Hands up if you’ve found something to buy online that you’re ready to pay for only to get to the checkout screens and find that postage for that £10 [item] is somehow another £8 bumping up the total to something so unreasonable you’ve spent the next hour searching elsewhere just to issue a digital f**k you.

I recently tried to buy a small box of catering plasters for £7 online and the store I first found wanted to charge £5 postage and quoted a delivery timescale of 5 days. I can’t begin to tell you how wrong this is and how quickly I went onto the next plaster selling company.

Not every store can offer free postage. Many products simply don’t have the margin to do it but if you can – then do. If not, be reasonable, postage IS NOT a clever way for you add a few pounds to the value of the order. It’s a sure fire way to annoy and leave your customers feeling like you’re openly ripping them off.

Postage options

Postage is also a good guide to how efficient your company appears. With Cutting Edge Knives, we offer free UK postage as standard but I also make a point of ensuring our orders are shipped either same day or next day.

Many companies think they’re being clever by offering options like “Standard delivery” (which often takes several days) which is typically free so they can then sell on a higher price “Express delivery” option (OMG! .. within 1-2 days!).

As with pricing, dispatch times can easily be a massive point of frustration for customers. If it takes your company a week to dispatch something that’s in stock, it’s fair to say that’s not very inspiring and in this day and age speed is everything and a fast response and delivery time counts for a massive amount and can often lead to repeat business.

How soon should we dispatch?

We can’t all be Amazon and when times are tight, it might be tempting to try and add a couple of pounds to the value of your order by inflating postage costs and passing them on to your customers but please don’t. All the work ecommerce sites do to build trust with users can easily be wiped out by what is effectively a shady, and transparent practice.

Call for comments

What experiences have you had with sites trying to rip you off with postage and what do you as an ecommerce customer expect in terms of postage?

James Young

Written by James Young

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