7 Ways to Improve Your Customers’ Shipping Experience

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, and especially among mobile phone users, it’s more important than ever for merchants to focus on streamlining the order process and forging a positive connection with the customer. From branding on packaging to flexible shipping options, there are many tactics that retailers can use to turn an otherwise dull transaction process into one that generates positive feelings. Whether you currently offer shipping or you are thinking about starting, here are 7 ways you can create an exciting experience for your customers.

1. Offer Free or Discounted Shipping

Customers increasingly expect free or cheap shipping options, and they’re even likely to take their money elsewhere if they feel that they have to pay too much. There are many ways you can reduce shipping costs, for example:

  • Offer free shipping on sales over a certain amount
    Keep in mind how much your average customer spends to determine a sales amount that qualifies for free shipping. Try to aim for a number that is slightly higher than the average purchase, so that the customer feels incentivized to spend a bit more, but also feels that the amount is reasonable.
  • Offer promotional free shipping
    Try offering free shipping on all orders for a brief amount of time, and be sure to advertise it well through email and social media. This can push customers who are familiar with the brand and products to actually make a purchase.
  • Offer free shipping on certain items
    If certain products are cheap to ship and you’ll still make a profit, consider offering free shipping with purchase.
  • Offer free economy shipping
    If it’s within budget, your customers will love having a free shipping option, even if it’s slower. If the customer’s purchase is not time-sensitive, they’ll be inclined to save money.
  • Offer in-store pickup
    If free or cheap shipping just isn’t possible for your business, you can still prevent abandoned shopping carts by giving your online shoppers the option to pick up the item in-store, which will save the customer money and possibly time.

2. Use Creative Packaging

Packaging is a large expense, and while it’s important to compare packaging costs as much as possible to save money, you don’t want to cut corners too much on aesthetics. Research shows that a little over half of customers would make a repeat purchase from a company that delivers orders in premium packaging, and a large number would post pictures of such purchases on social media. Consider branded boxes, or, for a lower cost, you can use branded stickers or packaging tape. You can also include other creative accents such as colorful tissue paper or filler paper, or a customized note.

3. Display Estimated Shipping Costs Early On

No matter how much or how little you charge for shipping, customers appreciate knowing these costs as early as possible, so they don’t encounter a surprise at checkout. Try putting a banner on your page (i.e. free shipping on orders over $50), or add a shipping calculator in the beginning of the checkout process.

4. Give a Delivery Date Estimate

Customers want to know when their order will arrive, especially when there are several shipping options available. Providing delivery dates at checkout will satisfy customers and also prevent frustration from orders that were delivered later than expected.

5. Provide Tracking

Research shows that the majority of customers consider tracking information to be an important service. Keep customers in the loop by offering shipment updates via email or text.

6. Throw in Samples, Coupons, or a Small Gift

Everyone likes to be surprised! Show appreciation for your customers by rewarding them for their purchase. Include a coupon or gift card to be used for their next order, or put in a sample of one your products. This will not just please the customer, but it’s also a beneficial sales tactic- customers are more likely to buy something if they’ve sampled it or have a discount.

7. Free and Simple Returns

Customers are more inclined to buy if they know upfront that there are free and easy return shipping options. Conversely, shoppers are less likely to buy from the retailer again if they have to pay for return shipping. Improve customer satisfaction by making it easy for customers to send back the product. You can do this by including return labels in the package, or by emailing access to printable labels.