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Outperform Your Competition by Learning How to Use Shipping Estimates

Shipping estimates: Learn how to calculate shipping dates to improve customer experience and ultimately boost sales!

Shipping calculator estimated delivery mobile Same-day shipping charge shopping abandon reasons shipping estimates

The estimated delivery dates on your eCommerce store are an important tool for boosting sales and increasing customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, most eCommerce retailers don’t know how to use them to their advantage. In fact, they’re probably not even using them at all! If you want more sales, then we’ve got some tips on how to use estimated delivery dates effectively for your eCommerce business.

“Communication is at the heart of eCommerce and community.” – Meg Whitman

There are many things you can do to improve your store’s delivery estimates, including optimizing your shipping settings, managing carrier relationships, and setting realistic shipping and delivery times. In this article, we will discuss essential tips, tricks, and best practices to use estimated delivery dates to your advantage!

Estimated Delivery Dates: Why Do They Matter?

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Know your numbers, and you’ll surely be able to improve the buyer’s journey and post-purchase experience! If you can offer customers the estimated delivery date on the product page or checkout page, you will be one step closer to winning their hearts (and business).

Simply seeing the delivery date can encourage them to make a purchase by mitigating shipping anxiety. The fear of the unknown stops consumers from making a buying decision. Besides the estimated delivery date and shipping speed, social proof also has a significant impact on the decision-making process, so make sure you cover these areas for better results!

Estimated Delivery Dates

Shipping Speed vs Delivery Dates: What’s the Difference?

We’ve mentioned estimated delivery dates and shipping speed, but what exactly are they, and which one should your eCommerce business opt for?

First of all, if you’re not providing your customers with all the information they need to make an informed decision, then it’s likely that some of them will go elsewhere. In fact, without crucial details like shipping speed and delivery dates built into your online experience, you could be losing sales.

49% of people abandon their shopping cart because extra costs at checkout were too high (source).

shopping abandon reasons shipping estimates

Now, shipping speed refers to the amount of time it generally takes a package to arrive at your customers’ doorsteps. You might encounter shipping speeds of 1-2 business days, 3-5 business days, or more, depending on factors such as the destination country.

A delivery date is the actual date the order will be delivered. These dates are important because they give customers a much clearer idea of when to expect their items to come, unlike the shipping speed that refers to in-transit days. Knowing when your product or service will be delivered is just as important for customers, so they can plan accordingly. An estimated shipping date gives them an idea of how long it’ll take their order to arrive at its final destination!

Unfortunately, in both cases, don’t expect that the information is 100% accurate- sometimes there are certain events outside our control that cause delays like holiday season pickup cutoff or a supplier being backlogged with orders due to higher than expected demand.

It is important to be transparent when it comes to the delivery process of your items. Even if there are any delays in receiving an order customers should still have a clear picture of what they can expect during checkout so that their expectations match up with reality and don’t end up disappointed by something unforeseeable.

Maintaining transparency will keep both parties happy!

Shipping & Delivery Estimates: A Case Study

When it comes to shipping, a checkout usability study shows that what users truly care about is not “shipping speed” but rather the date of delivery. As it turns out, offering customers estimated dates of when they’ll receive their purchases can significantly improve your conversion rate. Moreover, the shipping speed was a major pain point during checkout usability testing since it requires the user to calculate variables such as non-delivery days (e.g., holidays or weekends) in order to figure out when their package will arrive at the right destination. Offering clear delivery dates helps avoid an unnecessary friction point!

Here are a few examples of eCommerce businesses that are well-aware of the positive impact shipping and delivery estimates can have on the overall customer experience:

To better understand what estimated delivery dates actually look like in action, let’s take a look at the following case of Sephora.

Back in 2017, Sephora offered customers various shipping methods, such as UPS Ground and UPS 3Day. However, this led to customers having to calculate their own shipping time, taking a variety of factors into consideration, from processing time to non-delivery days.

shipping method sephora 2017

As bigger and smaller eCommerce businesses caught up on estimated delivery dates and the benefits these bring to the table, Sephora has also made a significant shift towards a customer-centric approach to shipping and delivery information on their website. As of 2018, Sephora Middle East launched omnichannel retail operations, planning, forecasting, and inventory optimizing tools (source). The end goal was to ensure maximum on-shelf availability of products, eliminating out-of-stock situations, but also avoiding overstock, express loads that are costly, and free up supply chain staff for more valuable tasks instead of repetitive tasks that could be automated. As pictured below, estimated delivery dates are part of their automatization process that also helps reduce costs while increasing customer satisfaction:

sephora automatization process

“If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.” Sandeep Walia, Head of Supply Chain for Sephora Middle East

Check out our Big Retailer Customer Experience Research for more insights.

