We sell to the irrational brain. This explains why, as Wharton marketing professor David Bell noted in his research, people are more inclined to take advantage of waived shipping fees which really only cost $6.99 than a $10-discount. This is the power of free at play. Roger Dooley, author and publisher of Neuromarketing, explains that, “a preference for ‘free’ seems to be another feature hardwired into our brains.”
In ecommerce, shipping fees often spell the difference between a sale and a bail, so marketers really need to look at using the power of free to convince customers to complete the transaction. According to a study by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, about 53% of people abandoning carts cited high shipping costs as the main reason for not going through the checkout process, and that 26% of shoppers placed an item in their cart just to check shipping costs.
Cart abandonment due to shipping costs can be remedied by being upfront with fees and not waiting till the end of the checkout process to disclose it. However, there are other things you can do to make shipping work both for you and your customers:
Highlight Shipping Offers Across Your Website
Customers look for and value shipping offers, so if you have them, don’t downplay them. Companies like Steve Madden execute on this – they make it nearly impossible for users to miss free shipping. (We would have liked to see less space used for the main offers, though)
By contrast, companies like Sephora rely on small, ad-like units to talk about free shipping. To make matters worse, they implement a rotating banner to convey the message, and place it above the primary navigation, an area eye-tracking studies have noted time and again that visitors skip.
Make sure your shipping offer is prominent throughout selection and checkout process, and that you’re not vague about your shipping offer messaging. Instead of saying “Free Shipping and Handling. Click for more details, “say, “Free Shipping on Orders Over $100. Conditions apply.” It will frustrate customers to find out towards the end of the process that their purchase doesn’t qualify for free shipping.
Upsell to Free Shipping Threshold
Many prospects are willing to add items to meet the free shipping threshold, as long as the minimum order required is within distance of the average order size. The key is to find that sweet spot -below the breaking point at which there’s a spike of transaction drops, but above the “normal” order size.
That threshold may cost a little money to find, and there may be an added layer of difficulty as each industry is different, but finding it has a significant reward:75% of shoppers are willing to add additional items to their carts to meet required minimums.
Once you implement free shipping at a certain order size, you also need to remind users how much needs to be added to get free shipping. F21 has this refined to an art form:
Remember: Low shipping cost is the one of the main drivers for customers to revisit an online store and to switch to a different one. In a Forrester study released in October, 59% of the respondents said that shipping costs are the most important consideration for them when making an online purchase. Ensure that this is something you benefit from, rather than something your competitors can use against you.