I am super fortunate in that I have one of the best client retention rates in the industry, well into the 90% range. I very rarely lose a client, unless someone goes out a business or a new executive takes over in a company and wants to bring in their own vendors.
But like other businesses I do on occasion have a client go elsewhere. Fortunately, most of the time they return (when I will accept them). Usually, people find out that the grass is not in fact greener on the other side of the fence! Every company has its strengths and weaknesses. For RooSites our strength has always been our responsiveness to our clients. We answer every request the same day. This is unheard of in our industry, with some companies taking as much as two weeks just to make small text changes to your website. The funny thing about offering such world-class support is that people come to expect it. Then when they move onto a new provider, they are dumbfounded as to how their service level has gone down such a great deal!
As a professional web development firm, we do not work on anything without a service contract. This spells out all terms of a client’s relationship with us. This protects both us and our clients and they typically appreciate it! Now most of my clients are quite professional and review the contract and have their legal counsel review as well. So there are no surprises if we break up. Sadly you do once in a while run into someone who doesn’t read contracts and then act surprised at the end. It is utterly amazing to me that in 2021 that you have people who sign documents without reading or having a professional review. But after 20+ years in this business, nothing shocks me.
Here are some suggestions how you can avoid troublesome ends to your business relationships.
Breaking up isn’t easy, especially when you’ve had a good relationship with a company. So think about it from your provider’s standpoint. If they done a good job they’re usually going to be surprised when you leave. So handle things in a classy manner, pay your final invoice and fulfill all the terms of your contract. If you can’t afford to make that final payment, then negotiate in good faith. Most companies will be willing to settle with you as no one wants conflict.
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.