These days customer experience is the differentiator that creates market success for brands. In the online marketplace the best product or the lowest prices no longer guarantee a sale. Consumers are educating themselves, researching and comparing products, looking for customer testimonials, and paying close attention to shipping.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that 65% of customers check free shipping thresholds before filling their carts. What’s more, 39% feel two-day shipping should be free, and 29% of consumers have canceled a purchase because it wasn’t. An Alix Partners Report shows 75% of US customers say free shipping has a huge impact on their choices when shopping online. Interestingly, about one in four shoppers will make a purchase at a slightly higher price if it includes free shipping.
Small Businesses & Shipping
But what does this mean for small business? Amazon Prime and its tempting free shipping have had an impact on other retailers who must now compete with the giant company. Even small localized businesses need to look at their ecommerce options. Customers increasingly expect to be able to make online purchases, even from the boutique down the street. Retailers have many options, from joining online marketplaces such as Amazon, to creating their own online store with platforms like Shopify. In paying attention to your shipping options, you are refining the post-purchase experience, which provides an opportunity to strengthen your brand and relationships through delivering on the expectations you have set. Unfortunately a report by Convey found 84% of customers won’t shop with a brand again after a negative shipping experience.
Shipping to a Store
Many small- and medium-sized businesses don’t have the infrastructure or money to meet such high expectations. But there is something you can do. Digital Commerce 360 found that two out of three people have used “buy online, pick-up in store” programs. The main motivations for this were to avoid paying for shipping and the convenience and immediacy it provides.
Using such programs has the additional benefit of providing an opportunity for the retailer to build their relationship with the customer when they come in to pick up their purchase. This makes it important to focus on the experience. Is the order quickly provided? Is it packaged in a way that reflects the brand’s personality? How long do customers have to wait until a staff member is available to help them?
Using these suggestions can help strengthen a brand’s position in the online marketplace. Combined with Inclera’s cloud-based payment processing solutions, retailers can not only keep pace, they can grow.