Shipping charges apply – Break your customers’ heart or make them go mush

How many times has this thought crossed your mind? Well, honestly, not a lot of times by me! The other day, my ‘to be tucked in the basket’ list grew too hefty to wait any longer. So there I was, exposed to the eager world of internet purchases, comparing prices, variety, discounts, best deals and finally, shipping options.

*Free shipping, *Shipping charges would be subject to your purchase, *standard shipping charges apply, blah, blah, blah….

And then, this inquisitive techie mind of mine began assimilating the affect that these messages were having on me.

*Free shipping – was a relief. *Shipping charges would be subject to your purchase – was curious. *Standard shipping charges apply – was bullshit.

Although I am not a real fanatic about how eCommerce operates, and basically because I am nothing more than a damned buyer, I care about how eCommerce can be made a better, happier place for money-minded, mean people like me. (Unfortunately, my friend, almost all buyers are like that; P)

I have been literally conspiring to conjure this mind cacophony for you since then, and bring out this post. Shipping Charges are important to buyers, no matter how nominal they are.

Ok, so this might sound ridiculous. When a customer goes shopping online, he/she is mentally groomed to experience convenience, lower price ranges, discounts and free shipping.

But that is not always possible when you, as a seller, are shipping your stuff overseas or to a far off location. A similar case applies to the allocation of shipping charges according to items purchased, their quantities and their sizes.

That is the reason; most eCommerce business owners specify the ‘standard shipping charges apply’ phrase on their sites.

Considering my scenario, I was looking to order a Monte Carlo sweater for myself, a leather cardigan for my wife, and a couple of rabbit wool shawls. Prior to checking out, I was notified that shipping charges are same for each individual product. Alright, so I had to pay $15 for the sweater, $15 for the cardigan and $15 for each shawl. A total slam of $45. I peacefully put my screen to sleep and asked my wife, if, by any chance, she was interested in window shopping and some actual purchase.

Now consider this scenario.

So I am looking for a sweater, a cardigan, and a couple of shawls. I suddenly have this realization on the check-out page, which I would have to pay $5, in place of $15, if I buy anything more than 2 units of any item.

I would sure have ordered 3 shawls, 4 sweaters, and a cardigan.

The seller would have earned more, just because I did not want to keep frowning upon the $15 shipping tag for each item.

See, there has to be something related to the quantity I buy!

Flat rate is an evil, to many.

For sure so, if online buyers get as choosy as I am with my sausage. It is crap to see, anything I buy, and everything I buy, would make me shell out the same extra for shipping! So, no matter, whether I buy a television, or I buy a shaving cream, I would have to pay the standard $10!

And you can definitely customise flat shipping rates for people like me!

Strategically speaking, it should be something like ‘shipping free on all purchases above $500’ or, ‘shipping free on all sizes above XXL’, or ‘no shipping charges for shipping within Los Angeles’ or anything like that. So taking a self-structured example, that I took around 5 minutes to cook up (I am a pretty good story teller, you see!) –

There is this woman, 37 years old. She stays in a small home along with her husband, her parents, her husband’s parents, and her 5 kids. Her eldest kid is 15, and the youngest is 5. The remaining 3 are somewhere in between. So this woman is ordering pairs of shoes for her entire family online.

Flat rate shipping would mean, she would have to pay an equal amount on every singular item, no matter, how much she buys or what size she buys or where she wants the purchased items to be shipped.

Going by that calculation, if shipping charges fixated by the eCommerce store, she is ordering her shoes from, is $5, she would have to pay a total of $55 towards shipping charges on her entire purchase. I swear, this woman would never come back to this eCommerce store.

Now, we tweak it a little bit.

This eCommerce store customizes its flat rate shipping option. So now, shipping charges for kid’s shoes is $2 or anything more that 12 units purchased by the same user, would be shipped at $50. The lady stays happy, she refers the store to her sister, and the store sells 14 pairs of shoes, instead of 11.

The lesson – Your flat rate shipping charges can make or mar your business.

Ummmm….pretty serious, isn’t it?

Hey, but how can you customize it?

I know a friend who has a WooCommerce store. Shipping rate customization options are so few there, she would literally trade her life for something that brought better value to her customers.

I helped!

And I am pushing the help for all you e-store owners as well!

I recently came across a conversation thread on Quora that discussed shipping rate plugins for WooCommerce. Loved it! It was informative and had quality plugins that are available for free.
Guess you could save your ass and your customers’ hearts at absolutely no cost now! What say?