Jake Rheude, Vice President of Marketing, Red Stag Fulfillment, in this article talks about the boom of the e-commerce industry and how shipping plays a major role in the success of the e-commerce industry.
Shipping has become a crucial component of an e-commerce sales strategy that convinces someone to stick around long enough to complete a purchase.
However, it can do a lot more than just reduce cart abandonment. Used in a smart way, shipping can be a core part of e-commerce marketing that gets people in the door and start shopping.
Define Shipping in Your Marketing Strategy
To put shipping into a marketing role, you need to define its specific purpose and how you’ll budget for any offers you make.
Taking your average order and look at its shipping costs. If you eliminate or reduce the customer’s cost, you need to know how you’re paying for the change. Starting with budgeting can help you understand what you can afford to offer and how any offer may change current accounting.
Ecommerce companies tend to take one of two approaches: bake the cost of shipping into product pricing year-round or allocate a little more in the marketing budget to be able to offer better deals throughout the year. Covering your shipping costs by raising product pricing can help make any promotions sustainable as you grow, but price-sensitive customers may balk and potential competition may be able to undercut your baseline pricing.
Using marketing funds can make it easier to offer limited deals tied to business objectives, such as testing new markets or growing an overall customer base. Just be clear that your deals are limited — this honesty is the main theme for any e-commerce marketing around shipping.
While you’re working here, be sure to read about your audience. You might discover that nearly75% of U.S. customers are going to expect reduced or free shipping on big orders. What constitutes a “big” order is going to be specific to your industry.
Learn more: The Barriers to Great Personalization
Ecommerce Advertising with Shipping Info
Shipping can provide a way to entice customers as soon as they see your ad on search or social, but only if you keep shipping simple and honest.
Think of something like “Free shipping on every order, always.”
That will catch the eye and may help you stand out against competitor ads that don’t mention shipping. If you offer a deal on shipping over a certain threshold, it can be smart to include this on ads for every product that meet this with their price. So, every product that costs more than $20 could include its price on your ad plus a note that says, “Free shipping on every order over $20.”
Look for opportunities to share shipping data and stand out, while also ensuring that any reader can understand your offer. Text overlays and expanded character counts are making it easier for social, Google Ads, and other campaigns to share this level of detail.
If your shipping is a little more complex, such as “2-Day Delivery Available On Every Order,” be sure that your warehouse team or e-commerce fulfillment partner can make good on the offer every time.
Non-Ad e-commerce Marketing
The same shipping information should be available across all marketing, especially outside of your paid ads. Every channel is a strong opportunity to make your case. Plus, there are plenty of chances to share that don’t cost money.
Social posts and information campaigns are a strong option because you’re focusing on education and sharing. This gives customers a chance to ask questions or get things answered. Plus, you can pair posts with your paid campaigns to get a better lift.
Customers can interact with these posts more and ask questions about your policies. Engage here and use it as a way to share what’s great about your products and shipping with a wider audience. We’ve seen companies do well on Instagram and Facebook with simple hashtags that explain shipping options. And something as simple as #freeshipping provides information without feeling like a heavy-handed ad or sales push.
Have a conversation and be honest. You won’t need to flood them in “Buy now!” CTAs.
Your own website is also a smart channel to give shipping information in marketing elements. These can be overlays and pop-ups or more traditional banners that discuss an offer. This real estate is essential for reducing cart abandonment and makes a perfect time to share shipping policies.
Mix creativity with honesty and you’ll make customers feel comfortable with your brand. Confusion is the enemy.
Focus on E-commerce Shopper Retention
Perhaps the best way to use shipping as part of an early e-commerce marketing strategy is to give it away for existing customers. Help ensure that someone returns by offering them deals based on what they prefer — think free shipping vs faster options.
You’ve most likely built up a customer list and have emails thanks to other marketing as well as purchases. Send out a quick blast asking people what they’d prefer and give them a discount for answering. If you want to get fancy, create a specific coupon for each preference choice and give people exactly what they prefer. That way, your customers are getting the cost reduction or faster delivery that they want even while you’re gathering data.
It’s a simple and effective way to thank them for past business and encourage new purchases. Include it in win-back campaigns too so that you’re setting customer expectations for ease-of-use and honesty as well as a good deal.
Generally, free shipping at a certain threshold is a compelling offer for any buyer. You can test out the impact of going a step further and removing that threshold for your return shoppers. This limits who can access the offer and might help you discover if such an offer makes up for the increased operational cost by raising average order values or generating enough additional repeat purchasing.
Testing upgrades and offers with your existing customers is a safe way to gather data and see how you can leverage shipping as e-commerce marketing.