Imagine waiting in line at your favorite drive-thru restaurant and it’s your turn to order, so you place your order with the attendant. You pay, and at the next window you get your food and you pull off. You can smell the goodness coming out of the bag as it aromatizes your car leaving your mouth watering.
To indulge or not indulge is the question!
Since you can’t take it any longer you decide to grab a few fries just to settle your hunger pains. I mean who doesn’t love a good hot fry! Right?! But wait, as you grab the fries, they are cold! How could this be when you waited for a massive amount of time in the drive-thru line just to receive cold fries. In my opinion, nothing is more infuriating than something being wrong with my food.
Now, imagine if your customer orders a product from you and had a delay in shipping or had to wait several days after being told that the item would be received within a certain time frame.
Is this the experience you want your customers to have when they work with your brand. The answer is an obvious NO. It’s not a good feeling, right? As a business owner, your top priority is to make sure your customer has a great experience from beginning to end.
When a customer decides to make a purchase, it’s a huge decision. They have faith that you as the brand will follow through with your brand promise. Anything that gets in the way of this can have a negative impact with the customer.
From the time the item leaves your home, the store, or from a warehouse to when the item is received by your customer is all out of your hands. As we know, a business cannot operate without a trusted, reliable, shipping partner.
The interaction between your brand and the experience goes well beyond the interaction of adding a product to the cart or completing the check-out process. During the process, whether your customer is a first-time buyer or a repeat customer, it’s important to wow them.
Remember the delivery is the last piece of the customer’s journey. Therefore, you want to offer a seamless experience from the first interaction of landing on your website to the last step of receiving the product. During this process the value and integrity of your brand is captured and the customer wants to make sure you are upholding your end. Even one bad experience can jeopardize your brand.
The key piece that will set you up for success and allow for you to have a competitive edge is to make sure all brand messaging across all channels are the same, including and not limited to, your website copy, product descriptions, social media outlets, shipping and return policies as well as in your email funnels. When every piece is clear to the potential customer or the returning customer it’s likely to increase checkout conversions and builds brand loyalty and trust.
So, the question is, “How can you ensure you have chosen the right shipping partner”?
When you are selecting a shipping partner there are seven major factors that will help you decide if it’s the trusted shipping partner you should join forces with.
The seven factors are:
Understanding the customer-
If you have completed your market research, then you should have a full understanding of customer including: demographics, age, gender, occupation, and income. When deciding upon the shipping partner, it’s important to also understand the customer and their needs.
You want to consider the following:
How much are they willing to pay for
- How fast do they want their products?
Where do your customer live?
- (Continental US/International)
Understanding your product will help you to determine who you should select as your shipping partner of choice. Here are a few questions you will want to ask yourself and make sure you have answers to them when you are researching carriers. Answering the questions will help you to understand how you differentiate yourself from your competition in terms of dimension, weight, and price. Knowing how often you ship will determine the pricing of the partner you select. Completing market research prior to choosing your shipping partner will help you to understand your customer needs and how the shipping company can match these needs all before deciding to partner with them.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What products do I offer?
- How often will I ship?
- How heavy is the item?
How will you ship the item? (a box,
- flat envelope, padded envelope)
- What is the order value?
When potential customers are searching for a product, they tend to look for free shipping options. If someone is selling a product that is similar, and one is offering free shipping and the other one is not, then more than likely they will make the decision to go with the free shipping offer.
If at all possible, as a business owner, you do not want to see abandoned carts!
Did you know that offering free shipping tends to cease cart abandonment by 50%. HOLY MOLY!
All of this sounds great, but you as the business owner has to decide if offering free shipping is cost effective to your bottom-line profit margin. It’s important for you as the owner to make sure you are still generating income.
Sales are great if in fact you are making a positive impact to your bottom line. So, as a business owner, you want to eliminate any possibility of having an abandoned carts at check out.
If free shipping is something you want to consider, here are four possible options to make this happen:
1.Increase the cost of the product to cover shipping cost
2.Increase cost to cover half of shipping cost
3.Absorb the cost of shipping out of your own margins
4.Offer free shipping for a minimum amount of purchased items. In doing so, increases the average order size.
Remember the partner you choose will have complete control of getting the product into the hands of your customers, so checking the reliability of the carrier and their level of experience is absolutely necessary. Ideally you will want to choose a reputable company.
Speed and Condition:
As we think about the customer experience, it’s important to consider these two things when picking a partner:
Even if you don’t have complete control over what happens once the product is purchased and sent out, you want to keep the buyer’s experience in mind as this is how your company and product is being perceived from start to finish of your customer’s buying journey.
Speed is important because you want to make sure the item can arrive in an appropriate time frame. Often times customers may become impatient because they are used to the bigger companies that offer same day or two-day shipping. Therefore, your customer’s expectation is set high and they expect for you to deliver upon them. Understandably, you may not be able to offer freaky fast shipping, however choosing the right shipping partner can help you make the customer happy and continue to drive sales.
Additionally, condition is just as important because you want the product to arrive free of missing, lost or broken parts. Therefore, you will want to choose a carrier who delivers with perfection.
Do you only ship within the US? Do you ship to Canada? What about the UK or Australia? Perhaps, you live in Canada, Australia or UK and may want to ship to the US. Either way, location is a contributing piece when deciding the shipping partner of choice.
Here are questions to help you decide if you would like to consider shipping international:
Are your products suitable to be shipped
- there demand for your products in your target region?
- shipping services can you use?
- you informed about tariffs, duties and taxes?
- you investigated the restrictions your target region may have in place?
In order to make an informed decision, you have to make sure you have conducted research and know your customer’s needs. Conducting research ahead of time will help you to determine how the shipping partner you choose will meet your customer’s and company needs. So, when it comes to choosing a partner, you want to make sure you have one that you can depend upon. In those times that your package cannot make it to the end destination, you want to make sure you have one that can track, find a reason, and attempt to deliver or redeliver the package. Ultimately, choosing a shipping partner for your Ecommerce business comes down to your business goals, budget and operational requirements and your brand's value. Remember your brand value is determined from the first interaction all the way to the end. It doesn’t just stop with the customer adding a product to the cart or completing the check-out process. Creating a great customer experience and choosing a great shipping partner is sure to keep your customer happy and continues to drive sales.