Shipping Strategy

As we move through this pandemic, eCommerce is becoming more common and prevalent. Technology continues to advance, and government policies and regulations greatly influence how people shop. Businesses are changing, particularly those involved in retail outlets or online stores.

A survey revealed that more than 50% of customers feel uncomfortable shopping in-store. They prefer online shopping due to the increased restrictions imposed on in-person shopping. They have started searching for eCommerce websites to look for the products they want to buy. This behavioral shift is expected to cause a long-term change in the eCommerce market trends.

One of the challenges brought about by the increased demand for eCommerce sales is regarding the shipping strategy of the merchant. Business owners and eCommerce website owners need to be extra careful with their shipping strategies to avoid customer frustration and negative reviews about their services.

Even when a merchant does everything in their control to pick, pack, and mail an item as soon as they receive the order, they still have to rely on a shipping carrier to deliver the package to the customer on time. They also have to rely on the carrier to deliver the item in good condition. Hence, the courier you select plays a critical role in determining whether or not you have an effective shipping strategy. It contributes to the overall customer experience and how they perceive your brand.

However, there are specific actions you can take and tactics that you can apply to ensure you are using the right shipping strategy. This post is about identifying and analyzing these tactics.

Benefits of an Effective Shipping Strategy

When customers visit an online store, they might choose a product to buy and add it to their cart. They then go to the checkout page to make the purchase. This is where most of the conflict happens. When they see the shipping fee, they sometimes begin to question their purchase choice.

They might start thinking that the product is priced a bit higher than it should be. In this case, they might choose to either continue with their purchase or abandon the cart and leave the online store. More chances are that they will abandon the shopping cart. A research conducted by Baymard Institute revealed that the top reason users abandon their cart is unexpected shipping costs.

shopping cart on a website built on Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

This is why your shipping strategy is not just one of the costs of doing your business. It is something that can either work in favor of or against your store’s competitive edge. Building the right shipping strategy can give your organization many benefits. Some of these benefits are described below.

1. Provide Good Customer Experience

When you have an effective shipping strategy, you can set clear expectations for the customer. This will give the customer a positive and consistent shopping experience from your store. The best shipping strategies allow you to be as transparent with your customers as possible. The more transparent you are, the better customer experience you can create. These days you might face shipping delays due to external reasons, which are not a fault for your business. These include delays due to the pandemic, any natural disasters, or delays by the carrier. You are good to go as long as you keep the customer informed about any such mishaps. But if the customer is kept in the dark, they might end up frustrated and put the blame on your business.

Even if the delay is due to an internal aspect of your business, such as out-of-stock issues or the impact of high volume sales, the right shipping strategy will require you to inform your customer about it in a humble manner. If anything is holding up your customer’s package, the customer deserves to know. That is the purpose of a shipping strategy.

2. Increase the Average Order Value of Your Store

Shipping strategies allow you to develop promotions and sales offers around your shipping. These offers can serve as fantastic ways to increase the order value of customers, as they encourage them to buy more within the same transaction. For example, you could offer a free shipping service on a minimum purchase amount or on selected items in your store. You could also offer free shipping on all items but for a limited period. These tactics entice customers to mold their purchase in any way that enables them to avail the free shipping offer.

However, if these offers are causing a big drop in your profit margin, you need to switch to a different shipping strategy. The purpose is to increase your profit, not just the sales volume.

3. Grow Your Business

If you have an international shipping strategy, you can sell your products to larger audiences in different places worldwide. This will help you grow your business and build effective expansion strategies.

4. Increase Your Store’s Conversions

The right shipping strategy helps you to increase the conversions on your store. This is because the new customers can read the reviews written by your previous or existing customers. Most of your customers will write positive reviews if you always deliver your orders on time.

 positive customer review on a website built on Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Thus your new customers would know what to expect in terms of the product’s delivery time, the shipping fee, fulfillment options, and other aspects involved in shipping. This will make them feel confident about their purchase. Giving options to customers always helps make them more comfortable and encourages the sale. For instance, your shipping strategy can include options for a customer to go for local delivery or curbside pickup.

