As a shipping technology company, we’re often asked how to reduce carrier costs and if it’s even realistic to offer shoppers the delivery options they demand. The answer, without a doubt, is yes. Before you think that having a sophisticated shipping strategy is accessible only to enterprise retailers, think again. After introducing shipping options at checkout, 37% of micro retailers experienced an increase in sales, 28% of small retailers achieved better customer experience and 27% of mid-market retailers reduced carrier costs, according to our State of Shipping in Commerce report for the US market. At the end of the day, most shoppers don’t discern who they buy from, as long as their shopping experience is great. But to achieve this, you must learn to treat shoppers like friends.

“I don’t want to drag you down.”

Don’t let shipping be the weak link in building relationships with shoppers. Limiting them to one standard delivery service is not great, especially when they can easily jump to your competitor’s store or a mall to get the same products more quickly. Elevate their experience with relevant delivery options that cater to their individual needs. For example, Gen Z shoppers are the biggest fans of hyper-local (1-3 hours) and same-day delivery, while baby boomers tend to favor click-and-collect.

“I’ll always have your back.”

Nothing is worse than having an order arrive at your door damaged because it was packaged poorly. While you can mitigate such incidents with exceptional customer service, the reality is you’ve already exposed your customer to a negative experience. But you have the power to prevent this. Apply packaging logic to your fulfillment process to automatically match the items in their order to the most suitable type of carton or bag for safe delivery.

“I’ve got something special for you.”

Gifting shoppers with shipping promotions shows that you care. Try experimenting with limited-time free shipping offers for first-time shoppers within the city radius, or reward your high spenders with complimentary premium shipping when they buy a product from your new capsule collection. However you decide to do it, remember that while free shipping is a strong motivator for conversion, it’s crucial for this tactic to be considered only in an environment that prevents it from cannibalizing profit margins.

“I won’t leave you hanging.”

You expect your friends to confirm that they’re coming to brunch or let you know if they’re running late, so why should it be any different with online order deliveries? Leaving customers second-guessing when their package will arrive or expecting them to contact you for status updates shows that you don’t respect their time. Anticipate their needs by providing tracking information that they can easily access on their devices so they know you’re dependable.

“It’s OK to change your mind.”

Things go wrong, but life goes on. While this approach may apply to many things that are out of our control, it shouldn’t be the case when it comes to how customers feel about orders they no longer want. By holding them hostage with a complicated returns process, it’s unlikely they’ll choose to shop with you again in the future – and we know acquisition is far costlier than retention. Give customers the freedom to shop with confidence by offering an easy returns process with returns shipping options on a customized portal, and use this extra touchpoint as an opportunity to build brand loyalty.

We’re always interested in hearing about how retailers use shipping to build better relationships with their customers, so tweet us @temando using the hashtag #TellTemando. To learn more about Temando, visit our website.