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Attracting and retaining customers can be costly and time-consuming. There are many ways you can elevate your brand’s image—keyword analysis, social media, redesigning your website, or even overhauling the U/X. However, there’s one area of focus that increases cart conversions and creates repeat customers: Shipping Experience.

After all, shipping is the final, longest step in online shopping. As e-commerce continues its omnipresence in our daily routines, consumer expectations change and become more nuanced. Customer demands have increased, but they’re not as unreasonable as some think pieces would have you believe. Sure, 2-Day shipping has changed expectations, but customers also understand that not every online purchase is eligible. To better understand the average consumer, ShipStation conducted a survey of roughly 1,300 North American consumers—male, female, old, young—to find how people from every walk of life view shipping. This piece will go over some of the key shipping experience findings of the survey, and if you want to discover more, please download ShipStation’s full ebook here.

Ease of Shipping is Becoming More Important

Customer anticipations around shipping are changing with the more streamlined, efficient fulfillment strategies. In fact, 70% of consumers factor shipping cost and fulfillment speed into their final purchasing decision more than they did a year ago. As one can imagine, Amazon, eBay, and Newegg are somewhat responsible for this. In fact, 88% percent of consumers also agree that these marketplaces influenced how they expect their orders to be shipped. However, this doesn’t purely reflect shipping speed. In fact, the majority of consumers anticipate waiting three to four days for their items to be delivered.

Ship Orders Out Quickly

The major way that leading marketplaces have revolutionized what consumers think about shipping is how quickly a package leaves the warehouse. Shipping items within 24 hours of the customer placing an order remains one of the best ways to increase satisfaction and elevate your brand’s image to customers. After all, customers don’t usually have a frame of reference for the scale of your business operations; they only know the results. If you can fulfill orders at a comparable speed to your top competitors, you can even the playing field more.

One major way to ship orders out quickly is to use a shipping software like ShipStation. Managing and shipping orders from any platform you sell on greatly reduces fulfillment time and lets you get on to more important things, like selling to new countries.

Which Items Receive Express Shipping

Customers have different levels of importance for different items. For instance, Newegg sellers are likely to notice that electronics take a high priority. In fact, the items that consumers most frequently request expedited shipping for are:

  • medicine
  • personal care
  • pet food
  • electronics

Many of these categories have an inherent urgency to them. Obviously, you need medicine, and your pets have to eat. But electronics are different. They touch on another key point of e-commerce shipping—trust. Shipping always feels like a bit of a gamble. Could the parcel be lost or damaged in transit? Apart from the obvious joy that comes with receiving a new smartphone or computer quickly, consumers have an elevated perception of express shipping. Not only do these items frequently take a higher picking priority, but there’s also a better likelihood of insurance coverage.

Who’s to Blame for a Poor Shipping Experience?

As stated earlier, shipping plays a big part in your brand’s image. While this can allow you to capitalize on the success of a carrier simply doing their job, it can also hurt you if they damage a parcel. In fact, 75% of consumers feel that a poor shipping experience is the merchant’s responsibility. Whether a shipment is lost, damaged, or delivered late by the carrier, your customers will still reach out to you as a merchant first. Because of this, you should have a good plan in place for these customer disputes.

Turn a Poor Shipping Experience into Something Profitable

If someone submits a support case to you about a poor shipping experience, acknowledge the issue (even if it is a result of carrier mishaps) and offer a promo code. 91% of consumers agree that this incentivizes them to shop with you again. Furthermore, 73% of consumers are likely then recommend the brand to family or friends if the shipping error is handled well. On Newegg, sellers can create their own promo codes at-will, so the customer experience is fully within your control to win repeat customers.

Returns Matter More Than You’d Think

Electronics and computer components are fragile and valuable; many of the findings this report presents are most impactful for Newegg sellers and their customers. If you sell exclusively on marketplaces like Newegg, eBay, and Amazon, chances are you’re already using shipping best practices. However, if you sell on your own site, you need to make sure your customers know that they’re in good hands.

One area that can be overlooked as a profitable sector is Returns. Granted, returns are never fun—no matter how painless the process. However, an effective returns strategy is one of the major ways to elevate your brand’s image to customers. In fact, 72% of shoppers today say return policies directly influence their online purchase decisions. In order to avoid cart abandonment, make sure that you have a clearly defined returns process. One strategy is to offer self-service returns. Whether you want to send these to a customer after authorizing their return or just host a returns portal on your website, a feature like ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal allows customers to quickly and efficiently produce their own return labels.

About the Author: ShipStation is the world’s leading web-based shipping solution that helps e-commerce retailers import, organize, and ship orders quickly and easily—wherever they sell, however they ship. ShipStation integrates with over 160 of the top marketplaces, selling channels, carriers, and fulfillment providers. Utilize features like auto-selecting shipping preferences, customizable automation rules, multi-carrier rate calculators and shipping, and much more.