Shipping costs: Top obstacle for merchants

Order Management

Distribution costs remain one of the longest standing challenges of selling products online. People do not want to pay for shipping. Even more so, they don’t want to pay for long, protracted delivery schedules. Retailers need to get items to customers quickly, preferably at low rates or for free.

A recent study conducted by Harris Poll pointed out that shipping costs remain the top obstacle many merchants face. As many as 66 percent of respondents said shipping costs were their “biggest online shopping pet peeves,” which is significantly higher up the list than the second-biggest annoyance of getting something that looks nothing like the product listing.

Granted, that’s not stopping people from shopping online. Of all the respondents polled, only 9 percent said they don’t purchase items through the Web with some degree of regularity. However, not being able to offer adequate shipping options may cause prospects to shop less or turn to a competitor instead. As many as 81 percent of respondents said free shipping would make them more likely shop online instead of in-store, illustrating clearly how big of an issue it is.

That said, flexibility is key – many people would be willing to pay for shipping if they knew they would get the item faster.

“Over two in ten Americans say they would be willing to pay more for either overnight or same day delivery.”

“While most Americans show resistance to paying for shipping, not all shipping is created equal and over two in ten say they would be willing to pay more for either overnight or same day delivery, with 15 percent specifically saying they’d pony up for overnight service and 14 percent for same-day,” the study added.

It’s crucial retailers look at all the options at their disposal to eliminate shipping costs or make them worth the while for customers. Doing so will enable them to better serve loyal shoppers and win over more prospects.

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