We’ve seen this before- a customer browses a marketplace, toys with the idea of purchasing something, sends it to the shopping cart, and then? Gone. What happened?

Whether you’re the merchant scratching your head at the sudden abandonment, or the customer that quietly snuck away, a number of experts are now pointing fingers at the culprit- shipping fees.

Let’s face it- customers don’t like to spend more money than they think they should have to. We don’t like spending more money than we think we should have to. So when a customer has gone through the process of working your product into their budget, makes it all the way to check out, and only then discovers a large shipping fee, they bail. When surveyed, more than one-half of online shoppers state that transparency of total purchase cost, including shipping, should be disclosed early on.

Even so, researchers are finding that free shipping continues to drive purchase decision. It continues to be the most preferred option when checking out online, with 81% of consumers voting it as the top priority. A staggering 93% of shoppers have taken some type of action when shopping online in order to qualify for free shipping. Of these consumers, 58% will add items to their shopping cart if it qualifies them for free shipping, and 83% are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery.

Derrick Johnson, UPS Vice President, Global Segments, says that today’s consumers “demand more from their package delivery experience.” They expect providers “to respond by creating solutions convenient for them.” UPS has taken steps in this direction with the implementation of programs like UPS My Choice® and the UPS Access Point Network, which allow consumers the ability to control time of delivery, receive real-time alerts and reschedule the arrival of their package.

However, the fact remains that there are still those 81% who rank free shipping above all else. Marketplaces like Amazon are beginning to take steps toward this by providing free shipping options for sellers with a Professional account. From here on out, it’ll be a rat race to see which marketplaces can offer consumers what they want first. I don’t consider myself demanding, but I will admit that there’s a graveyard where all of my abandoned shopping cart purchases have gone to die. Maybe one day soon I can revive them- but not until that $90 dollar blender ships for free.

Stevens, Laura. “Online Shopping’s Hot Product: Free Shipping.” The Wall Street Journal- Corporate Intelligence. The Wall Street Journal, 10 June 2014. Web. 18 June 2014.

“Study: Consumers Demand More Flexibility When Shopping Online.” ComScore, Inc. Ed. Kate Dryer. ComScore, Inc., 11 June 2014. Web. 18 June 2014.


Holiday Shipping Survival Guide
Holiday Shipping Survival Guide

Make this holiday your most profitable season yet. Use this guide to build a holiday shipping strategy in order to cultivate repeat buyers, avoid packaging mishaps, and earn stellar feedback.

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