Ecommerce barriers to sale – don’t hide the delivery charges!

When we talk to new clients about their shipping charges they often say “oh it’s all in the delivery statement” which is usually hidden in the footer of the site somewhere, or “we have lots of charges depending on weight and how much they are spending, when they want it and where they live”. The more you can steer away from these answers and standardise your delivery charges, the less chance of cart abandonment and the more sales you can make. We cannot stress that enough.

We ask clients to firstly try to include the cost of shipping in the price so you are offering ‘free shipping’ or to have simple delivery charges as follows:

  • For orders under £75, standard UK delivery is £3.95
  • Free shipping for orders over £75
  • Premium next day delivery £6.95, if you order before 2pm.

Not every business can adhere to the above, but you can at least think how you can standardise what you have to charge and make it clear that a) ordering more gets free shipping and b) you can get next day delivery but at a premium cost. A next day delivery option is really helpful for those of us buying last minute presents and shouldn’t be excluded from the mix!

Don’t forget that a high delivery charge is one of the top 3 reasons for not buying online.

When should delivery be shown?

Right from the beginning we say. When a customer opens the ‘product buying page’ and sees the lovely images and reads the product description, the price and delivery charges need to be honestly shown. The marketing person in your company needs to take this sales area to heart and work out why your delivery charges costs what it costs, and sell these reasons within the copy.

For example, we advised a customer recently who sells cheese online. When she came to us we asked her how they deliver and she talked at length about the beautiful frozen ice pack she puts in the bottom of the delivery box amongst the straw with everything wrapped up in biodegradable paper and the box is sealed in brown paper with a branded sticker and twine. It sounded lovely, and had me convinced that the cheese would arrive fresh and I’d get a warm happy feeling opening up a package like that. However this wasn’t mentioned anyway on her existing website copy and photos of the ‘fresh packaging’ wasn’t shown amongst the product photos on the ‘product buying page’. This was a major company USP that had been overlooked. It also justified the shipping charge and made it understandable.

There are online shoppers that will only buy if the offer is free shipping and you can’t get away from that. But if you do have to charge for shipping – and honestly everyone does in some form or another – then state clearly why and turn it into a positive communication.

It also boils down to being honest with your customer and confronting that you are selling through a screen, not over a counter, and that digital sales have their own rules.