Consider this: most people these days tend to utilize amazon.com as well as other online purchasing solutions. So, they have gotten used to free shipping. So when you are building a website you really need to consider your shipping costs.
A FuturePay survey found that 86% of people abandon their shopping cart because of the cost of shipping.
1) Build In Shipping Costs: Depending on the price of the item you are selling, one good way to go it is to build the shipping cost into the price of the product and then you can advertise free shipping. After all, this is basically what Amazon does, they charge a fee for prime but then they figure shipping as a cost of doing business. While you may not be as big as amazon.com, you can still build in shipping costs. So say you’re selling a big ticket item say $3000 and the cost to you to ship it might be $100-$200. Just sell the item for $3200. Your buyers will be happy, as they will be supporting a small business, but still not paying exorbitant shipping prices. Remember: a lot of this is psychological. When someone sees the added shipping at the end of the transaction, it scares them off and they head back to Amazon to get their “free” shipping. Amazon doesn’t make money in shipping and in fact they lose, but as I said it is a cost of doing business and because of their volume they obviously get better rates from shippers.
Pro tip: make sure before you put something on your website that you do searches and make sure your price is competitive. Otherwise you’re not going to get many sales online.
2) Flat Rate Shipping: Another thing I like to recommend clients to do is charge a flat rate shipping charge. That way you can use the most cost effective method for shipping items. Sometimes it might be the US Postal Service, sometimes it may be FedEx, and sometimes it might be UPS or freight companies. Then just charge a reasonable flat rate you can pick the most economical method.
3) Free Pickup and Delivery: Depending on your business, if a lot of your sales are local, another good thing to offer is free pick up and delivery for Local ZIP Codes.
If you have a very heavy items, it is very hard to sell those items online. Sometimes the cost of shipping can be as much or more than the product price. These type of items tend to sell better as local pick items and/or for free local delivery if you have the capability.
As I said, we are living in an Amazon world, so you can’t get away with charging those high shipping prices. Unfortunately, some e-commerce companies still don’t understand this. As I said above, I always tell my clients to do searches on the items you are selling and don’t bother to sell something with your price point is so much higher than your competitors or on Amazon. You may have a loyal customers who will stick with you even if your price is a bit higher. But the general public is searching for best price, and shipping is a big part of that.
Case 1: a client of mine had a few projects they wanted to get done before the end of the year. While we were estimating time and cost, I figured out a way to handle one of the big requirements in such a way that it wouldn’t cost the client a dime. Now, they were expecting to pay upwards of $1000 or more for this new requirement alone. But I did the right thing and showed them an alternative which as I said would cost them nothing.
Case 2: I had a client looking for me to install a new feature to their site. Similar to Case one they were expecting to pay and had even budgeted for the project. But again when looking for solutions I found a cost effective one that I could implement for free.
Case 3: One of my clients does a lot for charity. They were working on a nonprofit project and entrusted me to build and manage the site for them. This was coming entirely out of their pocket, and all the proceeds will go to the charity. When I got done and was creating the invoice, I discounted it greatly. To me that is the essence of doing nonprofit work. It isn’t just another client. It is somebody looking to do good in this world.
So all these cases point out that perhaps I am not the greatest businessman that ever lived. But I would counter that this makes me a better, smarter businessman.
On the short-term I cost my self revenue, there is no doubt about that. But in the long run, all three of these clients were thrilled and I can count on referrals down the road. Too many companies look for the big hit and don’t take a long term view of their business. Loyalty is a big deal in business and especially during the pandemic. Now, I am not telling you not to bill for your services, that is your right. But once you have good clients, treat them fairly, and you will prosper in the long run. As I have been doing this since 1996, I think my hypothesis is proven.
In the article “7 SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF HELPING OTHERS” the author shows there are actually benefits to helping others including living longer and being happier.
If you need help building or managing your website, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to either assist or point you in the right direction.