Being straight with your customers about…
In the world of e-commerce, there a few things that are set in stone. One of them is the fact that you will have to do a lot of shipping.
Chances are that it won’t be only down the road either, it could be halfway across the world.
Shipping is always associated with high costs especially when the item may be heavy, fragile and has to go along way to get to where it needs to be.
If you are selling a product with high demand at a good price, you probably have a lot of stock to ship.
People will always be turned off by extra costs, so the best way to deal with this is to be honest with them and remember these little things.
1. If you offer free shipping…
Offering ´free shipping´ (with a minimum priced order) is a fantastic way to catch the eye of a new customer because they will assume that there is no extra costs associated.
Certain online giants such as ASOS have made this a popular method in the past few years.
However, if you are a tech or computer retailer, you of all people know how heavy a PC tower can be.
You also know how much they cost in shipping.
This is why you should always make exceptions in weight and make this apparent to your customers.
Ordering an expensive silk shirt compared to a state of the art piece of technology are two different things, and you should make sure that your customer knows this straight away.
You should try and make it clear in an easy to read statement or put an asterisk next to ´free shipping´ so that it looks something like this:
(Customer scrolls down where they can easily locate the asterisk to see what they need to know)
2. If you don´t offer free shipping…
If this is you, there are probably several reasons why you choose to not order free shipping.
There is no judgment here as everyone´s business plans are different.
You should stick to your original business plan and not try to profit off of what may come across as greedy.
Don´t try and profit off of shipping, you should charge what you get charged.
These days, especially in eCommerce, the consumer is becoming much wiser when it comes to added costs.
If they realise that you are taking an extra profit on shipping costs, they will go to someone else.
You need to make it apparent to them that there are costs associated with the shipping and that you are only charging what you get charged.
Spell it out for them with a detailed pre-invoice before the sale like this:
¨Shipping & Handling (as charged by the UPS for this weight) - $34.99¨
This gives your customer the option to find out directly from the UPS or whoever you list if you are really telling the truth.
If you are, they will find out. If you aren´t , they will also find out. Which would you prefer?
This is the divide between them clicking ´Payment Confirmation´ or closing the current tab they have open.
3. You would like to keep it consistent…
Another way to deal with this is by offering a flat rate. This is a great way to let customers know that you do charge, but that there isn’t anything else associated with it.
If your business plan requires you to charge a certain price for shipping, this is is the easiest way to do it .
After you have calculated exactly what this rate is, don’t hide it. In fact, you should make sure its apparent everywhere that it needs to be.
If you have lengthy item description that leads into a price, make sure that you throw in the flat rate at the end.
You could even try putting it up in a price advertisement such as ¨Our shipping is only a $10 flate rate!¨
One thing that you have to remember is this may encourage people to buy more things if they can only pay one rate for shipping.
This is great for your sales but just remember to really make sure that your flate rate calculation is tried and tested.
Rather than trying this on every item, a good way to do this is create a beta version of the flat rate page and trial it on specific items that you may be concerned about (costing more, weighing more etc. ).
If this works well, open it up to more items.
What you should remember here
The best thing to remember is not to hide anything from the customer.
There´s an incredibly high probability that they have ordered something off of the internet before.
This means they expect shipping costs or at least realise that the item cost isn’t the end of the story.
This means that you don’t need to hide anything from them.You also don’t need to lie about it either.
If you can create 100% transparency as to what they are using their credit card on, you will not only win their trust but they will probably come back to you.
Do you own your stuff? Or does it own you?
Things you never realized about that pile of stuff in your room.
I first came across itembase when I saw a friend using it.
He was using it to estimate the total of the pile of stuff in his closet.
I started to wonder what all of the items on my desk alone were worth, so I went home.
When I got there, I stared at my desk for a while and pondered a few things.
"Did I even need all of this stuff? How much was it all worth? Does that laptop even turn on anymore?"
When I signed onto itembase, they replied to my questions simply with another.
´What type of phone do you have?´
I have a white iphone 4, 32GB model, which I found instantly. I clicked on it and immediately found that my stuff was at least worth 211 euros.
That was much more than I had in my bank account at the time which was definitely cool.
What about that Super Nintendo I got at the flea market?
Another 12 euros… Looking at all of my dust covered stuff I was beginning to think I might be a millionaire .
After a good hour uploading my room´s inventory I noticed that some of the things still had warranties, which took me by surprise.
Not to mention the fact that I could get the owners manual again.
After uploading my camera, my inventory total came to close to €850.
I noticed that some my things hadn´t appeared on itembase yet. Not only this, some did appear but didn´t have any information on them yet.
Although, I’ll make an exception for the japanese camera from the 60´s and the other was an the other was a VCR.
These were just little mistakes though and my experience overall has been incredibly positive.
To this day, I keep finding stuff I have and adding to my inventory.
Although, I still can’t seem to find the dusty old VCR on there but maybe I should just accept that some things have had their day.
The VCR lived a life of plastic spinning glory but there was no place for it on itembase.
We must always remember that times change, and so too do those that surround us.
Bitcoin and You
Will bitcoin save the world? Or not even turn up to the party?
There has been a lot of coverage about Bitcoin lately on most major news mediums so I thought that I would take this opportunity to bring up a few things about it.
If you don’t know what Bitcoin is, it´s a universal online currency that has fluctuated incredibly in price since its beginnings in 2009.
When it was first listed October 5, 2009 $1 US bought just under 1,309 bitcoins. As of now, 1 bitcoin is worth over $400 USD.
One man recently discovered that a $25 investment he made and forgot about in 2009 had turned into $850,000 in the time he had ignored it.
On the other hand, another man in Australia recently found out his bitcoin trading site was robbed of $1.2 million (AUD) worth of bitcoin.
It´s something that has divided investors, retailers and consumers in opinion ever since it began.
Is it being taken seriously?
Germany was the first country to start accepting bitcoin as a form of currency at selected locations and Canada has just installed the world´s first bitcoin ATM.
There have been mixed receptions about bitcoin since its beginnings because of its use in illegal, anonymous transactions. It also gained attention for its rapid rise in overall worth.
Recently, however, it has become a target focus for venture capital firms and investors. It has also been reported that eBay is now looking towards accepting bitcoin.
The concept of bitcoin has proven to be something that we as society are moving towards however, there still seems to be a lot wrong with it.
So what does this mean for you as a consumer?
Well, for one thing, it means that bitcoin is starting to be taken seriously and not just brushed off as´unstable´ or ´unreliable´as it has in the past. There are high chances in the next 5 years you may be introduced to your first bitcoin transaction.
You may find yourself having the ability to buy and sell your items using bitcoin instead of your national currency. This could make things a lot more convenient for you, depending on availability.
Bitcoin has also been notoriously inconvenient to purchase in the past , if there is a widespread use (such as other countries following Canada and Germany´s lead) this will obviously have to change.
If it becomes available much more readily, Bitcoin stands a big chance of becoming a major player in ecommerce.
Bitcoin is still being heavily debated by almost every major bank, investment firm and online retailer at the moment in regards to it’s safety, usability and rapid fluctuation.
However, as I said before, ebay has started to consider it as well as facebook rogues the Winklevoss twins. This will only have a domino effect on other companies.
You won’t be rushing to use it tomorrow morning but one thing is for sure. You will definitely start to see more and more information about it directed at you specifically.
For more information on bitcoin and it´s possibilities, have a look here.