How shipping offers can impact your ecommerce site
Starting an online operation can feel like a difficult and daunting task. While there are many pieces to the puzzle of successfully assembling an ecommerce operation, owners should approach the project by addressing one step at a time. The technical and IT infrastructure must be addressed as well as the website and ecommerce platform.
The next logical step is to partner with the right payment processor. Online shopping needs to be easy to use, with the checkout process being a seamless interaction. The technology behind the scenes is just as important as the creation of a visually appealing digital storefront.
Shipping is critical for ecommerce
Inventory management and supply chain logistics are the keys to online retail today. Business owners need to consider the customers’ experience of a website in conjunction with the design of the site. Shipping and inventory management are the bridges that connect what your brand is promising and the customer's needs. An on-time delivery can help create a sense of trust with your clientele, which could lead to repeat purchases down the road.
Delivering on discounted or free shipping is equally as important which highlights the need to invest in the right inventory management software. In the past, small businesses had to deal with multiple parties to get an ecommerce operation up and running. However, thanks in part to new technology, you can consolidate many of these pieces into one management suite. Ecommerce software providers have open-ended platforms that can integrate with inventory management and online payment processing systems.
If you have an organized and comprehensive view of your inventory, it can alleviate some of the obstacles with shipping. By focusing on the back-end operations of your ecommerce operation, you'll be able to ensure quality customer service and build a trustworthy name in your given market.
Free shipping for the win?
Some business owners consider marking products up slightly and offering free or discounted shipping. An infographic compiled by ecommerce platform Bigcommerce and cited by HubSpot revealed free shipping was the second-most important purchase decision for consumers, with 49 percent noting it led to completing a transaction.
Unexpected shipping costs are a primary driver for shopping cart abandonment, which may explain why companies offering free shipping is on the rise. Separate data from comScore found close to 60 percent of domestic ecommerce transactions in Q1 2014 received free shipping as part of the order.
A recent Experian Marketing Services study placed shopper respondents into six different buyer categories based on their feedback. 34 percent of customers - the highest amount of any categorization - fell into the "deal indifferent" category, or those who are unlikely to change their buying behavior just because of a deal. The best way to win these customers is through consistent and quality shipping, not by offering the lowest prices.