Shipping can be quite a surprising expense for online shopping. If you shop online you may have experienced this. You've browsed a site, and filled your card with some really great products to only get to the checkout and be surprised (well, shocked) by an unimaginable shipping cost.
And so you close your browser and walk away from it all.
Calculating shipping can be an incredibly complicated process, especially when multiple products (and product types) get involved. Shipping providers do provide calculators based on product dimensions, which is useful for single product purchases, but how do you combine and calculate the dimensions of a solid rectangle like a DVD with the soft shape of a folded jumper or a rolled up poster - and to keep any shipping rates fair for the customer too?
This creates complications not only for you as a business owner - and having to decide on these rules - but also for your web developer to be able to map your rules (which at times can be very unique and specific, varying from product to product) in to your ecommerce software. And it's really important to also consider the impact your shipping costs will have on your customers (and their willingness to shop with you).
It's important as a business owner to ensure that your business is keeping you in business - but also keeping your customers happy to nurture their loyalty and keep them coming back for more orders.
For this reason, we are strong advocates of providing your customers with flat rate or free shipping - or even a combination of the two (such as free shipping on orders over $100).
Why is flat rate or free shipping great for you and your customers?
It can be used as an advertising tool
You can use you shipping rate as an advertising tool. This is great for free shipping over a certain order dollar value as it could encourage customers to buy a few more items.
Your customers avoid nasty shipping cost surprises
If your competition is known for charging for shipping, advertising free (or flat rate) shipping gives predictability to the total cost for your customer's order.
It simplifies management for your business
Your site won't need real-time interactions with a shipping calculator, or have a different shipping rate for each product – not to mention the time and effort involved in adjusting your shipping rates when prices change.
As always, speak to your shipping provider to see what bulk buy discounts are available to you to help determine what these rates should be - but remember that keeping customers is more than just making sure you cover your exact cost dollar for dollar - and happy customers can be an awesome sales tool to tell their friends about their experience at your online store - including how great your delivery is.
Call Mity Digital to have a chat about how flat rate or free shipping could benefit your business and customers.