There are many factors beyond product features and price that cause shoppers to hit the buy button. Shipping is a big part of that equation, but what kind of options are most likely to drive increased sales?

Given the Amazon Prime effect, many consumers now expect two-day shipping or less. Falling short of these expectations negative affect brand perception. According to a 2017 Dotcom Distribution Ecommerce Study of more than 600 online shoppers, one-third said faster shipping increases brand trust, while 90% said they value free shipping. Should you offer fast or free shipping? The answer can be complicated!

Despite their importance in ecommerce, these factors can hurt business margins. Offering both options may not always be feasible, especially for emerging brands. Successful implementation depends on balancing what customers value and your business goals.

Offering Faster Shipping Without Hurting Your Business

Statista Research found 26% of online shoppers cited slow shipping as the main reason behind cart abandonment in 2017, up 4% from 2016. Seventy-six percent of online shoppers surveyed in Dotcom Distribution’s 2018 Ecommerce study said delayed arrival of an online order would likely influence future purchase decision from that seller. It’s clear that failing to meet or exceed rising consumers expectations results in lost business.

While faster shipping methods are more expensive, you can control costs by providing options. For example, offer base shipping but allow customers to select another preferred method at their expense. Many shopping cart platforms enable setup of real-time shipping options and rates, sharing live shipping quotes based on items selected. This approach not only lets you cover the shipping costs or nearly so, but the level of control and transparency builds customer trust and loyalty.

Utilizing Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to rate shop helps you choose the most cost-effective methods. And an established…