If you are dealing with physical products, chances are you have a detailed shipping strategy in place to make sure your customers receive their orders on time and in good condition. And if you don’t, you are losing potential conversions and sales. Shipping is an integral part of the online shopping process. Even when your customers fill out the checkout and payment page, your job is not done. How your order is received, how many days did delivery take, and many other factors can greatly affect your customer experience. Thus, you need to employ the best eCommerce shipping practices in your store.
Best shipping practices are directly related to customer satisfaction. Even a single bad experience is enough to cause damage to your sales and conversions. Thus, to make sure everything stays good from your side, continue reading.
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Best WooCommerce Shipping Practices
1. No Hidden Shipping Charges
One of the major reasons why customers abandon their carts at the last moment (around 55%) is because of unexpected shipping charges. Many eCommerce stores make the mistake of notifying their customers about shipping charges on the last page and thus leads to cart abandonment. It’s not like customers mind paying shipping costs, but a little too much and a little too late could be the problem.
Thus, clearly state the shipping costs at the beginning of the checkout process or as soon as the customers enter their zip code. You can also offer flat rate shipping to display the shipping charges up-front.
2. Offer Shipping Insurance For Expensive Products
There are many risks associated with shipping. Such as your packages can get stolen, damaged, or lost easily. That’s why one of the best eCommerce shipping practices involves getting shipping insurance. You can get insurance from your shipping carriers or insurance companies specified for shipping.
Now, this might not be necessary for small or average packages such as letters. Thus, you first need to determine and analyze which packages require insurance depending upon their value and the customers you cater to. If the order is valuable, your customers might be willing to pay extra for security.
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3. Clear Return Policy
Another good shipping practice for eCommerce stores involves stating a return policy. A return and refund policy helps your customers easily return items if they are not satisfied with them. Although, this is not a favorable scenario but something you have to deal with, especially with online stores.
To ensure customer satisfaction, you need to make the return and refund process seamless and easy to complete, so returning products isn’t a hassle. You can also state on which products refund is possible and how many days customers have to avail of this policy.
A clear return policy helps you control your returned items and also increases conversions and sales.
4. Offer Best Shipment Tracking
Another highly requested feature regarding the shipping process is shipment tracking. Customers want to be aware of their package throughout the delivery process and it also helps in reducing inquiries. Moreover, you can greatly improve customer satisfaction.
More than 80% of the consumers have stated that they want to be notified about their order throughout the whole fulfillment process via text or email. It increases trust and credibility regarding your brand. The better the communication system, the more chances you have of being recognized and remembered.
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5. Show Estimated Delivery Dates
This might seem unnecessary, but it’s so worth the extra investment. Displaying estimated delivery dates and times to your customers is one of the best eCommerce shipping practices. Why? Because it improves customer satisfaction and also increases reliability.
There are many plugins available that can add this feature to your site. You can pre-set the delivery dates for different zones. You can also let customers choose from the available options. And you can determine the delivery days depending on the shipping method chosen. The more options you provide, the more flexibility you give your customers and increase conversions.
6. Offer Free Shipping
Arguably one of the best eCommerce shipping practices involves offering free shipping to your customers. Free shipping easily skyrockets your sales as 90% of the consumers prefer to shop online if free shipping is offered.
As stated above, higher shipping rates are one of the major reasons for cart abandonment. Now, for startups, free shipping might sound more harmful than beneficial, as the shipping costs will be handled by you or added into the product price, which again would be unfavorable for your customers, but it helps to increase brand awareness.
Free shipping is a great way to create buzz around your brand, but it is not beneficial for small businesses. Thus, if you want to increase your visibility, you can use this tactic for a short period to gain followers and increase sales.
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How to Offer Shipping Insurance in WooCommerce
Unfortunately, WooCommerce does not provide any insurance options out-of-the-box. But luckily, WooCommerce is a highly customizable platform and thus you can easily enable this feature by using plugins or hiring a developer.
You can also add the insurance cost to your product price but this is not suggested as could lead to customer dissatisfaction when they find the same product at a lesser price from other vendors.
WooCommerce suggests alternatives. Such as if insurance is optional, you have to hire a developer to give customers the option to choose insurance or not. Or if it is not optional, you can use a payment gateway and charge an extra fee.
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Shipping might not be the only reason for cart abandonment, but it is a major one. And if you are experiencing similar problems, then it’s important to take a look and strategize your shipping operation. By applying the best eCommerce shipping practices on your site, you can greatly improve the customer experience, increase sales, and reduce cart abandonment.