Present shipping calculations to customers before check out. Show the calculated shipping charges on pages that list the amounts of products purchased or on pages that appear even earlier in check out process . The goal should be to inform customers about shipping and handling costs as early as possible. You should also ensure that all relevant shipping rates and information are placed in a prominent location in your store so visitors can review the shipping information anytime.
I can think of several occasions when I have got as far as the checkout and abandoned as I thought the shipping excessive. One one site I later discovered that I could have dropped to a lower shipping band by reducing the order by 1 item - too late to save the sale.
Poor shipping calculation is a real killer for business purchases too, because you;re tying that cost to YOUR cost in products. Nothing ticks me off more than spending an hour looking for the best price on parts, only to have it come out being the WORST price, after they add shipping. I just had a nice one the other day. Bought a bunch of shrink tube... Shipping ops were UPS $9, USPS $6. I picked USPS. They said it was an estimate, and I figured it would be a little more. The receipt comes and it says $37. The stuff comes and I realize the idiots put two tiny strips of tube in a whole long box by itself, when they could have just thrown it in the other box. Then the guy added three pounds of stuffing. I'm not exaggerating... I weighed it.
So I call them up and complain... Their response? Basically... 'Oh well'.
Another Tip: Streamline the ecommerce checkout process
Make the checkout process simple and quick. Clearly label buttons for each step during checkout, and consider using a breadcrumb trail so that customers know exactly where they are in the checkout process. A lengthy, multi-page drawn out checkout process will surely encourage visitors to leave your ecommerce site.
Goal: Make it as easy as possible for customers to get to the final “Place Your Order” step!
It's crazy how many ecommerce sites do great not following best practices for SEO or shopping carts, but you wonder how much better could they do? I always wondered what blueprint or information database most ecommerce owners use when building out a business. A resource like this forum seems invaluable, but I'm sure it's not used to answer every little optimization question, so how without having prior knowledge of best practices do you make sure you're building a platform that's sustainable 5 or 10 years from now when you first put it together?
Seems like there's a lot of human intuition and a trust in partners that plays a big role, but is there a greater market need from merchants to build sustainable websites?
I think the most successful businesses in general, typically have one good mind working behind them. I think the bigger a company gets, the harder it is to control the details. And it's all about the details. Bottom line... It is virtually impossible to get a regular employee to care as much as someone who has a vested interest in the business. Then within those people, you can narrow the field further to how many of THOSE people, have enough attention to detail, to know what to do. But in a very large company, it is way too easy to have all kinds of stuff slip through the cracks, because it's very hard for anybody to take responsibility. Most employees either don't care... or if they do care, they get ignored.
Then on the other hand, it can sometimes be very hard to do everything you should, so I try to cut some people a break. I for one know that I am breaking some big-time golden rules as far as sites go. But I am small, and there's only so much I can do. I do the best I can. Sometimes I sit and wonder how much biz is slipping through the cracks. But I would make myself crazy trying any harder than I do. Sometimes you just have to live with imperfections. And I would imagine that... if you're running a biz that's bringing in hundreds of thousands a month... It's probably pretty hard to imagine that you might be seriously screwing something up.
There is often a large misconception between Abandoned and Idle Shopping Cart.
- 50% of Internet purchases are concluded more than an hour after the shopping cart was created - Avg. length of time varies greatly based on the product type - Carefully consider the right abandonment metric - Typically wait at least 24 hrs to contact recent shoppers
Free Shipping is indeed the most popular promotion in online retail and what we see among GoECart merchants but there is no such thing as "free" shipping - you'll hurt your profit margins if you use this promotion recklessly!
Question that may be worth pondering: What proportion of buyers realize that "free shipping" doesn't mean "the merchant eats it", it means "the cost of shipping is spread out among the cost of all products". So any given item may cost either more or less than it would if you charged separately for shipping.
Beware of the customer sneaky enough to do the calculation separately each time they buy something ;)
As a consumer I agree but...... Although not involved in directly selling product on-line I have been in business long enough to understand the vagaries of consumer behaviour - if the headline price is "high" because shipping costs are factored in then the average customer isn't going to get as far as thinking about shipping. Also factoring in shipping only works if costs are fairly consistent across your market - even in the UK it is normal to see free or fixed price shipping restricted to mainland locations.
I think the reason sellers pulled back on it compared to last year, is because they probably ran the numbers and realized it wasn't as good for them as they hoped. I think measuring success based on cart abandonment is misleading. So people go into the cart, see the total with shipping added, and it crosses over some number they have in their head, which determines whether they pull the trigger or not. So how does anybody know how many people just look at the price right from the beginning and do that as well? Seems like people are passing more importance to shipping, because they can see that people are leaving the cart. But what about people just leaving based on price anyway. So where do you draw the line? There's always going to be some reason why people do not buy something. You can't alleviate all of them.
Follow-up: Either some of youse guys are holding out on us, or this forum isn't completely representative, because you've barely touched on the worst scenario of all: The one where you have to click Buy or Order to find out how much the thing itself costs. I was reminded of it yesterday while looking at prices for a very well-known software package. The only visible price was the one for an upgrade for existing owners, and not one word about system requirements. (Conclusion: Users of one platform must be exceptionally flaky and irresponsible, because 100% of them leave the site at this point.)
It's become endemic in some areas. Try finding the prices of anything in the realm of "connectivity" (ISP, cable TV, telephone service and so on). Since shipping as such isn't an issue-- though time and cost of installation might be-- they're reduced to withholding the product/service price. If the customer has just moved to a new town and therefore has to buy something, this means that all business relationships will begin with an unhappy customer.
I think that's mainly a tactic that the largest service based corporations do. And yes, I doubt they have people on this forum. But that is true, they do that stuff. One would think it would be terrible for business, but since they're all in cahoots with each other... they all do it, and then it doesn't matter. Which is why reduced competition is bad, but that's another discussion.