Let’s take a look at your Shopify store and checkout page

How does your Shopify checkout experience compare to your competitors? How does it compare to big players in retail like Target or Amazon?

You’ve undoubtedly shopped online before, but it can be easy to forget what it’s like on the other side of the transaction when running your business.

What’s evident and obvious to you as the owner can be a real head-scratcher to the person clicking around your website trying to order your merchandise.

What’s the worst thing you can encounter when ordering something online? 

Other than a broken link or a missing item, attempting to navigate a confusing checkout system can result in many red faces and pulled hairs.

All you want to do is order your Funko Pop figures or that mid-century lamp to match your couch, but a maze of a checkout page stands in your way.

This is naturally a nightmare for any online seller. The best way to avoid this scenario is to get ahead of your customers’ worries and fix them before they encounter them. How to do this for your Shopify store?

Again, put yourself in their shoes.

Here are five questions your customers are asking themselves when they click on your store and start shopping.

1. Am I going to receive the item when I want it?

Let’s be honest: eCommerce shipping used to be much simpler. 

A customer orders an item, you put it in the mail, and they get it when they get it. While there were certainly challenges to consider with an online store, shipping was fairly straightforward.

However, progress is good. Customers now want to dictate when they receive their items. 

Perhaps they want it dropped at their front door like a gift from Santa, or maybe they want it in their hot little hands literally that day. Whatever the case, the question floating in their head becomes “Will I receive this when I want it?”

Options are the key here.

In your Shopify checkout, you can offer your customers the shipping method they desire the most like in-store pickup or in-home delivery. 

On top of timing, another thing to consider here is cost. While your customer may want their Pop Figure immediately so they can display it at work, it may be cost prohibitive. 

Standard delivery may just be too slow for them, and they’ll look elsewhere if you don’t offer something in-between.

An expedited delivery option, expected in 2-3 business days, could see them clicking the “Confirm Purchase” button as quickly as they can tap the screen.

ShipperHQ provides you with the option to customize your Shopify checkout with shipping options and rates that provide the type of experience you want.

That means the price, delivery methods and carriers are all completely in your control. 

You can also show delivery dates for your shipments, accounting for things like production and dispatch times. This way, your customers know exactly when they’re receiving their packages, whether they use UPS, FedEx, or a custom shipping method.

2. I’ve customized my Shopify checkout. Will I lose money on shipping? 

We’ve all been there. You finally find the perfect spiced apple candle you’ve always wanted. Even more exciting, it’s only $3.99! You click to buy it.

Much to your chagrin, shipping is somehow triple the price of the product at $12.99. You think, “Well, I’m not shipping this spiced apple candle to the moon, so something feels amiss here.”

Your customers have an acute awareness of shipping fairness.

Shipping a small item to their house should not break the bank. Even a large item, like a couch, has shipping fairness attached to it. The item itself must be set at a good price, but also shipping must reflect the realities of today.

This is why customizing your Shopify checkout with specific rules and restrictions is the way to go, like for specific products or shipping zones.

This can help you with shipping options like adding a surcharge only for dropshipped items to keep costs not just low, but fair to everyone involved. 

You don’t want to overcharge your customers, and you certainly don’t want to close your business after a few months due to blowing your budget on shipping costs. 

Another easy way to do this is to compare shipping rates and only show the cheapest option to your customer. This is called shipping rate shopping. It ensures that your customers receive the best shipping rates possible by comparing rates from two or more carriers.

3. Will I have any international shipping issues with this item?

One of the most exciting aspects of eCommerce is the ability to sell your items to an international audience.

Not that long ago, selling your custom-made Halloween decorations to someone in Japan would involve complicated mail order forms or them physically flying to your shop.

However, this brave new world still comes with its own unique challenges. Two questions your customers may have if they live in another country is “Will I be able to actually get this item?” and “Am I going to get a nasty surprise about international shipping?” like fees that prevent delivery from happening in the first place?

One issue is that different countries have restrictions on items. Perhaps the country you’re selling to doesn’t allow scary things like Halloween decorations. 

It sounds silly, but consider the fact that the United States has a restriction on Kinder eggs (something very common in Europe) due to it being a choking hazard. Trying to ship them here means you will end up without your delicious, chocolatey, toy-filled surprise.

It’s best to be up front and direct about any of these issues ahead of time, like not offering shipping for an item to customers within that certain country.

To account for this, you should use a shipping rate management software, such as ShipperHQ, to set up rules and restrictions for your products and where they can (and cannot) be shipped.

Cross border customers also do not want any monetary shocks on their bill, including when they go to pick their item up.

