Although most shoppers still buy products in physical stores, online shopping continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The ease and convenience of pointing and clicking on the things we want – of which there seems to be an endless supply on the net – is unmatched by any ‘real’ shopping experience. The deals aren’t bad either.
But one of the most annoying aspects of online shopping is having to pay for delivery. For many people, paying for delivery costs is a deal breaker that keeps them from switching entirely to online commerce.
No one enjoys paying money to wait a week or more for purchased products to reach their destination. Anyone who goes into a store can immediately grab the product, pay, and walk out the door. If a customer wants their items faster, like overnight, be prepared to pay an arm and a leg. Pointing and clicking online is fun, but nobody enjoys paying for the privilege of waiting for items to arrive.
Nobody likes paying extra money on top of the cost of the product, for that matter. Sometimes the total cost can be cheaper than buying the product in real stores if the buyer gets a deep discount, but shipping is often a significant additional expense. This is especially true if the product is large, heavy, or sourced from a remote location.
Worst of all, customers sometimes pay for shipping, only to receive damaged or lost goods at the other end. Whether this is the fault of the sender or the delivery service is unimportant. Even worse if the items never reach their destination. If someone has stolen the package from the doorstep, it is often difficult to prove otherwise. There is nothing worse than paying for shipping and having that service stop.
The final problem with paying for delivery is handling returns. If the product turns out to be defective, or if the customer simply doesn’t like it, they often have to pay the return shipping fee out of pocket. This is unlike a regular store – if the product isn’t right, just send it back for free. However, with online shipping, the customer not only needs to pay the delivery cost, but also needs to pay the return cost! Double dipping in shipping can ruin the customer experience.