Importance of Free and Speedy Shipping to Customers

“Shipping continues to evolve as an area of competitive difference for e-commerce businesses. Small business owners can capitalize on shipping trends to compete with the bigger businesses on a more even footing,” – Jeremy Smith

Commerce and its many practices have evolved down the ages in response to market trends, customer demands, regulatory environments, and the march of technology. One of the primary aspects of the evolution of modern commerce is manifest in the emergence of e-commerce businesses. This event has been enabled by the ubiquity of electronic connectivity and the unique value proposition of free and speedy shipping offered by e-commerce operators. Market surveys have revealed that this customer-friendly practice is highly prized by end-users because it reduces the customers’ shopping bill and subliminally encourages them to shop for additional merchandise.

Major e-commerce operators have examined the premise of free and speedy shipping and the findings indicate that such offers help the cause of commerce. Free shipping assures online customers that their dollars are well spent and that the online business will make good on its promises to deliver a quality product or service. Free shipping also signals corporate intent to offer competent packaging for merchandise that has to be delivered to the customers’ address. In addition, the promise of free and speedy shipping carries within itself an unstated commitment to deliver the goods within a stipulated time frame and this represents further attracts customers to e-commerce businesses.

Online returns are a staple component of free and speedy shipping. This feature stipulates that customers can return merchandise to the e-commerce operator in case they are not satisfied with the quality or the experience of said merchandise. The online business operator arranges for the pick-up and the subsequent exchange or refund. We must spotlight the fact that online returns are a fact of life in e-commerce because regular customers may consistently harbour higher expectations from a brand(s). Therefore, every single instance of an online return should be viewed as a call to arms for the online business and its internal processes. To return to the original premise in this paragraph, we must note that the concept of online returns should count as a major triumph of e-business operators because traditional businesses typically create roadblocks that prevents customers from returning merchandise. In light of the above, we note that customer convenience is the primary motivator in the design of free and speedy shipping practices.

Innovative e-commerce operators can choose to leverage free and speedy shipping as a platform to upsell to existing customers. For instance, businesses can include flyers and other promotional materials inside the merchandise in an effort to acquaint customers with the latest offers on select products. The paper-based flyers and other forms of in-box advertising can also help to boost customer recall about a particular e-commerce brand. This can be used as a strategy to increase the chances of future purchases and to enhance market penetration, thereby benefiting the e-commerce enterprise. In addition, business innovation can be manifest in corporate logos that can be emblazoned on the delivery boxes, which thereby act as mobile advertisements. We must note that these ideas can be enabled by business practices that hinge on free and speedy shipping.

The idea of free and speedy shipping helps online businesses to connect with their customers at an emotional level. This means that the business is sending a signal that free shipping attends any and every customer decision to shop online with the particular merchant or business. This signal gains significance when we note that such customers are unlikely to spend their dollars at competing businesses, thereby demonstrating their loyalty to a certain online business or merchant. We must note that such commercial strategies enable businesses to ring fence customers and to continue enjoying their sustained custom over a certain time frame. In light of the above, we must note that online merchants and business operators must continue to brainstorm in terms of boosting the value proposition offered by free and speedy shipping.

Small online businesses can calibrate their operations to offer free and speedy shipping during certain times of the year. This implies that said businesses may not offer such shipping as a standard practice, perhaps owing to commercial or business constraints. The stated premise can be deployed by small e-commerce businesses in a bid to boost sales. For instance, a small business that manufactures and markets garden tools and implements can take baby steps in the online business domain by offering customers free and speedy shipping during a certain time frame. The said offer can be publicised on its website and through word-of-mouth publicity. Interested customers may choose to place their orders for merchandise during said time frame and avail the benefits of free and speedy shipping. This idea also works for the business because such sales can provide a crucial boost in the revenue stream and therefore, can be counted among failsafe business stratagem.

Shopping cart abandonment remains a major problem in e-commerce businesses. This metric denotes lost business opportunities, disturbances in the revenue stream, and dipping customer engagement. However, the skilful use of free and speedy shipping can help online merchants to recover lost ground and reduce the incidence of shopping cart abandonment. In addition, certain market observers have noted that businesses that offer free shipping report a higher proportion of customers that complete commercial transactions with online enterprises. In light of the above, we may note that free and speedy shipping offers a psychological bolster to customers’ emotions when they are shopping online. The use of such offers helps customers to deal with buyer’s remorse and proceed to a normal check-out at the e-commerce app or website.

Every business enterprise goes through business cyclicals and e-commerce operators are no exceptions. These merchants can combine the offer of free and speedy shipping with definitive discounts to deal with depressed buying sentiments. For instance, an online merchant may choose to take the initiative and offer his customers deals as outlined above in an effort to rise above the competition. This can be widely publicised in online platforms and thus the business may attract significant customer attention based on the premise that the free shipping offer is combined with a guaranteed discount. This heightens the value proposition for potential customers, thereby ensuring a high rate of conversion. We must note that in this case, business innovation operates through two levels and may enable the said merchant to triumph in depressed markets.

In the previous paragraphs, we have examined some of the points that underline the importance of free and speedy shipping to online customers. We must bear in mind that online merchants that intend to operate over the long term should offer a distinct value proposition to all customers. This core offering can be complemented by free shipping offers, discounts, and other devices. Online businesses should also bear in mind that the e-commerce space is increasingly getting congested with top notch operators competing for the spoils. This situation makes it incumbent upon all online businesses to value the customers’ dollars and to prize customer attention. To these ends, the overall service delivery should be continuously refined and the proffered value proposition should be upgraded.

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