With rate shopping software, you can declutter your checkout, keep your shipping rates competitive and create smiling customers

Have you ever shopped around on the internet only to find shipping rates vary wildly from one website to another? Maybe you are buying a certain book and one website will ship it for $2.99 while another wants to charge you a whopping $7.99. You may be witnessing the effect of shipping rate shopping software in real time.

With rate shopping, carriers and their shipping rates are compared against each other. This includes published rates as well as any negotiated rates your company has with a specific carrier.

Not only can you rate shop between all the major carriers, but also their service levels and special service options like same-day delivery.

The end result is a simplified checkout that returns only the best and most cost efficient options to the customer. That means no more laundry list of shipping options that overwhelms buyers.

Since carrier rate shopping is automated, it’s a smart choice for merchants. They can save time and money instead of having to manually figure out what the best deal is for customers.

It’s also equally helpful for buyers because it narrows down their decisions at checkout. The typical buyer doesn’t understand the nuances between many of the delivery options you show, especially if they’re coming from the same carrier. 

All they really care about is the price you offer them and when it will arrive. So why not make the purchasing process easier (and less confusing) for them?

In this blog, we’ll go over the ins and outs of rate shopping to help you decide whether this shipping strategy is something you would like to adopt.

The top 3 reasons why carrier rate shopping (and ShipperHQ) might be a fit for your business

1. It removes unnecessary and expensive shipping options

As a merchant, the last thing you want is to manually program in a bunch of different carriers and rates. 

First off, that is a pretty daunting task to keep up with, and even if it wasn’t, chances are you would lose business by setting shipping rates too high. Or on the flip side, lose money on overhead by setting shipping rates too low. 

With shipping rate shopping software, you automatically show your customers the lowest shipping rate from the most convenient carrier, with no manual work on your part. 

How does carrier rate shopping do it? 

It’s no secret that carriers offer different rates for a variety of reasons. 

Maybe FedEx Ground offers the most cost-effective rate to one location while USPS is cheaper the next town over. 

You’d be surprised what conditions can have an effect. In some cases, two-day with one carrier may even be more cost-effective than ground with another carrier.

Plus, carriers have their own factors and algorithms for rating the way they do. It’s impossible to manually keep track of which carrier (and their many service levels) work best for your various products, shipping destinations and margins.

If your store uses multiple carriers, ShipperHQ’s rate shopping feature will automatically shop for the best price between carriers. 

This gives your customers the most competitive rates possible, earning you their business.  

On top of that, it gives you the best rate when it comes to fulfilling that order. For example, if your customer’s shipping address is an office building in the city, one carrier may be a couple bucks cheaper because it’s on their regular route and is a business address. 

2. It simplifies your checkout and improves conversions

Let’s say you do offer rates from multiple carriers. 

Without rate shopping, this means you could potentially show buyers a long list of shipping options and service levels (ground, two-day, etc.) that only differ by pennies. 

From there, you are asking your customer to figure out on their own which rate they should pay to get an item in on time. 

You may be increasing your cart abandonment rate by offering this type of experience at checkout. And as we all know, cart abandonment is the bane of any online seller’s existence. 

A study from the Baymard Institute, an independent association that studies the eCommerce user experience, found that nearly a quarter of shoppers who abandon carts do so because the checkout experience was “too complicated.” 

And a over half ( 53%) of online buyers abandon carts because the “extras”, such as shipping costs or taxes, were too high.

(Need a solution? See our “6 Clever Ways to Offer Free Shipping to Customers.”)

The reality is, a customer wants you to narrow down their options for them so it’s an easy choice to make. Otherwise, they’ll be driven to a competitor’s site that 1. has a more user friendly experience and 2. only has a couple delivery options to choose from.

Shipping rate shopping software simplifies all this. It alleviates some of the burdens that make a checkout too cluttered and complex, paving the way for an easier process through checkout.

3. It lets your customers focus on your brand, and not what carriers you use

Last but not least, using shipping rate shopping software allows you to keep your checkout focused on your brand.

Say your customer chooses FedEx Ground. But for a variety of reasons, your warehouse makes a different choice when it comes to fulfilling the order. 

Having UPS deliver their order when they expected FedEx can create a disconnect for the buyer. 

The answer is to eliminate this confusion entirely. You can do this by removing the carrier name at checkout and customize the delivery options instead. This is all possible to do in ShipperHQ.

For example, maybe you want to rate shop between FedEx Ground and UPS Ground. With ShipperHQ method naming, you can show a different name for that delivery option at checkout. Instead of showing specific carriers, you can use a generic name like “Ground Shipping” or “Economy Shipping.”

Doing this can also alleviate some negative connotations a customer may have for a specific shipping option.

For example, those of us that work in eCommerce know that ground shipping has become incredibly fast. Your customer may not see it this way. The word “ground” might sound like a mule trudging through the desert with their package. 

While this is probably not a huge deal (most customers simply want their item!), to gives you full control over customer perceptions around both your brand and your checkout experience.

Conclusion

Rate Shopping is just one of the many tools you can use in customize your shipping.

With the right rate shopping software in place, not only can you delight customers with the delivery rates and options they want but create a streamlined checkout experience that improve conversions.

Already a ShipperHQ customer? Find out how to set up Rate Shopping here.

Ready to simplify your checkout and offer your customers the best shipping rates possible? Try a 30-day free trial of ShipperHQ!