Even during summer months, look ahead to how you'll prepare shipping products for a busy holiday shopping season that could overwhelm you with an influx of online shoppers.
You’re deep in the hazy summer days of August and you’re focusing on what’s in front of you right now. But forward-thinking online merchants look ahead to the holiday shopping season when a myriad of decisions will crop up, such as establishing a sound shipping and delivery strategy.
You should decide first on which road to head down: free shipping, flat price shipping, or extra-cost shipping.
Free shipping isn’t always an inexpensive option, even with the discounted rates you receive through USPS, UPS, DHL Express, Canada Post, etc. If you want to offer free shipping to everyone, you need to analyze how it affects your margins and what rates you’re on the hook to cover—including what it costs to ship your heaviest items and shipping to your furthest locations.
But, it’s not all or nothing when it comes to free shipping. You could offer free shipping during a certain period of the holiday shopping season, say in early December, perhaps through a free shipping coupon code to your current customers to encourage repeat orders. Or you can offer free shipping above a specific order size to increase your average order value.
Flat shipping is set around a price that will cover most of your shipping costs, most of the time, and allow you to be ready to cover the cost for particularly expensive shipping options or items. Also, flat rate shipping often leads to higher conversion rates at checkout, compared to carrier-calculated rates.
With extra-cost shipping, customers can view exactly what it’ll cost to ship their order and pay for it when they check out. It’s recommended to install an app that offers 360-degree transparency on shipping costs and delivery times, which customers always value: 67% of consumers said they wanted real-time visibility into the location of their Christmas presents from the moment the online order was processed. Also, delays in delivery exceeding two days angered 38% of consumers, who said they would look elsewhere for the product in those cases.
Online businesses always thrive by making it as effortless as possible for customers to enjoy (and receive) their products.