The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

Shipping Options positively impact Retail Websites

Originally posted April 2014

The e-tailing group recently released their third annual ‘Buy Online / Pick-Up In-Store Survey’ report. Several interesting findings were highlighted, which may lead to changes in the way retailers get products into consumers’ shopping carts, and ultimately into their homes. The study evaluated 23 multi-channel merchants and found one of the biggest emerging online retail trends is to offer free shipping and in-store pick-up flexibility.

The report identifies that free shipping and in-store pick-up are strategies employed by 90% of the retailers evaluated. This strategy is having a positive impact on combating cart abandonment and encouraging purchase conversion. It was noted that 73% of merchants in the study offered same-day in-store pick-up of items ordered online, up from 56% the previous year. Lauren Freedman, e-tailing group President, elaborates, “There is a concerted effort to deliver an integrated and holistic consumer experience along with supporting on-site and post-order communication as well as in-store follow-through.”

Usability Sciences’ research supports these findings. In a recent study for one of our large retail clients, our quantitative analysis discovered increases in the number of items added to the shopping cart as well as on the amount of the ticket sale when free shipping was offered. The average number of items in the cart was 3.7 with an average ticket price of $142.93, versus 3.4 items and a ticket price of $118.29 when free shipping was not offered.

In another study for a major department store retail chain it was determined that there are two main reasons for cart abandonment: (1) Customers cannot find what they are looking for, or (2) they do not care for the shipping options. Our study found that 56% of all shoppers browsed for products, but only 19% placed an item in their cart. The most cited reason for this first level of abandonment was, “I can’t find what I’m looking for.” Of this 19% only 7% of shoppers completed their transaction. The most cited reason for this second level of abandonment was, “the shipping costs and options were unacceptable.”

As the retail landscape continues to change, offering shipping flexibility will be a competitive differentiator for online retailers. Contact us today if you would like to learn more.

Author: Amy Smith, Online Experience Project Manager


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