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The Key to Attracting More Shoppers to Your Website

A new survey finds people will go to great lengths in order to avoid having to pay shipping fees.
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In case you were uncertain whether your shipping strategy truly affects your business, now there's proof. 

In United Parcel Service's 2014 "Pulse of the Online Shopper" survey, 93 percent of respondents admitted they'll take some kind of action to qualify for free shipping, including adding more items to their cart,  selecting the slowest transit time, and searching for a promo code. More than 80 percent of survey repondents said they'd wait an extra two days to receive their items so long as they're shipped for free, while a third said they'd be willing to wait for an extra five days. 

All of which is to say that if you currently aren't offering free shipping, now might be a good time to consider it, because it is often the factor that makes or breaks a sale.   

More than half of survey respondents said they abandoned their shopping carts when they found out the shipping costs were more than expected. That calls into question the notion that same-day delivery is the way of the future, since customers don't seem willing to pay the high costs and bricks-and-mortar retailers don't seem willing to front them. Currently, disruptive companies like Instacart, Zookal, and Amazon have been testing the same-day strategy with mixed results. 

For the study, UPS surveyed 5,800 people who make at least two online purchases in an average three-month period. Although many customers said they prefer to make in-store purchases, more than a third have had items shipped to a store to avoid the fees. For retailers this is a sign that brick-and-mortars are here to stay; to remain competitive though, they need to do more than simply offer five-day delivery. Convenience and free delivery clearly matter, too.  

Last updated: Jun 10, 2014

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.




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