flashy. Small, simple steps that make the person feel important can go a long way.
Optimal packaging that makes the user feel special at reception, with a product that is in one piece, can help create word of mouth and build awareness on social media and other channels. This is actually how you can help to create ambassadors out of your customers, too.
How To Capitalize
In this day and age, considering a shipping strategy is important. It’s not just about choosing a supplier that will do shipping or logistics for fulfillment for your business’s e-commerce orders. You need to keep track of what is being done at shipping and how your supplier is doing the job.
How much of the costs can you consider marketing costs? Are you open to that reality? How much can you negotiate with your shipping supplier, based on the measurable elements in your strategy (i.e., late deliveries, returns, etc.)?
Knowing if your shipping is efficient will allow you to be even more competitive and can also help with client acquisition, loyalty and stimulation. In a few words: Shipping is important, but you need a strategy!