When setting up an online store, deciding on the ordering process is a key piece of the customer-experience puzzle. New Zealand Couriers works closely with many retailers to deliver items across the country, and Commercial Sales Manager Debra Lloyd-Evans has found some key considerations can be overlooked.
“What it often comes down to is taking care around how you word your delivery options during the ordering process,” Debra explains. “If you’re not clear about what you’re offering you can end up in a sticky situation, or make the buying experience a negative one for your customers.”
So what do you need to consider when setting up your online store’s delivery options? Debra has four tips to get you started.
1. Delivery cost
These days many retailers offer online shopping, so the cost of delivery can be a real point of difference. Some stores provide free delivery New Zealand wide – either across the board or after a certain price point. While this can tip the balance of whether a customer chooses to buy from your store or another, it can leave you wearing a delivery cost that cuts directly into your profit if not managed correctly.
“You need to think about the shopping experience you want to offer your customer,” says Debra. “There’s nothing worse than being slapped with an unexpectedly large delivery fee at checkout. A better way of doing it might be to slightly bump up the base price of the item, then offer cheaper – or free – delivery. It’s a nice surprise for customers, rather than a nasty shock.”
If you do decide to charge for delivery, a good option is to set a flat rate based on the value of the purchase. For example, free shipping if the item is over $100, $5 shipping if it’s less. This keeps it simple and can encourage customers to buy more to take them over the free delivery threshold.
2. Rural & International deliveries
For rural deliveries, Debra suggests careful wording informing customers an extra fee will apply.
“Courier companies need to charge extra for rural deliveries, as they incur additional costs. This is passed on to the retailer, so in turn consideration should be given as to whether it’s passed on to the customer.”
Pricing international deliveries is another consideration. As Debra explains, this can be tricky as every country’s customs rules are different and price is determined by the size and weight of each item.
“If you’re planning to ship overseas, give one of our International representatives a call. Depending on the online solution you’re using they can offer you clear, cost-effective delivery options and provide information around customs requirements.”
3. Getting the address right
This is something that often trips retailers up.
“You’d be surprised how many websites don’t offer enough room for customers to enter their full address. Central city business addresses in particular can be very long. My rule of thumb is to offer address fields for Level, Building Name, two fields for Street Address, City, as well as a freeform field where customers can enter any specific instructions for the courier. The more detail the better!”
It also makes sense to get customers to confirm they’ve entered the correct address. When you’re typing quickly it’s easy for 24 to become 42… so giving them a summary of the address they’ve entered and asking them to confirm its correct is a good idea.
4. Signature vs non-signature
When sending high-value items, requiring a signature makes sense. But for other deliveries, Debra says there are advantages to using a ‘non-signature required’ service.
“When it comes to delivering smaller items, why not let the courier use their initiative and make a call on whether it’s safe to leave the item. If there’s a secure porch area, or the item will fit in the mailbox, it makes sense to leave it rather than giving customers the hassle of organising a re-delivery.”
All in all, solving the puzzle of online deliveries comes down to putting your customer first. Start with the buying experience you want them to have, and work backwards. And if you’re unsure, contact New Zealand Couriers for advice. With a bit of foresight and some expert guidance you can avoid misleading your customers or setting up a process that doesn’t work for you.
Phone: 0800 800 841