This implies that shipping activities will peak as retailers and shipping carriers scramble to fulfill millions of customer orders globally. Earlier this year, UPS reportedly returned 1.9 million holiday purchases in one day on January 2, 2020 (National Returns Day).
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, more people are expected to shop online. In a recent study, 75% of people say they will be shopping online this holiday season. In another survey, 27% of respondents say they will be buying gifts for others this holiday.
For these holiday items to arrive in time for the celebrations, shipping time and costs need to be kept as low as possible. In this post, I’ll be sharing five (5) simple ways to cut shipping costs this holiday season, so that you can get the most bang for your buck, but first let’s see
Why Shipping Matters in E-commerce
Shipping plays a key role in the e-commerce supply chain. During the holidays, this role is even more critical. Here are some of the reasons why shipping matters in e-commerce:
Without shipping, there’ll be no fulfillment
83% of US online shoppers expect regular communication about their purchases. (Narvar)
63% of US online shoppers will not make a purchase if they can’t find the return policy (Narvar)
53% of US online shoppers will abandon a purchase if they don’t know when it will arrive (Narvar)
79% of US consumers say free shipping will make them more willing to shop online (Walker Sands)
93% of shoppers will buy more if free shipping exists (Marketing Land)
Over 78% of US Amazon Prime members signed up because of free shipping. (Amazon)
A poor shipping experience can lead to customer dissatisfaction, returns (with its attendant costs), and churn. A good shipping experience on the other hand, can lead to customer satisfaction, repeat purchase, higher average order value, and increased customer lifetime value.
Traits of a good shipping carrier include:
Large fleet of planes, delivery trucks, or bikes
Global and local fulfillment
High shipping volumes
Same or next day delivery capabilities
Custom shipping options
Reverse logistics capabilities
Effective customer service
Some online retailers offer free or discounted shipping, but may take weeks or months to arrive. The best shipping carrier for you is that which can balance cost and speed to deliver cost-effective and efficient shipping services. So, choose wisely.
2. Search for Free Shipping
Another smart way to cut shipping costs this holiday season is to search for free shipping. Reports say 93% of online shoppers will increase average order value or basket size if offered free shipping. It is one of the most popular retail sales strategies.
There are several ways to search for free shipping. First is to use a search engine like Google or Bing. Simply type “free shipping” into the search bar and hit enter.
You can also customize your query per location, retailer, shopping category, etc, as suggested in the frequently searched terms as shown above.
Another way to search for free shipping this season is by visiting and scanning your favorite online store’s homepage. This information can be displayed as scrolling text or as banners.
Using advanced search filters in some online stores, you can also sort items that offer free or discounted shipping.
3. Join Loyalty Programs like Amazon Prime
Loyalty programs like Amazon Prime have been very successful. With over 100 million subscribers, 95% of whom are in the US, Amazon Prime has been a huge hit, thanks to free, discounted and expedited deliveries, including same day or next day delivery.
In fact, Amazon reports that 78% of its US Prime subscribers joined because of free shipping. In some cases, while shopping cross-border, shipping costs can exceed product price making it a hard choice.
Several online stores have their own unique loyalty programs that may feature free or discounted shipping.
Stores like ASOS currently offer free shipping for orders above £100 when shipping to Nigeria.
4. Consolidate Shipping
When shopping across borders, the cost of shipping can be exorbitant. One way to go around this obstacle is to consolidate your orders, rather than have them ship them individually.
Services like Shoptomydoor allow shoppers to shop abroad using their warehouse as shipping address. These orders can be from different online stores. At the end of the day, these orders are consolidated and shipped as one package, saving shoppers hundreds, even thousands of dollars in shipping fees.
However, this option can take weeks to reach their final destination or can be expedited for an additional fee. If time is more a factor than cost, then this may not be the best option for you.
5. Join FreeShipping Services
Free shipping is a major purchase factor for online shoppers. FreeShipping.Com partners with several shipping carriers to provide innovative shipping solutions for online shoppers.
This includes cash back, seasonal cash back, free shipping, free return shipping, price protection, etc. Like Amazon Prime, this is also a subscription based service. This is a great option for frequent shoppers.
There are other free or reduced shipping services that can help you shop more and ship for less this holiday season. If you’re in the US for instance, it may make more sense to only order from stores based in the US. This way your orders can be delivered faster and cheaper. can use these tips to your advantage.