Have you ever had a horrible experience getting a package? The actual shopping went great—you snagged a great deal, had a question or two answered by a helpful customer service agent—but all hell broke loose as soon as the package was sent out for shipping.
It’s no surprise that shipping matters, but it’s even more surprising that not enough merchants care about it. It is, after all, another integral step in the online shopping experience, and it can make or break the chances of your customers returning. Here’s how to maneuver that final frontier of online shopping.
Pick Your Poison—I Mean, Courier
Sisters, not twins: that’s how I think of my eyebrows and shipping couriers UPS and USPS. Different couriers will have different guidelines, depending on where you’re shipping, the size of the package, and the speed of its delivery. It’s easy to decide which company works best for you once you consider the attributes of your shipments.
Along the way, you’ll have to consider profitability and whether paying extra fees is worth it in the long run. Everyone loves fast and free shipping, but if your business is especially new, you may not be able to offer that. Never fear! That’s why there’s more to shipping than just the actual shipping process.
When my cat is feeling frisky she’ll sometimes present her butt to me, but with package shipping you’ll want to do a different kind of presenting. When you put your product into its box, you shouldn’t just throw it in there and then tape it up—you should give it a little TLC before you part ways with it forever.
A little gift wrap and tissue paper goes a long way. So do informative pamphlets, tools to keep the product clean (if it’s that kind of product!), and other freebies that are low-cost to you but can mean the world to your customer. Depending on what you’re producing, there may be no reason to throw anything extra in, but if that’s the case then even something as simple as diligently covering the product in bubble wrap shows that you care.
Keep ‘Em in the Know
I hate waiting. That’s why I never go to theme parks, never have attempted to purchase a cronut or rainbow bagel, and never go to the doctor (I’m kidding about that one). In fact, most people hate waiting so much, that 1 in 4 people will abandon a web page if it takes more than four seconds to load.
You’re going to want to have tracking info. You’re also going to want to send out emails informing them that their package has been sent out and when they can expect it. Now that might seem like Shipping 101, but I can personally attest to sometimes not receiving shipping emails, and let me tell you—it really sucks. It’s lead to a wild goose chase of me digging through the merchant’s website, searching for contact information, and having an overall unsatisfying experience because I couldn’t get through to anyone. Not fun!
You should always make the first move with each step of the shipping process, and you’ll not only keep your customers happy, but will actually have less work to do! Answering your customers’ questions before they can even think of them will make a world of difference, I guarantee it.
Wrapping It Up
You’d think shipping wouldn’t be such a headache, but it isn’t surprising that it leaves a very big impression on your customers. If this all seems stressful to you, remember that communication is key, and that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Your worst case scenarios are when deliveries are delayed, products are damaged, or even no-shows; by offering free replacements or deals, served with some friendly and personable customer service, even the unhappiest of customers can come back satisfied.
If you’re a new arrival to ecommerce, shipping may seem like a big to-do, but once you get used to the swing of things, perfecting a routine will be a breeze. What will you conquer next…? The world!