Business-Centric Vs. Customer-Centric

Many eCommerce businesses are still adopting a highly business-centric perspective when it comes to shipping estimates, neglecting the difficulties customers might face in guessing at how long it will take them to receive an item.

This means that only offering information regarding shipping speed is forcing users to estimate the actual days of delivery themselves by accounting for the differences between business days and actual days, determining if there are any holidays in-between, estimating the site’s processing time, and converting time zones to determine if the order will be sent today or tomorrow.

customer-centric approach means opting to display delivery dates makes it easy for customers, as no math is required and no unnecessary barriers are in the way of conversion!

Learn how WeSupply can help you use a delivery date estimator to your advantage!

How To Cut Shipping Costs By Showing Estimated Delivery Dates

Shipping charges keep on going up, whereas fast shipping options keep getting pricier and pricier. The year 2021 saw an especially steep increase in global freight rates, reaching a record price of over 10,800 U.S. dollars in September 2021 (source). This affected retailers worldwide, particularly those that ship internationally. Moreover, businesses might even struggle to offer free shipping or significant discounts on their products in this context. But there is, after all, a light at the end of the tunnel!

shipping prices and delivery dates estimates freight rate

So how can you lower shipping costs? For starters, try to:

  • Weigh your packages and reduce dimensions.
  • Find discounted suppliers and shipping rates.
  • Decrease the shipping distance, if possible

It comes as no surprise that, ultimately, the best way to save up is to earn more. Alternatively, boosting sales can take a load off your business finances, especially when it comes to the overall shipping cost. In order to drive revenue growth and sales, you need to make the most out of estimated delivery dates and order tracking tools. These will enable you to have a clearer overview of your orders to better plan your shipments and eventually cut shipping costs.

What Influences The Shipping Cost & Delivery Date?

Factors like availability, holidays, available delivery dates, etc., all contribute towards calculating an accurate timeline on how long an item might take before being shipped off from the warehouse, and how must the shipping costs are going to be. There is a lot that goes into determining them and it’s not just one factor but many different ones:

  • Availability (stock status)
  • Non-delivery days
  • Distance
  • Processing time cutoffs
  • Package weight
  • Package dimensions
  • Shipping carriers

The truth is that there are some variables that are simply out of your control. Delivery exceptions can happen, but what matters the most is to be able to keep track of your shipments and to be upfront with your team and your customers the entire way!

Common causes for delivery exceptions

How To Improve The Post-Purchase Experience?

Understanding and optimizing the post-purchase customer experience for your online store is essential if you want to succeed in this competitive business climate. Luckily, there are some surefire ways to do this, and WeSupply can help!

Calculate shipping costs and dates

Set Expectations From The Start

Get more sales from repeat customers for no additional effort or cost by being informative, and consistent with your promises. Although it seems too good to be true, it only takes to display the estimated delivery date on the product page or the checkout page to drive more sales!

Proactively Send Post-Purchase Notifications

Decrease the number of ‘Where Is My Order’ (WISMO) queries blocking up your customer service teams by proactively communicating delivery statuses to your consumers. Using delivery notifications you can ease shipping anxiety and lend a helping hand to your customer care representatives while saving precious resources.

Order Tracking For A Positive Experience

Order tracking and management tools are your best friends, especially during busy periods like the holiday season! You can effectively monitor all your orders while your consumers may plan their week without the worry of missing an important delivery. This is what we call a true win-win situation!

Same-Day Delivery: Is It Right For Your Business?

Same-day delivery can do wonders for eCommerce businesses. However, it can also mean increased shipping prices. Fortunately, a significant part of online buyers admits that they would spend extra money for same-day delivery. More specifically, 41% of consumers are willing to pay a charge for same-day delivery while 24% of shoppers said they would pay more to receive packages within a one or two-hour window of their choosing (Source).

There’s no doubt that we live in hectic times, and immediate gratification is a key determining factor in our purchase decisions. The least you can do is to offer your customers a variety of shipping options to choose from and cater to a larger audience in order to boost your sales and give consumers what they truly want: faster shipping!

Same-day shipping charge shopping abandon reasons shipping estimates

Calculate Shipping Dates With WeSupply

The best way to mitigate risks while improving customer experience is to dynamically calculate your delivery dates. It’s important that you account for factors such as extra processing time, holidays, and any delays in shipping due to inclement weather or special circumstances like custom-made orders- all while considering the customer’s destination!

Luckily, WeSupply Estimated Delivery Dates can help you set the appropriate expectations from the start and boost conversion.

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