Ship & Sip May Recap
Back in May, our ShipStation Community Manager, Erin Ernser, was joined by Tac Anderson from Sendle, Trent Mervine from Big Ass Luxuries, and Nick Galbraith from 3DFORUS LLC for a Ship & Sip event. Erin and our panelists discussed offering free shipping, finding your audience base, and more tips for small and growing businesses within the ecommerce industry. If you happened to miss the event, you can find our recap below.
Find and follow your audience
Before you can follow your audience, you’ll first need to establish your audience. Use the shipping process to earn repeat customers and build your audience. Include customized packing slips, handwritten notes, and other personalized touches throughout shipping. Customer satisfaction extends beyond checkout.
Once you’ve found your customer base, follow them to social media. Participate in the trends that make sense for your business to boost engagement, but keep in mind that not every trend or fad will be successful. The good news is, these failed trends can still serve as a springboard for bigger and better ideas.
However, one of the dangers of social media lies in paid content/advertisements. Influencers might seem enticing, but sometimes, influencer posts don’t land well with your audience. Trent Mervine of Big Ass Luxuries advises against using influencers: “People can tell when you pay influencers and that it isn’t authentic.” If you choose to enlist the help of an influencer, consider sending them free products for review or finding other accounts to collaborate with to avoid losing followers and, by extension, potential sales.
Offer free shipping and additional shipping options
Customers want to pay less for shipping. In fact, our recent study found that almost 61% of customers stated they were less likely to complete a purchase from a brand with high shipping costs. We also understand that offering free shipping for every order might not be a possibility for every small business.
Don’t be afraid of trial and error when it comes to free shipping. Offer customers free shipping over a free threshold because customers are more likely to buy another small item to qualify for free shipping. Trent Mervine gave a great tip — “Keep trying to increase order value and include in-cart messaging to show customers how close they are to the free shipping threshold.”
Additionally, keep regional differences in mind. Nick Galbraith mentioned 3DFORUS LLC’s US customers care more about free shipping than customers located in the UK. If you’re an international shipper, you can use these regional differences to offset shipping costs for US customers and offer free or affordable shipping options to better align with US expectations.
Make returns clear and easy
The earlier your business communicates a return policy, the better. Tac Anderson recommends adding return policies to product descriptions to prevent any miscommunication. With our recent study also showing 44% of customers are less likely to shop with a business that has a difficult return policy, there’s no room for confusion. Present your customers with an easy-to-understand return policy before they reach the checkout. Nick Galbraith suggests building losses into your margins for personalized products or products that are harder to return to prioritize customer satisfaction and build repeat business.
Tips for small business owners
- Attend local popups, panels, and other events to help promote your business.
- Find a specialty and excel with that product or service to stand out and build a customer base.
- Nick Galbraith said it well — “Build responsibly. Don’t get too big too quickly”
- Ask for customer feedback on products, policies, and other aspects of the business.
How We See It
- Keep returns clear, concise, and free if possible for your business.
- Offer free shipping and multiple shipping options wherever you can.
- Try social media and ecommerce trends that work for your business.
- Understand that some trends and workflows might not work for your business.
- Establish your audience and follow customers to their preferred social media platforms.