How to decrease cart abandonment by providing shipping costs up front

Posted on Jan. 29, 2014 by @ship_cpc in Shipping Solutions

It’s a familiar scenario for online retailers. A customer browses around, adds items to their shopping cart, proceeds to checkout … and flees before the deal is done. You’re left with an abandoned cart and wondering  where it all went wrong.

You’re not the only one with abandonment issues. A recent study* found that in the last year, as many as 20% of Canadian e-commerce shoppers added and then abandoned their cart, with 64% of these shoppers saying this was due to the high cost of shipping itself.

Tell customers the shipping costs as early as possible

It’s no surprise that shoppers find it frustrating to have to enter all their login, address and credit card information just to see what the shipping costs will be.

Providing full or estimated shipping costs to online shoppers while still shopping – before they sign in or register – offers a better experience that can reduce cart abandonment.  The proof is in the numbers - 27% of online shoppers say they have abandoned their cart due to shipping costs not being provided prior to checkout.

There are two ways you can do this.

1. Display shipping rates on your home page

Shoppers don’t like to be surprised by the cost of shipping when they get to the end of the checkout process. You can eliminate this barrier by offering free or flat rate shipping right off the bat and displaying it on all pages on your site.  Some examples include:

  • FREE Shipping in the US and Canada
  • FREE Shipping on orders above $50
  • $5 flat rate shipping anywhere in Canada
  • Always $5 shipping on your entire order

Retailers using these methods usually absorb the difference in shipping cost with an adjustment to the product price.

2. Include a shipping calculator on each product page

If free or a flat fee isn’t an option (e.g. your products vary widely in weight and dimension), include a postal code shipping calculator on each product page on your e-commerce site. Ideally, the shipping costs will be updated each time the customer adds to or removes an item from the cart. An advantage of calculated rates is that you can offer multiple shipping options from ground to rush delivery.

decrease cart abandonment

With shipping rates, like anything on your e-commerce site, simple is always better.

What strategies are you using on your e-commerce site to show shipping costs up front to your customers? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

* Source: Canada Post Canadian Online Shopper Sensitivity to Shipping Costs Research Study, September 2015, n=4,037., : E-commerce Channel Report 2014, NPD Group, September 2014

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