The Statistics Behind Logistics
Shopping online, in my opinion, is the only way to fly. There’s no contesting with ridiculous queue sizes or catty disputes with the woman who tries to snatch the last pair of size 5's from right under your nose. No need to worry about the parking ticket in the car running out or 3am being far too late to try and find the perfect little black dress; Internet stores are open and taking payments 24 hours a day and it’s great! The only thing that concerns me once my order is confirmed is how the delivery of my purchase is going to be managed; and I’m not the only one.
Around 97% of the UK’s internet population use the web to shop, so it’s no surprise that an estimated 3.5 billion parcels were shipped across Europe in 2012. When you consider that the amount of deliveries flying around Europe alone is roughly equal to half the population of the planet, it puts the importance of good shipping decisions into harsh perspective. 79% of online consumers stated that they would prefer a free shipping offer over a discount, 93% of people have expressed that free shipping is an encouraging factor in spending more money and 96% of people are more likely to shop where shipping is free. From this, anyone would say that free shipping is the key to successful ecommerce, but there’s more to ruminate.
Shipping and returns tend to go hand in hand, but most people don’t make special allowances for returns because they are too focused on discounting the shipping. 2 out of 3 people buy more if returns are free and many consumers, me included, are more likely to shop online if returns can be taken back to a high street store. Returns fees are usually hidden in the fine print of online purchases and can be extortionate, so making this aspect of internet shopping easier could have huge positive impacts for sales.
British fashion retailers New Look are no stranger to my pay cheques, and one of the things I love about using their site is how varied their delivery options are. New Look is part of the 56% of stores who charge between £3 & £4.99 for shipping, but your loyalty is rewarded. Should you spend over £45 (an easy task for me), New Look doll out a gift of free shipping, which is just enough for me to justify such a spend. They also offer the option to collect online purchases in-store, something that 21% of consumers favour because it is quicker and 65% prefer because it is cheaper than standard delivery, as this is usually offered to customers for free.
If you’re looking for an improvement in your ecommerce site, shipping changes may be the route to go down. It’s hard to ignore the facts, especially when 43% of customers abandon carts because of shipping costs, 90% spend more because of low shipping costs and 72% switch sites because of high shipping costs. To improve your own shipping methods, simple changes such as offering parcel tracking or promoting free Christmas delivery (85% stores offer seasonal discounts) could be key in increasing your sales or traffic. Be sure to have clear and concise shipping policies that can be found easily within your website and always remember that consumers like options. For more advanced monitoring, use a system such as Google Analytics to observe visitors and track where users drop off your site.
Sarah Woodjetts Internet Expert and Ecommerce Consultant blogs on the internet and ecommerce.
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