Online shoppers have been trained to expect additional costs during checkout. Taxes and delivery fees based on the shipping address are things visitors expect to deal with. However, you have to be upfront about the fact that there are additional costs. It’s best to show those early in the process. That way, they’re baked into the users’ expectations, and they can decide at the onset if they’re willing to commit to the checkout process.
If your delivery fees are more than the standard (typically under $10) or if you have charges outside of taxes and shipping, drive extra visual attention to those. Otherwise, you’ll risk tarnishing your brand by showing it late and annoying visitors.
Failure to Show Additional Costs Early Example
PotteryBarn.com offers “Unlimited Flat Rate Delivery” for some of their products, with the fee varying depending on the customer’s zip code. However, the product detail page (PDP) does not display the delivery fee despite it asking for the customer’s zip code:
Pottery Barn’s PDP has a “Ship to Home” option and asks the customer for their zip code. It shows the estimated delivery date, but not the delivery fee.
The page’s call-to-action block has a “White Glove Delivery” label with a “See Details” link that launches into a pop-up modal. The popup, however, also does not display specific information around delivery fees:
The “White Glove Delivery” popup tells shoppers that an unlimited number of eligible items can be delivered into and assembled in their home for a flat fee. However, the exact fee is not indicated. Instead, the popup has a “Learn More” link that takes the shopper to the “Shopping Info” page.
Pottery Barn only shows the actual shipping fee when the customer gets to the “Payment” section of checkout, which is the third and last step in the checkout process. This can be annoying for shoppers since they’ve already had to type in their name, address, and phone number before the total fees are revealed:
Pottery Barn only shows the “Shipping & Processing” fee when the shopper gets to the “Payment” section of checkout.
Customers can also identify what the flat rate shipping fee for their zip code is by going to the “Shipping Info” page. However, this is bound to be missed, as the link is quite buried in the PDP.
Shoppers have to scroll past all the product images before they can see the “Shipping & Returns” anchor text. The left side of the product detail page creates a parallax-like effect that the shopper needs to scroll through to see more information like shipping details:
Pottery Barn’s PDP has a navigation bar below the fold with the following items: “Why You’ll Love It”, “Product Details”, “Dimensions”, “Responsibly Made”, and “Shipping & Returns”. These serve as anchor text that take the user further down the page. However, the user will need to scroll past all the product images before they can see the nav bar.
Clicking on the anchor text takes the user to the “Shipping & Returns” section towards the bottom of the page. They then have to click on “See your rate” under “Flat Rate Delivery” to get to the “Shipping Info” page:
Even if the user does find the link, they’re asked to input their zip code on the “Shipping Information” page:
The shopper has to type in their zip code in the “White Glove Delivery Charge by Zip Code” box and click the “Lookup” button to find out what the unlimited flat rate for their location is.
Once the user enters their zip code, the input box is replaced with a table showing three different flat rate fees depending on the order total (up to $999, $999.01 & over, and $5,000.01 & over).
It would be better if Pottery Barn puts this functionality on the PDP. That way, users don’t have to go deep into the checkout flow or hunt for the “Shipping Information” page just to know the shipping fee for their area.
Surprising visitors with additional charges is one of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to get people to convert. At best, unexpected cost increases can frustrate users. At worst, it’s enough to get them to leave your site, transact with some other company, and never trust your site again.