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Shipping & Shopping Cart Abandonment

What do you think really drives shopping cart abandonment? There was a great article recently in Power Retailers that confirmed lots of the finding we pick up during our mystery shops for clients. Cost, speed, and special offers can all be contributing factors, but at the end of the day there was one overriding rule; make your terms clear and simple.

  • What drives cart abandonment?
  • Why shipping cost is subjective.
  • Be upfront about your shipping terms.
  • The difference between delivery and shipping.
  • Keep it simple.


Hey, welcome back Rankers. How are you going? Enjoying your Orwellian venture? I’m not. Ask your questions, use your words. You know what I mean? I want to talk to you a little bit today about shipping and delivery, mainly because I had an article come out from Natasha Sholl at Power Retailers. This is it here. Really excellent article actually.
Yeah. What’s driving shopping cart abandonment? And a lot of the things that they found in this article is stuff that we find when we’re doing mystery shopping. And it’s good to see that they’re doing a survey and it’s confirming some of those things for us. I really liked that.

What is a high shipping cost?

And the main one was high shipping cost. So, what’s a high shipping cost? Well, I’ve got a client who says charging for shipping is a good way to lose sales. However, she does manufacture her own products. And so, she’s not necessarily selling a branded commodity product that anyone can buy anywhere.

If you try to sometimes, and this is mentioned in a thread, which I will point to in LinkedIn, by a couple of people, Alex Levashov and I think it was Rob Duffner. But I’ll point to that in a second, because it’s a good conversation about this article and the sorts of things that come up around shipping.

And I’ve had a lot of clients, we’ve been talking through some of these things, because it’s always something that we talk about, shipping and shipping and shipping and shipping. But the other thing was for costs being too high with shipping, to give you some context. According to the survey, anything over around $95 or something like that for a bulky item, for a large item, anything over that was considered too much. Anything over about $9 for a small item was considered too expensive as well.

Customers are quite price sensitive to shipping, because we all know it’s dead money. People hate paying it. Right? And you’ve got your limitations where, depending on the industry that you’re in, you might have some of those complications.

This article, we were discussing this on LinkedIn. And one of the issues here was the second one, which I thought was fascinating because it’s something that we work on with clients all the time. Is communicating your shipping terms early in the process, rather than at the checkout.

Because my comment on LinkedIn was simply… Let me just bring that up. My comment on LinkedIn was, “If your shipping terms are not suitable for me, I’m not going to buy from you. So, can’t you just tell me that upfront so I’m not wasting my time?”

But the other side of that is from the retailer’s perspective to say, “Well, what does it matter if I lose the sale at the checkout? Because my shipping terms aren’t suitable?” And this is a good point that Alex Levashov brings up in this conversation on LinkedIn. Go have a read. It’s good. I learned a couple of things from both these blokes, Alex and Rob Duffner.
And Alex made some good points about if you’ve got complicated products, if you’ve got complicated shipping because of size, bulk. Rob talked about perishable foods, that’s another area all together. And there’s some different variations on all of that.

Make shipping terms clear

But the key point is this. The easier that you can make it for your shoppers to understand quickly what your shipping terms are, you’re going to get more sales. The other thing with abandoned carts and Alex makes some points about collecting data from the abandoned carts, which is a valid point. My comment back to that though was, well, we always take it back to our bricks and mortar. It’s like, I don’t want a lot of customers getting to the checkout and then me telling them the price of shipping. And then they just go, “Oh. I should’ve asked first up, shouldn’t I?”

And that’s what happens. And it’s the same sort of frustration that we’re creating on mobile, the desktop at home. You know what I mean? It’s the same sort of feeling. So, I think it’s really important to, if you can, communicate it early in the process. What do you do? How long does it take? What’s your special offer?
There’s a company I buy tiny cartridges from, and I make sure I place my order a certain time of the day. Because if I do, I know I get it the following day. So, it’s all just simple things like that. And they have major impacts on revenue and sales. And I’ve seen it time and time again.

Go and have a read of this article. And people want to know, people want to know about free shipping, especially now. And free delivery. Now there’s a difference between free delivery and free shipping in intent. And this was interesting. I think it was earlier this year or late last year. Ian… I’m going to get his name wrong. Another e-commerce guy, Ian. Hi Ian, sorry. I’ve forgotten your surname. Kelvert, I think.

He put up a little poll saying, “Would you look for free delivery or free shipping?” And so, I went into trends at the time, and I had a look at the difference in the volume. And it’s interesting in the US, free delivery is more about food and free shipping is more about product. And I don’t think it was pronounced, although you will see in here under free shipping, you don’t see necessarily food. But here under delivery, we do. Cupcake delivery, Melbourne, gift baskets, Melbourne.

Well, gift baskets are still food, really. But interesting, they stick that under delivery. Anyway, so it’s just fascinating. And what you can see here, if you look at this over time, if you go back five years, so we get to see the Orwell era in perspective. You can see there at times of lockdown; both of these are increasing. Probably because you’re bringing new people into the market. Maybe people who aren’t shopping there before, but they’re going to want to know what your terms are.

And the only reason people are searching for these things is because of these things. How do I get free shipping? Is there a free shipping code? And when you see a spike in those things, it means there’s more people buying and there’s more people looking for free shipping.

Make sure, whatever your shipping terms are, whether you charge, whether you don’t, whether you’re over the threshold, whether you have a cutoff time for same day, all that sort of stuff. Make it clear, make it simple, make it easy. You will get more sales.

Hopefully that’s helpful. Please subscribe, share, like. And if you want a second opinion about your e-commerce store, email Thanks very much. Bye.

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