A Few Good Shipping Strategies

Here are examples of a few good shipping strategies that you can use and apply on your online store, in order to reap the benefits discussed above. But before reading these, keep in mind that the way you charge your customers for shipping is the most crucial component of a shipping strategy. That’s why these strategies are built on different ways to charge customers for the shipping costs incurred.

1. Offer Free Shipping

This is by far the most common type of shipping strategy. But the key is to implement it in a way that does not put you at a loss overall. As a business owner, you still need to profit from your sale no matter what. Hence, sometimes offering free shipping may not make sense. But if you have accurate information about your customers’ patterns, and you can foresee that offering them free shipping would make them purchase, again and again, you can consider including free shipping offers in your shipping strategy. At times, if your product has a good unique selling proposition, you can also account for your shipping costs in the product’s overall price. Therefore, the kind of pricing strategies you use also impacts the kind of shipping strategies you can adopt.

checkout page showing free shipping

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

2. Charge the Exact Shipping Cost

This sounds like the most feasible shipping strategy a company can use. When you charge the customer for the exact amount of shipping that you incur as your shipping cost, you are actually dealing with them fairly. But the customer might not feel that way. Customers usually perceive the shipping fee as part of the product’s total price, as they have to pay for it within the same transaction they make to buy the product.

shipping info on checkout page

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Applying this shipping strategy might empower your customer to choose the line of action that best suits their needs. For example, a customer who wants an order to arrive within a specific time frame might be willing to pay $15 to expedite its shipping. But another customer who would instead save a few bucks and wait a few more days for the package to arrive might go for the cheaper shipping option.

3. Offer Flat Rates

The third option of shipping strategy is to offer flat rates for shipping all the products you sell. You can also offer a different flat rate for a diverse range of weight or order totals. This means the rate will vary according to the order value or package weight but will always be flat and not in percentage form.

This method requires a little bit of experience to determine which rates will prove the most profitable for you. You don’t want to overcharge or undercharge your customers, so it’s best to make a little bit of trial and error before finalizing your flat rates for shipping. The way to do this effectively is to hit a rate that’s probably a bit over or under your actual shipping cost, but do balance out in the end once the order fulfillment is done.

Setting Up Shipping Fee in Strikingly

If your online store is built on Strikingly, you can set up your shipping fee according to your shipping strategy in your website’s editor.

To change your shipping settings, click on ‘Settings’ from the editor’s left panel. Then select ‘Store’ and ‘Shipping’.

shipping settings in the Strikingly editor

Image taken from Strikingly

Click the ‘Add Shipping Options’ link to set up different shipping strategies for other order volumes or package weights.

add shipping options in the Strikingly editor

Image taken from Strikingly

Note that you can always come back and change your shipping settings any time you like, as long as that doesn’t go against your website’s terms and conditions.

During this pandemic, a good shipping strategy is to offer curbside pickup options to your customers. You can add a note about this in the ‘Shipping Guidelines’ field.

By giving an option to your customers to buy on your online store and pick up at your retail outlet, you can increase the chances that they will level up their purchase when they visit your outlet and see more variety there. At the same time, this also gives you a better chance of creating customer satisfaction.

The point of building an effective shipping strategy is to satisfy your customers while making a profit out of your sales. Many businesses try out different shipping strategies before they figure out the one that gives them the most benefits. If you are running a business and selling products online, you might also need to try out a few different shipping strategies to determine which one works the best for you.

At Strikingly, we strive to provide you with the best experience of building and running a website on our platform. That’s why we have created the tools that allow you to automatically and easily adjust your shipping strategy and settings to suit your needs.

Having clear guidelines related to shipping makes your order delivery process transparent to your customers, which boosts customer satisfaction and encourages them to make repeat purchases. If you want to give clear shipping options and guidelines to your customers, create your online store on Strikingly today and start making online sales.