Just think about: would you want to pay an extra fee before receiving an item versus dealing with these costs upfront at checkout? They will likely blame you for this bad customer experience, so it’s best to stay ahead of these issues.

The best way to avoid any international or border issues is to use ShipperHQ’s Landed Cost Engine. It helps you calculate accurate duties and taxes as well as inform customers of extra costs they’ll encounter. 

4. What are pros and cons of these different shipping options?

A general rule of the entire Internet, but especially eCommerce, is to keep things simple and breezy. If you want a customer to go to a specific page, be as direct about it as you can. 

Any confusion about the process can derail them, sending them to a competitor’s website instead.

The same can be said about shipping. You may feel like you want to be as transparent as possible about your options, but this may end up ironically confusing your customers. 

Different shipping companies have unique names for their options, and if you offer multiple means of delivery, people might not know what to choose and could just abandon their cart.

Do you really need to offer 10 different options, with most if not all from the same two carriers? Your customer doesn’t understand the differences, beyond something simple like ground and express delivery. 

A better option is to stick with plain, direct language with your Shopify checkout page. “Same Day Delivery” or “Next Day Shipping” makes sense to anyone. Offering delivery dates within the method name itself also relieves any confusion, like “Ground Shipping – 5-7 business days.” 

At the end of the day, your customer wants two things: clear pricing and information on when it will arrive. There’s nothing else to figure out. With our lives so complicated, who needs any extra hassle from their favorite online store? 

5. Am I going to be able to amend my order easily?

Your customers have loaded up their cart with tons of great goodies from your store. They’re all set to check out and get it shipped to their house. But whoops! They forgot to add the floral curtains for their kitchen. They hit the “Back” button…and suddenly they’re thrown into chaos.

Your store is yelling at them that they’re going to lose all their progress.

This has surely happened to you, and it more than likely caused you to forgo the extra item, or abandon the order all together.

Nobody wants a hassle when editing their cart, or their shipping options. Again, ease is the key here, and putting barriers in their way a good path.

Luckily, there’s a way to customize your Shopify checkout to create a great shipping experience that is entirely hassle-free, for both you and your customers. 

After all, maybe your customers want to pay extra to get those curtains tomorrow, and you don’t want to get in their way.

ShipperHQ takes all the guesswork of shipping out of the equation, automatically updating your delivery options once changes have been made. For example, triggering free shipping if they added a curtain rod to reach your promotional threshold of $75.

This way your customers get what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, without any extra hassle like other websites.

6. Will I pay too much for my item?

It’s a little known fact outside the shipping industry that carriers charge an extra fee for shipping to residential addresses.

This extra fee is associated with last mile delivery.

Last mile delivery is the process of getting the package from the hub to the customer’s waiting hands. This is generally the most expensive part of delivering a package. 

If you’ve ever tracked a package online and saw that it’s out for delivery, you know it takes a while to arrive. Sometimes it feels like you’re waiting all day, even though the transportation hub is only miles away. 

But it makes sense why it takes so long. The final leg typically involves many stops until it gets to you.

Particularly, if you choose to ship to a residential address.

The extra fees make sense if you think about it from the carrier’s point of view. They are likely shipping many packages to a commercial address, and commercial buildings all tend to cluster together.

This makes it easier and more cost-efficient for carriers to deliver many packages over a small area. 

On the other hand, residential addresses receive fewer packages and people tend to live just about anywhere! So for that reason, it’s slightly more expensive to have a package delivered to your home. 

As a merchant, verifying that an address is commercial or residential can assure that you charge the right amount for shipping.

Plus you watch out for those pesky residential delivery fees for late delivery, failed delivery, address correction and returns.

Next Steps: How to improve your Shopify checkout

As you can see, there is a lot to consider. There’s a lot to think about for your Shopify checkout page. Every aspect of your store must come together to form a pleasant, simple, enjoyable experience for anyone who visits and shops around.

What are some other issues you’ve encountered while shopping online that can help you make a better experience for your customers?

Consider checking out some online stores around the web to see how they act and react to various scenarios, including the ones listed above. What did you like? What didn’t you like?

No matter what ideas you have for your shop, ShipperHQ and Shopify can help you accomplish your goals! 

We are a Shopify shipping app that makes it easy to personalize the shipping rates and methods you offer customers online. 

You can take control of how much you charge for shipping, plus tailor your checkout to your own requirements.

This includes creating rules and restrictions for certain carriers, calculating dimensional weight to improve shipping margins and rating out of the closest (or fewest number) of shipping origins. 

We offer a 15-day free trial for merchants that want to explore our advanced shipping management tools for eCommerce. You can sign up here to start your trial today