If your customers could pick their ideal shipping options, what would they choose? As The Amazon Effect shows us, customers are looking for two things at the checkout: quick and free shipping.

A PWC consumer survey found that 88% of consumers are willing to pay for same day delivery. The popularity of services like Instacart and Postmates proves that customers are trying to imitate the convenience of walking into a store. Customers want to buy what they want instantly, minus the whole “walking into a store” part.

In this two part series, you’ll find out how you, as an online merchant, can make your online customers’ wish list a reality. First, let’s dive into what the data says about what consumers want when it comes to delivery of their online purchases.

What Customers Want at Checkout

Shipping options at checkout can make or break whether your customer completes a purchase or abandons their cart. The data shows that your online buyers want:

Free shipping

The 2018 Pitney Bowes Global eCommerce Study found that 91% of customers will leave a website if shipping isn’t free or fast enough. Ouch.

But on the brighter side, they also found that most customers are willing to wait on an online purchase, as long as shipping is free. In fact, most customers are willing to spend at least $25 before expecting a free shipping option.

A similar PayPal study found that 43% of shoppers abandon carts because they feel shipping charges are too high.

What online merchants can do:

Many online merchants harbor the misconception that they have to swallow the price of free shipping. But that just isn’t true.

In fact, if you’re not offering free shipping at some level you’re likely falling behind the competition. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 6 ways you can offer free shipping without cutting into your bottom line.

Fast Delivery

On the flip side of free shipping is fast shipping. Remember that stat that said 88% of consumers are willing to pay for same-day delivery? Well, let’s keep it in perspective.

A McKinsey survey found that only about 20-25% of customers will expect same day delivery by 2025. Customers are also just as interested in next day delivery, and they are, again, willing to pay.

What online merchants can do:

Think outside the box when it comes to delivery options. Instead of sticking to UPS, FedEx and other common fulfillment options, investigate alternate methods of delivery, such as courier services to serve that impatient 88%.

You can also offer in-store pickup so customers can gather their items from the closest retail location to them. This option can also give customers the chance to choose same day pickup.

You can also use ShipperHQ to set a late cutoff time for next day delivery to keep your antsy buyers from going elsewhere.

The ability to choose date, time and place of delivery

In some cases your buyers may want their item to arrive by a certain date and time. Take for instance a new Macbook being delivered to the office during the workday for added security.

In fact, the PWC survey also found that 24% of customers want to choose a 1-2 hour window for their delivery. While only about a quarter of online shoppers report wanting this level of detail about their delivery, this number continues to grow.

What online merchants can do:

Build logic into your shopping cart to deal with lead times. At ShipperHQ, we handle all types of scenarios. From built-in lead times on certain orders to blackout periods where you don’t fulfill orders, with ShipperHQ you can pinpoint your customer’s delivery date with accuracy.

Find out more about accounting for cutoffs, lead times and blackouts with ShipperHQ.

Address auto-complete

Your customers are probably not telling you that they want help with at the checkout, like entering the correct address for them up front. Since one in every 20 online orders are not delivered on the first attempt, address issues are the prime perpetrator.  

According to Magento’s “Fixing Failed Deliveries: Improving Data Quality in Retail”, 54% will refund the delivery charges to the customer after a failed delivery. In the same study, 54% said they would pay additional costs for redelivery and 38% said they would offer the customer a discount as an apology.

Considering up to 5% of all online orders don’t make it to the intended recipient first time, refund costs can really add up quickly.

What online merchants can do:

Enable address auto-complete by ShipperHQ or address validation in your shopping cart. This can help you avoid lost deliveries and unhappy customers.

You can read about enabling address validation in Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce and Zoey here.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our series, which will cover how to delight your customers with eCommerce delivery after the checkout. And don’t worry if this is all starting to sound expensive. We’ll also give you tips for saving money on shipping in the process.

Need help providing delivery options to your customers? Sign up for a 30-day free ShipperHQ trial.