Why Product Delivery Can Make or Break Your Ecommerce Sale

September 15, 2014 Rieva Lesonsky

product delivery

You spend time and thought on every aspect of your ecommerce site, from the design of the home page to the product photos and descriptions, from the title tags to the ease of checkout. But how much time do you spend perfecting the one element of the ecommerce sale that arguably matters most to your customers: product delivery?

A recent report by comScore for UPS examined a wide variety of ecommerce issues, with a focus on delivery. Here’s some of what they found:

  • 25 percent of shoppers would like the ability to have packages delivered to places other than their homes, such as their office or a site’s physical store location.
  • Just 44 percent are satisfied with their ability to do things such as adjust delivery date or reroute a package after placing an order.
  • Timely delivery is a big factor in satisfaction for more than one-third of ecommerce customers.
  • Delivery speed is the fourth most important factor in making the sale; however, customers are willing to trade fast delivery for free delivery. In fact, 50 percent have purposely chosen a slower delivery time to get free shipping, and 83 percent are willing to wait two or more extra days to get free shipping.
  • Although 85 percent of consumers are content to wait five days or more for delivery, that doesn’t mean they are laissez-faire about it. Fully half of customers have abandoned a shopping cart after finding out shipping would take too long, or when they couldn’t get an estimated delivery date.
  • Customers want the option to expedite delivery when needed. Just 65 percent are satisfied with all the shipping options that ecommerce companies offer, and 35 percent say that the ability to get purchases faster (even if they have to pay more) is important.

What steps should you take to satisfy customers when it comes to product delivery?

  • Make sure your checkout system provides an estimated delivery date early in the process so customers don’t get frustrated after going through all the steps to purchase.
  • If a product is out of stock, alert customers immediately. If possible, provide an estimated date when it will be in stock or allow customers to sign up for alerts.
  • If you sell products that are sold by lots of local retailers or otherwise easily obtainable elsewhere, you’ll probably need to order faster shipping than if you sell specialized or hard-to-find items.
  • When offering free shipping, balance out the cost by charging more for expedited shipping. However, keep it within standards set by comparable retailers.
  • If you have a physical store in addition to your ecommerce site, offer the option to have products shipped there—many customers prefer this to receiving items at home.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

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