Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Are Your Customers Experiencing Shipping Sticker Shock?

PayPal questioned online shoppers in the U.S. that had abandoned their shopping cart contents. They wanted to know why. And the winner is --- - shipping costs.

Here is what they found out. - A whopping 43 percent of consumers felt that shipping charges were too high - 36 percent said the total cost of their cart items was pricier than expected - 27 percent wanted to carry out further comparison shopping - 16 percent couldn’t easily contact support with pre-sales questions - 14 percent of shoppers forgot how to log into their accounts.

Since PayPal is probably the #1 transaction processing entity used by many on line sellers, these findings should be considered looking into. Now I don’t believe for a minute, like many other on line statistic providers, that PayPal is beyond using or even skewing figures to fit their agenda but I’m not going into that right now. I do believe however that regardless of the accuracy of these figures, they probably hit the nail on the head. At least in this situation.

No one needs to tell the reader that the ever increasing shipping cost’s are seriously impacting their businesses. We have all seen where a sale has gone south because the shipping costs were higher than the cost of the item being purchased. Most of us have also dealt with customers who ask the question “why so much shipping?”.

I don’t have the answer to this problem and I don’t know anyone who does. I do know however that if you’re experiencing high abandonment rates, perhaps you should shop around for cheaper shipping options. The day’s of using just one shipping carrier for every product you produce has come to an end. The best and cheapest shipping method for one product may not be the same for another.

Now it’s unlikely that even if millions of customers start complaining to the shipping carriers that they are going to reduce their rates. I’m not defending the shipping carriers but just like every other business, they have to pass the cost of inflation on to their customers.

What we have found to be of some help in this situation is enlisting the customer themselves as an ally in this situation. We have found that by explaining clearly to the customer that we only charge the customer exactly what the shipping carrier charges us has been of help. In fact, we place this statement in the description of almost every item we offer. Add to this 110% customer service, before, during and after the sale with great communications will also be of help.

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