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Why An Excellent E-Commerce Delivery Strategy Is Mandatory To Optimize Your Checkout

Nov 23, 2018
Why An Excellent E-Commerce Delivery Strategy Is Mandatory To Optimize Your Checkout

Cart abandonment is a problem plaguing the e-commerce industry and it’s one of a retailer’s biggest headaches.  

Abandonment rates can go up to an overwhelming high of 69.89%. That’s a significant number of sales being left on the table.

As a retailer, you might wonder:

  • What is causing your customers to abandon their carts right before checkout?

  • What do my delivery options have to do with my checkout rate?

  • More importantly, what can I do about it?

Let’s face it, cart abandonment is part and parcel of running an e-commerce business, Customers may their abandon carts for reasons unrelated to your business. They may be interrupted by the doorbell or a baby crying. These factors are beyond your control.

However, retailers also need to consider the rise of online-to-offline (O2O) purchasing – potential customers might just be using your website to research with no intention to buy yet, but this research cycle marks the beginning of the relationship with your brand.

So, what can you control? 

In their survey, Baymard found even after segmenting out the above consumer groups, customers have a myriad of reasons why they didn’t proceed with the checkout.

Source: Baymard

Concerns over offered delivery options influence whether your customers complete their purchase.

A majority of cart abandonments relate to concerns over delivery options offered. 60% abandoned cart after seeing expensive extra costs (shipping, taxes and additional fees).

Another study by Hermes and Retail Week also found expensive delivery charges were the most common reason for customers to abandon their carts. Lack of suitable delivery options also spurred customers to abandon their carts.

Customers in Europe feel the same way. 5 of the 9 most common reasons for checkout abandonment are delivery-related. High costs, unsatisfactory delivery times and options were the most common reasons for an abandoned cart.

Source: Lost Sales at Checkout, by B2C Europe

It’s clear your e-commerce delivery strategy influences your cart abandonment rates. But what do your customers really want in their delivery experience? More importantly, how you can you set up your carriers to provide your customers with an ideal delivery experience?

Let’s take a look at what customers expect during the delivery process and what you can do about it.

1. Customers want the flexibility to choose multiple delivery options at checkout

With services like Amazon Prime offering free AND same-day delivery, your customers now expect speedy, cost-effective delivery options while having full control over the delivery experience.

Unsurprisingly, cost and convenience remain top priorities for customers in today’s delivery environment.

Source: Convey

Does this mean that offering free shipping is crucial for delivery success?

According to an infographic by Fulfillment Service, offering free shipping is important, but is not as important as cheaper shipping options. Fifty-eight percent of people want free or discounted shipping whereas 28% prefer multiple shipping options.

Think about it, if you wanted to buy something but your preferred delivery option isn’t offered, it’s ridiculously easy to abandon ship and go look elsewhere for what you need online.

What you can do:

Superb customer experience drives brand loyalty and trust from your customers. Contrary to expectations, consumers are willing to wait for most online purchases if the shipping was free. But, they expect retailers to provide speedy shipping as an option.

Ensure you give customers a diverse range of delivery options to instill confidence in your brand and adapt to as many customer situations as possible.

Shoppers expect delivery options to be prominently displayed on the product page before checkout with any additional costs and the timeline clearly shown.

The preference for multiple delivery options even extends beyond the checkout. They also want multiple options for delivery locations and the flexibility to change delivery times; especially for more cumbersome home deliveries.

Beyond looking at your average carrier punctuality and driver’s performance while in transit. Evaluate if your carrier setup offers you this flexibility in delivery options and whether they can meet such stringent scheduling requirements. Look at how often your deliveries are delivered on time and how their drivers perform while executing a delivery.

2. Customers want delivery costs to be transparent.

Have you ever been out gift shopping online, found something you loved, and finally made your way to the last stage of the checkout process…

…only to be slapped with a significant delivery fee you didn’t know of beforehand?

Not a great feeling, right?

Being hit by unexpected delivery fees or additional charges is one of the top reasons why people abandon their carts right before checkout. There’s also a risk your shop and brand will be seen as dishonest.

As an online retailer, you need to communicate as early as possible in the online buying process information on your delivery policy. Customers want to feel like they can trust you and follow through to complete their purchases.

What you can do:

Make your delivery offers and costs crystal clear. Take a leaf out of established e-commerce stores out there and display your shipping policy on every page of your store.

Ensure you include in your shipping policies the following:

  • Which locations do you offer free shipping to

  • Whether there’s a minimum order value before you offer free shipping

  • How much do you charge for shipping and whether this changes depending on location

3. Customers want transparency in the e-commerce delivery process

Next, to knowing delivery options and costs upfront, your customers also want to know where their parcels are. Keeping them in the loop reassures them, ensures they feel taken care of and differentiate your brand from others.

What you can do to optimize your after-checkout experience:

  • Consider setting up automated email notifications to inform customers of every step of the delivery process.

  • Embed instructions on how to find your customer’s tracking information in your post-purchase emails (or better still, enable them to find the information directly in the email)

  • Also important – there will be times when you need to call your carriers to resolve issues. Examine how adept your carriers are at customer service. Look at their average response time, speed to complete a request, and the quality of service during the conversation.

Meeting these desires boils down to one important thing: your e-commerce delivery strategy

To take care of your customer’s concerns about the delivery options you offer, You need to know how your carriers are performing.

Without knowing how well your carriers perform and their service standards, how are you going to predict delivery times, know the delivery options you can offer effectively or even the service standards you can comfortably meet?

The delivery experience matters. A recent consumer survey done by Drop-off found consumers are dissatisfied with their delivery experience. Select the correct logistics providers, and evaluate their performance to set expectations on delivery times with your customers. Taking these steps allows you the foresight to provide the necessary information on delivery options to reduce cart abandonment.

Pay attention, especially during the peak season; where logistics carriers are notoriously jammed with orders and delivery times are longer. You may even need to evaluate your carrier setup and determine if you need to expand your carrier selection to cope with higher volumes.

In conclusion:

An abandoned cart is an issue that affects all e-commerce stores. But one of the keys to managing the issue effectively is to get clear on your delivery options to ensure this is not a hurdle for your order checkout process. Getting foresight and optimizing your carrier setup is the foundation to managing your delivery experience and check-out rates.

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