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Shipping Policy – Customer Preferences

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What kind of shipping policy should I offer?

What shipping options you give to your customers can greatly impact how you run your business. Contrary to popular belief, giving your customers every shipping option in the world across all carriers isn’t always the smartest route to go. Giving real-time shipping rates to customers can give them sticker shock when they see that shipping a heavy order overnight to their house across the country is $70, or they won’t know the difference between something like Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

So what’s the best option to give your customers? The answer is: It depends. A simple, functional shipping policy can do wonders for your store’s checkout funnel if your product mix is fairly straightforward and doesn’t contain a large variance in product size/weight. Customers appreciate a straightforward shipping policy, and you can even incentivize visitors to make a bigger order if you offer them free or discounted shipping if they hit a certain purchase threshold.

Even with this, there are many capabilities you can offer to customers in terms of how they want their order shipped, and it doesn’t stop after they click purchase.

The shipping needs of customers today

Customers increasingly look for the ability to have orders split between addresses, to have items with different fulfillment times consolidated into a single delivery, to ship to locations other than their home address, and to change delivery dates or have packages rerouted once shipped.

  • 1 in 3 prefer to have packages delivered to places other than home.
  • 40% prefer having multiple items consolidated for delivery on one day.

Source: UPS Pulse of the online shopper 2015; Empowered shoppers propel retail change. 

Potential shipping offerings and their impact across your environments:

eCommerce Environments

Selling Environment – Allow customer to:

  • Ship certain items to certain addresses
  • Ship to an address other than their home address
  • Specify signature as not required
  • Consolidate orders and items into as few packages as possible
  • Specify alternate delivery location if not home
  • Change delivery dates with carrier after package is in transit

Shipping Environment – Be able to:

  • Download customer shipping, delivery, and order notes
  • Change fields in real time off customer request, including things such as:
    • Shipping address
    • Shipping requested service
    • Delivery preferences
    • Order notes
  • Use shipping information to optimize:
    • Shipping rules for orders
    • Carrier selection
    • Picking and packing

Physical Environment – Allows you to:

  • Route package to the best carrier
  • Improve picking and packing process
  • Make unique changes based on notes


A strong shipping policy and knowing the implications of your offerings can make your business seem very professional and drastically improve the customer experience, especially the checkout funnel and receiving their orders in person.

Related Articles & Resources:

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This article is from The Definitive Guide to eCommerce Shipping


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