In such a crowded marketplace, it is vital that brands gain a competitive edge by promoting helpful offerings that will enhance the consumer experience. For eCommerce brands, offering free and fast shipping is a great way of doing exactly that. Cost and convenience are right up there at the top of the customer priority list and directly affects whether or not they choose to shop online or go down the in-store route. Despite free shipping being a deciding factor in whether or not consumers complete online transactions, brands are still failing to promote this offering. There is a failure on the part of brands to recognise what type of delivery takes priority. Whilst consumers would ideally like to receive their items quickly and without disruption, their main priority is to receive them free of charge. There is a misconception amongst brands that speed of delivery takes priority- it doesn’t. Therefor brands, in general, need to change their strategies when it comes to promoting their shipping policies and push the fact they are offering a free service.
Let’s take a look at how some of the biggest online retailers are promoting their delivery services.
River Island is offering free delivery, with a twist. The twist is that there is a time limit during which the delivery is free. This is a great way of boosting short-term sales- let the consumer know that they only have a small window of opportunity during which they can claim this deal and you add an element of urgency which encourages fast sales. There is a prominent site-wide banner with catchy text, promoting the worldwide free shipping, on the River Island site, which seems to be pushing the free rather than fast approach to its shipping. It’s current free for a limited time only shipping also includes click and collect. It’s not all rosie in the River Island site garden. There is a distinct lack of emphasis on returns policies. It looks as though the website is neglecting to even offer this service, which is a major turn off for consumers of clothing and female consumers in particular.
Now here is a brand that is really nailing returns policy strategy. ASOS offers unlimited next day delivery for £9.95 for the year, which includes click and collect. If you are a regular shopper with ASOS this deal will no doubt appear enticing. Through this offer, ASOS are able to appear reliable in the eyes of their customers and also satisfy their need for free delivery. The upfront annual payment, in the case of regular buyers, is seen as cost-efficient.
Through attractive onsite copy, ASOS promotes its free and fast delivery. Fully aware that nothing causes cart abandonment quite like surprise costs, the brand makes it clear throughout their site how much shipping costs, so consumers aren’t thrown unexpectedly. ASOS refers to its shipping choices, as ‘options’ to emphasise its flexible, customer-focused approach.
For Argos, it is all about the speed of delivery. The FastTrack service offering is repeated throughout its site. It points out that customers can get their deliveries the very next day, 7 days a week thanks to FastTrack. The service costs £.3.95, so the brand has definitely decided to promote fast delivery rather than free delivery, despite consumers favoring the latter. Argos only really promotes its click and collect service as being free for next day delivery. Great emphasis is placed on speed of delivery throughout the site’s copy.
The final part of getting your eCommerce sale over the line is ensuring that your consumers are happy with the delivery options you are providing them with. It is more likely than not that your customers will favour free delivery over fast delivery. Letting your customers know through clear and concise copy that your delivery service is free, will help you avoid checkout abandonment and strengthen your relations with your audience. In some cases, fast delivery might be the service that you want to promote, but only if it is logistically viable for you and if your customers will favour this type of service.