How To Conquer Fashion Shoppers With Your Shipping Policy
Do your customers tell you that your shipping policy makes them 100% happy?
Or you are unsure because you lack feedback from non-repeat customers and shoppers who didn’t buy.
It’s quick and easy to find out.
Compare your shipping policy with what all online customers evaluate.
Your Shipping Policy is also an important brick of your online marketing.
And the 5th golden rule to master fashion eBusiness in a marketplace or anywhere else online.
In case you want to know all the golden rules right now, grab our essential mini guide: free to download and quick to read.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of online fashion shoppers and walk faster to them.
And let me show you the way.
Step 1: Cost
Let’s be clear first: shipping is never “free,” even when it’s written.
Someone has to pay for the transportation cost of online goods.
Even though shipping is required for online purchases, consumers perceive shipping costs as an annoying extra fee.
Not having to pay for shipping also helps consumers rationalize buying online instead of going to a store.
What’s in the head of the customer?
“I’m spending my hard earned money with your business, and you should show me a little appreciation.”
All studies show the same type of data:
9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is the number 1 incentive for making an online purchase.
That’s 90% of your potential customer pool!
The “free shipping” offer is a psychological (and often irrational) trigger to make people buy.
And the concept of “free” is so powerful that 50 million customers of Amazon Prime pay for a membership to get “free shipping.”
But free shipping eats away your profits.
So, what to do then?
One way to overcome that problem is to include the shipping cost in the product price.
For standard products sold everywhere, it cannot work that way. You are not competitive anymore.
But as a new fashion eBusiness, you sell unique and scarce products, worth paying for.
With free shipping, you focus your shopper’s attention from the “pricing” to the “deal” you are offering.
Another solution is: “Free,” but not for any “price!”
“Free shipping with conditions” is one of the best strategic marketing tool used by many eBusinesses. Either year round or for some specific marketing campaigns.
It motivates consumers to buy more.
3 out of 4 customers choose to add 1 extra item or 2 to their cart to qualify for the minimum order.
You may have already done it for yourself. I did.
“Free shipping” is an excellent incentive for acquiring new eCustomers as well as retaining old ones. When in doubt between offering a product discount or free shipping, choose the free shipping.
For the same amount of money, shoppers value “free” more.
Step 2: Convenience
As an important part of your marketing strategy, your shipping policy can make or break a sale.
The convenience for your customers should dictate the rules.
But what is most convenient for your customers?
As fewer rules as possible!
As much flexibility as possible.
And no additional cost.
What does all that mean precisely?
- Timing that is true and not too long
- Flexibility on the address (home or office, where there is always someone to receive the parcel for you when you are on a business trip or vacation, or any other location)
- Customs duties included (if it applies)
Customs duties are a problem for any eCustomer buying outside their area.
First, because no one can know the amount before the parcel arrives at the destination. Tax amounts vary and customs processing fees vary too for every country in the world.
Nobody likes uncertainty when it comes to money.
Second, because it puts a dark shadow on the customer experience with your fashion brand.
When your products are stuck at the customs, not only customers need to pay the fees to get them, but it also makes them waste their precious time. It can even get worse when they must go to a specific administrative office and wait in line.
Nobody likes bad surprises.
How to avoid that?
There are 2 ways.
- Contracting with customs directly as a company
- Contracting with an expert about customs duties to do it for you
Borderfree, as an example, is a delivery company dealing with customs of 100+ countries directly for the fashion brands they work with. That way, you can tell your customers that the customs duties are already included in your product price…. Making it acceptable for your customers and avoiding any bad surprise for them at delivery.
Net-A-Porter does it directly and uses what they call a DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) basis to ship to many countries.
As a small fashion eBusiness, it may be overwhelming to deal with the customs of other countries directly and by anticipation. Using the services of an expert in customs duties could save you a lot of time.
You can also decide not to ship to countries where customs duties from your country would apply and start selling within your market only.
Either way, no interaction with customs and direct reception of products are valuable services for your customers.
It means peace of mind for everyone.
Step 3: Carrier
All carrier services are not equal in prices and professionalism.
And if you check them one by one, it feels like checking every fashion online store for your customers to find what they are looking for.
Or like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I got a call from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah had chosen Spanx as one of her favorite products in 2000. I had boxes of product in my apartment and I had two weeks notice that she was going to say she loved it on TV and I had no shipping department.”
Services like Shippo, and the likes, are made for small eBusinesses like yours. You compare carrier rates and services in minutes to find the one you need according to the destination, size, weight, etc.
The best carrier makes things easy and efficient not only for you but for your customers too.
Let me give you a quick example…
I bought a product on Vestiaire Collective and saw the week after on the tracking info that they tried to deliver. I was away for 1 hour that day. Bad luck. I had no email, no call, and no notice in my mailbox. So, I went to my Post office with the tracking number. It was none of theirs. So, I ended up not knowing which carrier service had my parcel and not knowing how to contact them. I asked Vestiaire Collective to let me know… but they thought it was the Post! Well, we found out that the Post had subcontracted the service. After 2 weeks of phone calls and emails trying to locate my parcel, it was already sent back to Vestiaire Collective!
It happened to me 3 times this year. Unacceptable.
Customer service doesn’t mean anything to these type of shipping services. And you can bet they are around. With the explosion of online retail, many new carrier companies popped up. They compete on low prices but do not always provide a good service.
Your fashion eBusiness cannot allow that.
One basic requirement is that your customers stay informed about the location of their parcels at any moment.
Do not let any carrier stain the reputation of your fashion eBusiness.
Which shipping policy do you offer to make online shoppers crave buying from you?
As the 5th golden rule of selling in a fashion marketplace, your shipping policy is crucial to your fashion eBusiness.
We post a new rule every month in 2019.
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Want some specific examples from online fashion brands? Read 7 effortless ways to woo customers with an enchanting delivery.
Any special story that happened to you when shipping your products? Share with us and all the fashion shoppers out and about online.
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(Photos from Unsplash: Drew Beamer, Christian Wiediger, Curology, Lucas Gallone, Hira auf der Heide, Bench Accounting).
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Fanny is the CEO + Co-founder of Fashion Talents, and a passionate and tireless promoter of new fashion eBusiness. She’s on a mission to open fashion business to all talents around the world and drive shoppers, sales, and success to them.