Offering shoppers a choice of shipping speeds can improve your bottom line

Posted on Oct. 11, 2016 by Canada Post in Shipping Solutions

As a pivotal piece of the e-commerce experience, an effective shipping pricing strategy can increase revenues and profitability by driving changes in customer behaviour.

Today’s online shoppers clearly crave more choices, convenience and control. So, when it comes to shipping, why not give them what they want?

READ ALSO: A lesson on how to offer free shipping with no restrictions without breaking the bank.

Taking a look at your shipping strategy isn’t just about how much you’re charging though. If you want to take your strategy to the next level, consider providing your shoppers with choice of delivery speeds.

Why? Their willingness to pay for speed can help offset your shipping costs.

Free may not always outweigh fast. Convenience is the most appealing part of online shopping. But, for many people, having to wait for days to receive an order is anything but convenient.

While most shoppers will choose the least expensive delivery option more often than not, many still expect to be presented with faster alternatives – and their expectations of an acceptable delivery time are shrinking.

More than nine of 10 shoppers consider “same day,” “next day” and “two day” delivery to be “fast,” according to consulting firm Deloitte’s most recent holiday shopping study.

At three to four days, only 63% labelled it “fast,” and just 18% of shoppers considered five to seven days to be in that category.

Increasingly, delivery speed matters. So much so that 16% of Canadian online shoppers admit they’ve abandoned their cart due to delivery times displayed at checkout being longer than desired, according to recent Canada Post research.

Tip. To learn more about how online shoppers' increasing expectations around shipping fees and speed of delivery impact conversion, download our new whitepaper.

Expand your options. To refine your shipping pricing strategy, consider offering your shoppers several choices of delivery speeds, such as priority or express delivery – especially during peak selling periods.

Different delivery speeds can go a long way in helping frantic shoppers during the waning days of most holidays, for instance. Not wanting to disappoint those on their list, they’ll be more than happy to pay a bit more to ensure their gifts arrive in time.

Adding options for express and same-day shipping can improve conversion by catering to this willingness to pay for speed. You might be saying to yourself “I offer free shipping – doesn’t everyone want that?” But, even those who qualify for free standard shipping may still choose to pay for faster options instead, reducing the impact on your bottom line from subsidizing free shipping.

Let the customer decide. Some e-tailers assume that if shipping is free, then shoppers will be willing to wait longer to receive their order. But that’s not always the case.

Shoppers want options when it comes to shipping and delivery and knowing just when they can expect to receive their order is rapidly becoming a baseline requirement.

Be as specific as you can here. When asked, 32% of Canadian online shoppers indicated that expected delivery dates drive their decision to complete a purchase online.

Get it on record. Make sure your shipping rates are clearly explained upfront, ideally with various staggered speed options for shoppers to choose from, allowing them to decide whether cost or speed is more important.

Tip. By displaying estimated or guaranteed delivery dates prominently, shoppers one can determine if they should upgrade to a faster method. Canada Post has worked with many of the leading e-commerce platforms to integrate turnkey solutions for displaying expected delivery dates within your existing platform.

** Source: 2015 Canada Post Holiday Monitoring Study 2015, March 2016

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