The value of offering flexible shipping options

Flexible shipping options

Published in Types of shipping

While it’s incredibly important to offer accurate and reliable delivery in ecommerce, some retailers still fail to meet the standards that shoppers expect. Delivery costs and options are one of the biggest factors in determining whether a shopper will complete their purchases or abandon their cart in favour of another retailer.

In fact, according to Delivering Consumer Choice: State of eCommerce Delivery, 66% of shoppers purchased from one retailer over another because the delivery options with a competitor were more appealing. Incredibly, just over 50% of shoppers have also said they failed to check-out because of a lack of options at the final stage of their order.

Not only does a lack of delivery options prevent customers checking out, but it can also eat into your margins. Logistics, after stock and employees, is the biggest outlay for most ecommerce businesses.

Therefore, it pays to be flexible with your shipping options, both for your customers and your business.

More conversions, more sales

Limiting your delivery options means you could lose out on sales. As we all know, all retailers should offer:

  • Standard delivery, which takes a couple of days but it is either low cost or free
  • Express delivery, that arrives the next working day but costs more (or is free at a higher spend threshold). 

But, on top of these two essential shipping options, offering alternative couriers and services will cater for shoppers that could simply prefer one courier over another. For example, buyers in more remote areas may have a specific courier that they know and use, whilst some customers will have had better experiences with one courier and trust them over another that they've had a bad experience with.

Delivery experience is a dealbreaker when it comes to gaining repeat customers - 96% of shoppers would be encouraged to shop with a retailer again if they had a positive delivery experience.

Shoppers also want retailers to be upfront about delivery costs; 83% expect to see delivery options on the same page as the product they’re buying.

Delivery expectations also include a guaranteed delivery date, while 80% of shoppers also want a delivery time slot.

Living up to these standards using just one courier service will be nearly impossible.

Save money whilst providing better service

On top of high expectations about delivery options, most shoppers expect that the more they buy the less they will have to spend on shipping. The majority of retailers will offer free shipping when you spend over a certain amount.

Even if you don’t offer a wide range of shipping options directly to your customers, being able to use different couriers can allow you to save money and find the best price for each delivery.

This is especially true if you sell a wide range of products - different couriers will specialise in different kinds of deliveries. You’ll be able to send parcels with the most cost effective and appropriate courier service, even when the items are big, heavy or valuable. Some couriers will be a better option for domestic deliveries, while a different courier may offer you better value for your international orders

More sales, reduced overheads: being flexible delivers success

Utilising a range of different shipping services will ensure that parcels are arriving when and where the customer expects, at a reasonable price. The delivery is often the only physical contact you will have with a customer shopping online, so ensuring a good experience and leaving them with a great impression will encourage them to leave positive reviews, and become a repeat customer. Getting your orders delivered more efficiently, with reliable couriers, will also cut down on the amount of time you have to spend on customer service for delayed, missing or damaged parcels.

While dispatching all your orders through one courier may seem simpler - you could be missing out on valuable orders, as well as spending more than necessary for some deliveries.

How Zenstores can help

Zenstores makes automating multi-courier shipping incredibly simple, allowing you to create courier labels, book shipments and mark orders as dispatched in bulk, with all leading couriers from one easy to use dashboard.

Once you’ve connected your Zenstores account to your sales channels and couriers, manually entering order details will be a thing of the past. With a more organised, mistake-free dispatch system, you’ll be able to offer the reliable, competitive shipping options that shoppers are looking for, while also cutting down your delivery costs.

“Zenstores is so simple; they had us up and running in less than a day, with links to all of our couriers. Now we can sit back, click a couple of buttons and print hundreds of invoices and dispatch labels - yes life can be that simple! What more can I say - why aren’t you using them?”

 - Derek Hoare, PZ Palmtree


Zenstores has direct integrations with Royal Mail, Parcelforce, DPD, DPD Local, APC Overnight, MyHermes, Yodel and courier comparison service Parcel2Go.

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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