Online shopping is great for many reasons, not the least of which is convenience. However, with convenience comes a price tag in the form of shipping costs. These charges are a big consideration when shopping online and can often cause consumers to abandon their cart.

Most shoppers want to receive their purchases quickly but aren’t convinced that the cost for shipping should be charged at a premium. We can thank Amazon for spoiling us with Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping. Not only is the shipping free (well, not exactly – Prime members must pay a yearly subscription), but it’s fast, making it difficult for other companies to compete. Not everyone can offer such a benefit, but you can still compete in the shipping space.

Skip the Shipping Sticker Shock

According to a study by PayPal and ComScore, 36% of purchasers didn’t pay for items because they felt the total cost of the purchase was higher than anticipated. The total cost, which includes fees such as state taxes, shipping and other associated costs, can sometimes be unexpected. This is why it is important to clearly communicate shipping costs early in the checkout process and display totals or estimated totals along the way to help avoid abandonment related to sticker shock.

Simple Sugars does a great job with this by offering a pop-up shipping calculator option within the first page of the checkout process and displaying multiple options for shipping from least to most expensive. Simple Sugars example

A study conducted by Bronto found that 36% of brands did not include actual or estimated costs on the cart page before the actual checkout process began. Those retailers are missing out on a big opportunity.

Set Clear Expectations

I am much less likely to abandon my shopping cart in the grocery store, but online, I can come and go as I please without feeling any sense of guilt. Even if I’ve already carted an item, it’s still much easier to change my mind, particularly if I am unhappy with shipping options or timelines.

Samsonite offers this information well in advance. In the example below, the shopper is given an estimated shipping time, as well as an option to upgrade to expedited shipping, early in the checkout process. This is a best practice that other companies should try to emulate. Samsonite example

Free Shipping

Free shipping can be a great way to initially reel customers in. Perhaps your company is very restricted with the types of offers they are able to feature. Maybe a percentage or dollar-off option is off the table. If so, consider free shipping as a way to encourage conversions. Customers are often willing to pay full price online if they can get the product shipped for free. has done a good job of highlighting their offer of free shipping with no minimum purchase front and center in this message. As a subscriber who opens this message, you can't miss the callout. example

If you haven’t already explored the bounce rate on the shipping page of your checkout process, I encourage you to do so. If you have made adjustments to minimize the bounces, how did they work for you? Have you tested your free shipping threshold? If so, we’d love to hear about your results. Feel free to comment below.